American Dumbass

Seriously, the only title for a reality TV show that I’d believe actually reflects reality. I probably still wouldn’t watch it, though, since I get plenty of examples of the Stupid Americans phenomenon in the wild.

Case in point – and here’s a bonus, I can bash Americans and The Gays in one swipe – PrEP. Now, assuming most of my readers are normal people and not tramps (just kidding, you whores) let me tell you a little about PrEP.

PrEP stands for Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis and is a medicine for HIV-negative people that helps prevent HIV infection by disabling the virus’ ability to replicate in a new host. It is intended to help minimize new infections in high risk individuals.

Naturally, every gay man seems to be on it.

And – proving we’re just as dumb as the next idiot – that has led to an increase in risky behaviors among gay men. Honestly, it’s like carte blanche for promiscuity. When you caution a gay guy about risky choices, the dismissive response seems to have culturally become

It’s ok, I’m on PrEP.

It’s like

With a side of

…thrown in for good measure. Of course, never a subculture to miss out on an opportunity to <ahem> poke fun at ourselves – y’know, that defense mechanism we sissy boys all learned to beat the school bully to the punch – this has led to a plethora of reductive memes.

Everything from

And more pop-culturally relevant snarkiness like this

To defensive-slash-denial based arguments to dismiss potential judgment of our behaviors. Of course, while ignoring any other potential issues – because PrEP right now seems to be the crown jewel in the pill culture world of consequences that we live in.

I mention this because – impinging upon personal freedom arguments aside – masks seem to be the new PrEP for us Stupid Americans.

Which is to say that I almost ran over an aggressive jaywalker yesterday. Seriously, this old broad – or possibly a quarantine woman in her mid 30s, hard to tell, all I saw was two inches of gray roots – stepped off the curb and into the street in front of me while I was tooling down the road at 35 MPH.

No crosswalk.

No corner intersection.

No looking both ways.

Just <bloop> I’m crossing the street.

As I brought Angela to a sudden-yet-graceful stop, I noticed her mask and said out loud, “It’s ok, I’m wearing a mask”.

The place – the Pearly Gates.

St Peter: What are you doing here?

Roots Lady: I dunno, I was wearing my mask.

COVIDiot.

Someone make me a meme of that please.

30-something gays who act like you’re still in your 20s?

Yeah, talking to you. Get on it.

I was ruminating on this while out for an urban hike yesterday. The parks and paths were littered with people out enjoying the sun.

Walking, running, cycling.

Nearly all without masks.

My thought? “Well, they’ll make handsome corpses”.

From what I understand, masks protect those around you from aerosolized viral transmissions if the wearer is a asymptomatic but infected. Most obviously, germs spread via coughing and sneezing. They also allow an extra layer of protection to non-infected people who would otherwise breathe those aerosolized particles in, thereby introducing foreign germs into their systems.

But!

You can also spread these particles through:

Spraying it instead of saying it.

Laughing.

Panting…

Y’know, like you do when you’re exercising.

So, there I was, wheezing into my mask yesterday looking around at all of the more fit people around me getting their fitness on sans masks.

Seriously.

Not even taking the most minimal of precautions to protect themselves by wearing a mask.

Why?

Because it’s uncomfortable.

Sure, I get it – I was just fast-walking and the inside of my mask was like a windshield at a drive-in theater swamp. I can’t imagine what running or cycling with one on would be like.

It’s ok, I’m social distancing when I exercise.

But, are you?

Under the best of conditions, I’m annoyed by others when I go out to our city paths for a walk. Mainly because I really don’t understand why people won’t follow basic traffic flow on pathways and sidewalks. Portland is a bridge city, thanks to the Willamette River running through its center. Ergo, our city paths often cross bridges, with at least sidewalks on both sides of the bridge – making walking with the flow of traffic a pretty easy thing to accomplish with no real effort.

So, why won’t people?

Mostly because they don’t think about it, I’d imagine. But also, our paths are mostly divided into a cycling side and a pedestrian side, each about 6′ wide. The cyclist side is always marked with an arrow indicating traffic flow, in order to reduce head on collisions between cyclists.

Pedestrians, though, get this marker

As you can see, it’s got arrows indicating pedestrian traffic is both ways. Also, since it’s Portland and our unofficial forecast is “Cloudy with a chance of protests”, you get impromptu art like this

Which is a fact. I’m actually surprised I haven’t seen one with a mask painted into it yet.

Anywho…there I am, wishing I could comfortably walk without my mask around all these fit, germ-spewing Petri dish Stupid Americans, but I can’t because they won’t behave in a manner that indicates “social distancing” is anything more than an abdication of personal accountability than “I’m on PrEP” is for the overly promiscuous Gays. There I am, on a 6′ wide pathway on the bridge walking with the flow of traffic and I’ve got other walkers coming at me head on instead of walking on the opposite side of the bridge in order to consistently maintain a 6′ bubble.

Pop Quiz

Me: What’s 6′ divided by 2?

Stupid American: Uh…social distancing?

Me: Oooh, no! Sorry, not even close.

Actually, my fellow exercisers make Gray Roots look like a genius. At least she had her “PrEP” on.

See y’all on the next lockdown. I’ve pitched a reality show for it called America’s Got Common Sense. Due to an absence of content, it’s just three minutes of credits and 57 minutes of commercials for contactless toilet paper and alcohol delivery services, a sweatpants wardrobing service, Windex epipens, UV butt plugs, lighting halos for Instafluencers and premium Zoom packages.

I think it will be a real hit this Fall. All three major networks have picked it up.

American Dumbass

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