I may be mistaken — you’re nodding already — but I can’t help feeling the world has taken a wrong turn at some point. We’ve all done it, even satnavs aren’t perfect, perhaps we would be as well using tom-toms, there’s a joke there if you want it.
Human evolution has cut some corners, often to the detriment of the end product, I’m sure Darwin would be nodding now. I’m not a king, for one thing, and since I’m not, I don’t really approve of royalty. If my blood were blue, I’d be afraid of cutting myself and needing a transfusion. I suppose I could keep a personal supply on deposit in a blood bank, with an overdraft facility of course. Now there’s an idea that would give the Merchant of Venice food for thought.
In his 1978 book Manwatching, Desmond Morris studied ‘primitive’ as opposed to ‘civilised’ beings (you and I would be in the latter group, the cool apes hanging out by the pool rather than from the branches). He suggests that when violence and physical strength are essential survival requirements, the wrong individuals survive. Future football hooligans prevail, whereas more cerebral folk — virologists and newspaper journalists are just two examples — become fewer in number.
So hordes of the wrong sort made it round the first evolutionary corner on the way to civilisation. The rest of us just doodled on the cave walls, biding our time and scuffing our feet.
But our time, it seems, has come, as Randy Newman predicted in song. Or the virologists’ time, at least. Brains, not brawn, have won the day, and are thwarting the coronavirus. Not with sticks and stones and spears but with test tubes and 23-gauge needles, our modern medicinal equivalent of 12-gauge shotguns. Blow that virus away, nurse! I’m definitely a glass-half-full person, don’t you think? I certainly hate to see a glass half empty.
“We must not relax,” was the paradoxical advice from my Easy Listening radio station this morning. (The Paradox Cafe in Amsterdam has Jumbo Shrimps on the menu, and claims it is ‘usually crowded on nights that aren’t busy.’) The virus may have found its way into your postcode, added the disc jockey, whose previous record had been Eve of Destruction by Barry McGuire. There’ll be no one to save with the world in a grave. Easy listening indeed.
My postcode, yikes. Does that mean my postman might be a carrier, no pun intended? I’m going to tape up my letter box and repaint my white circle for grocery deliveries further down my path. I can’t wait for the day when coronavirus disappears around the corner, beyond invisibility forever. Have I just invented a meaningless figure of speech? It wouldn’t be the first meaningless thing I’ve done. I still have a hula hoop in the attic, next to my ageing portrait.
Let’s all wish for a future when sometimes a corona is just a cigar. Or a Mexican beer. Don’t mind if I do, thanks.