BRING BACK THE CHADOR: Telling someone they’re stupid, I have discovered after a lifetime of trying, rarely works.
Even if it’s true.
Especially if it’s true.
Calling this to mind is the stubborn recalcitrance on the part of umpteen million Americans who insist on cutting off our collective noses to spite their faces by not getting vaccinated. Don’t they get the math? Take the vaccine and drastically reduce your odds of getting infected. Don’t take the vaccine and drastically increase the odds of dying. Many people, it seems, have weighed the odds and come to different conclusions. They’d much rather run the risk of getting infected and having a breathing tube rammed down their throats than get the vaccination and endure the real but tiny chance of anaphylactic shock. I get it. We all have friends who ate the shrimp who shouldn’t have.
Naturally, it’s slightly more complicated.
Studies have shown repeating the same message doesn’t actually work if it doesn’t get through the first time. Nor does it help to have cheerful strangers knock on your doors. When was the last time you welcomed into your home any Bible-beating evangelist wanting to know where you plan to spend eternity?
It’s not necessarily the message that sucks. It’s the organ to which we’ve been appealing. Nothing is more infinitely fickle than the human brain. Our higher intelligence may account for the profligate success of the species, but equally clearly, that same higher intelligence is what’s going to kill us off.
Time to try another organ. Head south of the border. The gonads. The groin.
Pfizer Inc. grew incalculably rich selling little blue pills at $8 a pop that promised the male of the species four-hour erections. They did so by running nonstop TV commercials showing middle-aged men — all white, by the way — throwing footballs through a tire swing in the back yard. I mention race here because back when Viagra first launched, George Floyd had not yet been murdered and Black people had not yet been deemed suitable — desirable even — for TV commercial acting roles. In addition, it was believed for many years that Black people lacked the cognitive abilities to play quarterback, so it would make no kind of sense to depict them to be throwing footballs through anything.
Apparently, we’ve come a long way.
To digress, I personally have never been in any backyard with a tire swing. Nor have I ever thrown a football through one. You have no idea how this fact alienates me from the presumed reality imposed upon me by the mass media. By the same token, I have never been in a bar with a stripper pole. Watching TV — HBO especially — one would think most men spend 48 percent of their waking hours in establishments whose chief architectural feature is the stripper pole, usually adorned by some gyrating woman. In these shows, the men — preoccupied usually by who they are plotting to kill — never look. No wonder they buy blue pills.
The scary thing about COVID is that it messes up with the flow of oxygen from heart to lungs by making the permeable soft tissues of the capillaries and other body parts through which oxygen is exchanged harder than beef jerky. A healthy set of lungs — which we are told can cover a land mass the size of Delaware when stretched out at maximum capacity — is more supple and yielding than anything described in your dime-store porn.
Now imagine what havoc that same virus can play on the four-hour promise of Pfizer’s little blue pills. Four seconds might be more likely. If you’re lucky. It’s all about blood flow. And if COVID knows anything, it’s how to interrupt the blood flow.
In recent weeks, news articles have surfaced indicating a possible connection between COVID and erectile dysfunction. Typically, they are written by urologists working in Cardiff, Wales, with last names lacking any vowels. Some allude to studies sponsored by front groups we will later discover were concocted by Pfizer. That’s how science happens these days. Very imperfectly.
Typically, the punch line of these articles is that the research is suggestive, but not yet definitive. More studies, we are told, are needed. Of course they are. In the meantime, the mere suggestion of anaphylactic shock is enough to dissuade millions of Americans from getting vaccinated, while the grim and gruesome possibility of being intubated — imagine an eternity of anaphylactic shock — somehow is not.
Like I say, human intelligence is vastly overrated.
There was a girl in my 2nd-grade class who had polio. She clunked around in leg braces and made a lot of noise when she moved. Other than that, she was a nice kid. When the polio vaccine was trotted out — little sugar cubes — no one thought twice. No one wanted their baby girl squeaking up a storm in the back of the classroom.
Admittedly, today is different. Mostly it’s old people who are kicking the bucket. Or fat people. Or brown people. Or people who should have known better than to get cancer and end up in an immuno-compromised predicament.
If it was up to me, I’d have Pfizer run TV commercials showing some famous former quarterback like Brett Favre, for example, trying to throw a football through the tire, but this time missing. If you don’t get vaccinated, he’d say, ain’t no blue pill going to help you. And then — at the very last second — he’d throw a perfect pass, hitting the donut hole of that stupid tire right between the eyes.
You can lead a horse to water, we all know, even if you can’t make it drink. A jackass will drown every time.
Don’t be stupid.
This edition of the Angry Poodle Barbecue debuted as an exclusive on Nick Welsh’s Poodle Unleashed newsletter. Sign up to get Poodle Unleashed, the uncut version of the award-winning Poodle in your inbox on Saturdays.