Opinion: Pranks are not welcome



April Fools Day, like most everything else, has been canceled this year. That is sad because life in some parts of the USA is pretty grim and could use a few harmless laughs. I am not a fan of practical jokes. I find most pranks annoying rather than funny. If that means I, in some way, lack a sense of humor that, too, is fine. Google is telling the story of a K-Pop Star who announced to his fans on Instagram he was hospitalized with COVID-19 and then tried to take it back. He said it was an April Fool’s joke to raise awareness of the seriousness of the disease. Isn’t that the final refuge of the arrogant — they were just raising awareness. Like the people who follow him on Instagram could be more aware. All it accomplished is a backlash from his fan base and mocking and disgust from the rest of us. People have been arrested for acts of terrorism relating to COVID-19 pranks. According to CNN, a Missouri man filmed himself licking items on a Walmart shelf, saying “Who’s afraid of the coronavirus.” He was charged with making a terrorist threat in the second degree, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported. A woman in Pennsylvania is facing criminal charges, too, after intentionally coughing on grocery store produce, CNN reported last week. The store had to throw out $35,000 worth of food as a caution. One of my favorite authors, Jim Butcher, opines about which is worse — evil or stupidity? He says it is stupidity, which is far more prevalent than evil, therefore more destructive. Being stupid isn’t in and of itself criminal but in many instances it should be. The death toll rises as more people contract COVID-19 and do not recover. Practicing social distancing is becoming second nature for many. It can be seen in the stores. Anyone with a runny nose or an isolated cough is viewed with suspicion. Wisely, people are generally frightened about the number of American residents infected. President Trump has issued a stern warning that the next two or three weeks will be hell, as social distancing becomes a matter of life or death. As of this writing, the USA has 4,076 deaths from COVID-19, and 189,510 reported cases of the coronavirus. The Madera County Public Health Department’s website lists 23 reported cases in the county and is updated each day by 4 p.m. according to the department’s site. I appreciate POTUS’s daily briefings on the status of the COVID-19 Taskforce. As April creeps in, please, people, think of the welfare of others. Stay home if you can, practice social distancing if you can’t. Patronize the local restaurant businesses who are fighting to stay alive. Takeout food and beverages are the life-blood of these businesses. I’m afraid the restaurants and other small businesses, once closed, might not come back when the crisis has passed. They will be the other victims of the virus. Sit or play in your own backyard with the people in your household. Catch up on some of the books you’ve always meant to read. Finally, write that book you have always known you have inside you. When making supply runs, shop responsibly. Get the things you and your housemates can use for a month. Then you can reevaluate the needs of the household. Continue handwashing and don’t touch your face. Clean out that closet that needs it so desperately. Most everyone has one of those closets. The thumbnail school of thought is that if you haven’t used it in the last year, it is junk not really worth keeping in the closet. The same goes for junk drawers. Keep busy to stem the tide of cabin fever. A good way to clean out your closets is to turn all the clothes hangers in the same direction. As the garments are worn and cleaned, hung back in the closet with the hanger hook facing the other way. In a year you will know which clothes you don’t wear and might as well donate to charity. Many people are binge-watching television programs or having movie marathons to pass the days. Plan a future yard sale for May or June and clear out the garage and select the things you can live without or that bring you no joy. Own your possessions, don’t let them own you. Keep in touch with loved ones through social media or other electronic means. Write letters to the people you love and let them know how much they mean to you. Emails are good for this but letters, even ones written on the computer and printed, can be a keepsake to be cherished for years to come. Long days and pleasant nights, and have a good weekend. • • • Readers may contact Tami Jo Nix by emailing tamijonix@gmail.com or following @TamiJoNix on Twitter.