Brainiac On Banjo #077: Disasterbaiting – The Lighter Side of Doom

I learned our government must be strong / It’s always right and never wrong / Our leaders are the finest men / And we elect them again and again • “What Did We Learn In School Today?” written by Tom Paxton, 1964.

It does not matter if your favorite movies and teevee shows and steamers have halted production – as most have. Theaters and binging parties and gas stations and toilet paper are history, at least for the nonce. Most sex workers are off the stroll but, hey, soft white gloves are impossible to find, so WTF.

Therefore, as a card-carrying obnoxious bastard (yes; I have a card – as does our Pop Culture Squad HBIC), I decided to bother a bunch of friends, contacts, and complete strangers who can mumble through their useless face masks. Hey, it’s a living. I asked them the following question:

“How does the ‘Hollywood’ shutdown affect you personally?”

Each of the seven people I asked – so you know this is a scientific study – had the same response, each in their own words, each in their own way (surviving Gen-Greatesters will note, yes, I did just quote Don McNeill). Everybody said “Well, at least now I can catch up.”

This practice has come to be called “disasterbaiting.” That works for me.

For example: last night my daughter and I watched a Henry Rollins gig from two years ago. We’re both big Rollins fans. This is the man who took the 60-year-old truth-in-comedy movement up to the mesosphere. We had a great time. At this rate, I should be caught up with my digital backlist sometime well after the melting ice caps make it impossible to continue.

When that happens, I’ll turn to my mountain of unread books, assuming they and I both can float. If they banned further production of paper and papyrus, I’m set until the dispensationalists rapture.

But for the time being, there are other ways you can entertain yourself as you wait for COVID-19 to kiss your eyeballs. You can prove you are not a mindless bigot by ordering lots of meals from by your friendly neighborhood Asian restaurants. Okay, I get it. All restaurants are hemorrhaging customers, but the ones that have been doing the worst the longest specialize Asian cuisine.

Yeah, evidently the whole thing started in China, but it’s Italy that has been on complete shutdown. Why aren’t these fools boycotting Italian restaurants? Is it because they think garlic will ward off disease? Maybe that’s so. Try some garlic noodles and/or garlic chicken or garlic shrimp, all lovingly available from good solid ‘Merican chefs whose grandfathers bore no relation to Doctor Fu Manchu.

But I’d still lay off the sushi. Didn’t your mother teach you not to play with your food?

Most certainly, we need swell fun stuff to entertain the children who are home from school and can’t go sledding. For example – do you remember those great Halloweens of yesteryear, when “trick or treat” really meant something? If you chose “trick” or, worse, you were hiding in the basement with your lights turned off, chances are your abode would get “TP’ed.” That means kids would flip rolls of toilet paper over your trees, balconies, TV antennas (where are Gidney and Cloyd when we truly need them?), garage-mounted basketball hoops… TP’ed, get it?

Well, we’ve got plenty of toilet paper. Just tell the kids not to bother with the “treat” part. In the event this is still going on this coming Halloween, do not give your kids a prop scythe. That would be in bad taste.

If you’ve been paying attention, you’ve noticed we believe our vaunted senior citizens are at greater risk, particularly if they have “underlying conditions.” Give me a break. Those two terms, taken together, are redundant. Just put each of us boomers in a comfy chair, give us a filled vape pen, slam some wireless headphones over our ears, and tune us into the Beatles Channel. We’ll be fine, although you might have to make sure we’re taken to the bathroom periodically. Those who are locomotive can engage in cane fights, as such activity will allow us geezers to maintain a healthy distance.

They say in every cloud has a silver lining. They also say that whatever doesn’t kill us makes us stronger.


“They” are a buncha assholes.