I have no interest in people who want to argue that some people find everything funny, however inappropriate, or the huge social conventions that go with it. I’m a little bit closer to certain British comedians and satirists who believe you can and should find whatever humour lies within anything. Not to make fun of anything you can, but to find the natural tenets of humour that run through our lives, however dark or at least non-illuminated some of them are. However dark the current times, however bleak, there are still moments of amusement to be found, even if just in cynicism that it will only get worse.
Today I went looking for some of that, and not surprisingly, it was easy to find in various memes or mask layouts. Some started with some pop culture themes:
- Social Distancing Social Club;
- Buena distancia social club (i.e., a take-off on Buena Vista Social Club);
- I find your lack of social distancing disturbing (i.e., with a Darth Vader image)
- I will wear my mask here or there, I will social distance everywhere (i.e., like Dr. Seuss)
- In Fauci, we trust. Trust science, not morons (i.e., for US politics)
Others made references to introverts (ignoring the huge number of Bigfoot images with the slogan Social Distancing Champion):
- Stop! I’m not social distancing, I just don’t like you!
- I’m a social vegan. I avoid meet.
- I saw people through the window today. That’s enough social interaction.
- Social distancing: It’s like a vacation for introverts.
- Ewww, people.
- I can’t people today.
- When social distancing is over, let’s not tell some people.
- It’s too “peopley” out there.
- I was social distancing when it was rude (i.e., a bit different from the numerous ones about doing it “before it was cool / trendy / hip / required”).
Others still went for slightly quirky:
- Camp Quarantine
- Social Distancing Mode ON
- Zero hugs given #SocialDistancing
- Wanna hangout with me online?
And then there were the ones whose patience has run out:
- If I Can Punch You in The Face, You’re Too Close
- Back off Boogaloo
- Back up buttercup
- Stay out of my hula hoop
- Just shut up and wear your mask, Karen
- If you can read this, then you’d better be wearing a mask
But out of all of them, there were four that I liked more than the rest. Three of them in particular as I think they actually work as something you could wear on a face mask or a t-shirt.
The first was simple…it was an image of a Zoom call, and it simply said “Zoom University”. All students are dealing with some form of that, from kindergarten all the way up to graduate courses at university, and it would work really well as a traditional sweatshirt, in my view. It captures a lot of the zeitgeist of freshmen who are starting university this year wondering where their degree is even coming from or what exactly they’re paying all that tuition for, if they even registered this year and didn’t opt for a gap year.
The second was a simple mantra summary of current life: “Eat, sleep, repeat. Living the #SocialDistancing life.” An alternate version said, “Eat, sleep, social distancing, repeat. Living the dream.” There is a lot packed in there, particularly for single people living alone.
The third was a small play on words for the innuendo of “doggie-style”. The picture showed two men separated by a dog on a six-foot leash. The phrase that went with it was: “Social distancing, doggie-style“. I don’t know that I would wear this, but there are some people who walk their dog who quite like the meme.
The last one is also a play on words, and it is my favorite. The picture is of a person doing yoga, in Lotus position, with the words “Namaste six feet away”. One of my favorite comics in the last year that I’ve seen had a similar pun, where one character says, “Namaste” and the other says, “Nah, I’m gonna go”. The reason this one is my favorite is that it works relatively linearly, i.e. “peace” from six feet away, or literally, “Stay six feet away”.
Are any of them uproariously funny? Nope, but the topic isn’t funny. Millions are dying around the globe. The death experience for those infected are horrible, often isolated and alone, and struggling to breathe. And yet people have found the humour that lurks in the shared experience of social distancing, however cynical.
I needed that today, and so I choose to look for some COVID humour.
What choices are you making today?