The Public Eye

printed 11/20/2020

If you wanted to stop the coronavirus, and you wanted to stop it right now, there’s an easy way to get the attention of the people who can do something about it: start the rumor that covid-19 infections could lead to the reduction or even elimination of “male performance.”

You know I’m right. If there’s one thing that would capture the undivided attention of male voters and the nation’s predominately male leadership, this would be it.

I’m telling you, Mitch McConnell would have something on the Senate floor so fast that it would leave a vapor trail behind it as it jetted out of the Committee on Health or, possibly, Armed Services, depending on where your mind goes on something like this.

I’m not making fun of anyone, but we all know that it’s a male bravado thing that causes some men to laugh at the prospect of death, but cringe at the thought that even a slight chance existed that their other bravado thing might be rendered somewhat less so.

Many men — and women, for that matter — choose not to believe covid-19 even exists, because they’ve heard that false rumor over and over. And that’s the key to making this work — capitalizing on that same susceptibility to plant that one little seed of doubt in the male mind.

In a matter of days you’d have half the country’s population wrapping themselves in giant Seal-A-Meal bags for protection and taking up residence in the darkest corner of their closets until next summer.

“Bobby Ray! Bobby Ray!” says the wife. “You get out of that closet right this minute! The house is on fire, your car has been stolen, camels are trampling the lawn, and the dog has exploded.”

“Not doing it!” he yells through the door. “It’s not worth the risk!”

You think I’m kidding? The $41 million the U.S. military spends every year on Viagra suggests that this business is considered a matter of national security, although it’s doubtful that anyone would say before an impending battle, “I’m not up for it today.”

Or, for that matter —

“Pvt. Jones?”

“Yeah, Sarge?”

“The bayonet … it goes on your rifle.”

It’s a readiness issue, I guess, although that doesn’t explain why it also covers military retirees whose field artillery is no longer rolling along.

Don’t get me wrong, men do care deeply about other things — hardware stores, drinking out of the kitchen sink faucet, golf course jokes and beer, to name a few — but this particular business would rank so high up the scale that it is not inconceivable that our male-dominated Congress would swiftly impose a mandatory 10-foot pole rule of social distancing and, instead of masks, require us all to wear diving helmets.

Obviously, there would be one obstacle — getting a male personal protection law past House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who might be inclined, given the animosity between her and McConnell, to say, “Unless you pass my economic stimulus package … I’ll have to leave you hanging.”

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