The outliers

I was running on the greenway a couple weeks ago when I stopped to chat with a colleague about… you know… this whole deal.

We carried our conversation across a respectable distance, and so a man, fiftyish, walking his dog, overheard me when I said, “Unless something gives, we will all be bankrupt in six months.”

The guy lit up at that.

“Yeah,” he sneered, “but we’re saving lives.” His voice dripped with sarcasm when he said it, like that asshole Neal Boortz, a once powerful conservative-radio voice now relegated to a fringe podcast and a Wikipedia photo of him screaming in a cowboy hat.

He, and the dog, left before we could pick up our hanging jaws.

“Guys like that are gonna get us all sick,” my colleague said.

Today, guys like that marched on Raleigh — no masks, no social distancing — to protest the very nature of reality.

After all, a virus doesn’t care if you want to get your nails done or go to the movies. It does not have a Yelp page on which to complain, and it cannot otherwise be convinced, intimidated or boycotted. It just wants to get all up in your sinuses and replicate some of that bad RNA — which it’s a lot more likely to do, by the way, if you’re standing in a crowd, screaming.

Meanwhile more events continue to be canceled.

  • Eastern Music Festival, which. has been held in Greensboro for 59 years, canceled its 2020 season.
  • Next City’s Vanguard Conference, scheduled for May in Greensboro, has been pushed back to September.
  • No word yet on baseball.
  • Seven state lawmakers are petitioning the governor to open Charlotte Motor Speedway for the Coca-Cola 600 scheduled for late May, for a television audience but with no fans in attendance. He has not yet gone for it.

And if you still have doubts as to the seriousness of it all, let’s do the numbers.

The numbers

A diversion

For some reason, today, I’m thinking about stooges — not specifically Moe, Larry and whomever else they were palling around with, just stooges in general. But why not? Most comedy does not age well, but the Stooges — The Stooges — endure. Perhaps its because comedy needs a victim, or because each Stooge represents an archetype and their world an entire cosmology of slapstick zen. Or maybe it’s because a poke in the eye — zoink! — is always funny.
Here’s a rare piece of Stoogery, the trio’s original TV pilot, “Jerks of All Trades,” from 1949. It’s a Shemp, if you’re wondering.

Program notes

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