The funny side of Covid

The patient.

By Phil Jarratt

Well, OK, there really isn’t one, not with Queensland’s daily infection rate nudging 5000 as I write.

But if there’s anything at all darkly amusing about the fact that after two-and-a-half years of thinking I must be immune, I finally succumbed and brought my wife down with me, it’s no longer a big deal.

The mere fact that I’m writing this while still in isolation and still feeling unwell is proof positive that no one gives a damn, least of all employers. Not in my line of work, anyway.

No disrespect to the lovely people at the Star News Group, of course, some of whom have sent get well messages by email, and suggested various unlikely remedies that might keep the flow of words coming while I cough and splutter in a garret. All of which I appreciate, while remembering that I’m the one who chose to be his own boss for most of a long career, meaning the show must go on, more or less, no matter what.

The broader fact of the matter is that in Queensland, while more of us are getting Covid, fewer of us are ending up in hospital, the wheels of industry are continuing to turn, and if we keep telling ourselves it’s just like a bad cold, all will be well.

But in my case I feel a little ripped off because I spent more than a month suffering from cold and flu symptoms I couldn’t shake, and testing negative, over and over again.

It seemed like every second day I would wake up feeling lousy and reach for the RAT beside the bed (as opposed to the rats that live under the bed), stick the swizzle stick up my nostrils, twirl it around in the tube, then squeeze the drops into the test kit and wait for that second red line that never revealed itself.

Fortunately, for some reason I’ve yet to figure – age, infirmity, good looks, nice manners, who knows – my pharmacist gifted me a jumbo pack of rapid antigen tests some time ago, so at least my long run of infuriating negatives weren’t costing me anything.

And that’s another paradox of the pandemic. Where once a negative PCR was a get out of jail card, now a negative RAT is just delaying the inevitable. Bring it on, you say. Let’s get it over with. Although the more we learn about Covid, the less we know.

There is no “over with it”, apparently, until the chief health officer in the sky says there is. We just keep taking more shots and keep telling ourselves that this is the new normal.

So to get back to the slightly misleading title of this rant, I searched the web for a really funny Covid joke and failed miserably. I even went back to the toilet paper crisis in search of a giggle, but this was the best I could come up with: Ran out of toilet paper and started using lettuce leaves. Today was just the tip of the iceberg, tomorrow romaines to be seen.

Then there was this truism I can vouch for through recent experience. The world has turned upside down. Old folks are sneaking out of the house, and their kids are yelling at them to stay indoors.

And finally, a slightly tasteless oldie but a goodie. Back in my day, you would cough to cover up a fart. Now, with Covid, you fart to cover up a cough.