Here at MAMIL Headquarters, we study and evaluate many products and when motivated enough, we write up evaluations and impressions of the product’s merits, qualities, and features. In the last year, we’ve evaluated a bike, some wheels, a few trinkets, and have been making a deep product analysis of beer and whiskey. This last particular product testing process has been extremely successful, but somehow by the end of each testing session, it’s been difficult to compile the test data into a coherent write-up. Our testing staff will continue and hopes to succeed in a report which includes compete sentences. Watch this space.
2020 brought many other things, not the least of which was a brand new virus. I think it may be that the Earth is searching for more methods to cleanse itself of a certain obnoxious species. Raging fires, earthquakes, floods, landslides, and Fox News have yet to completely erase large segments of the population, but as these are all on a macroscopic scale, only something microscopic could actually be impactful. This new product offered new features and options, all designed to leave a significant impact on a species known for delivering impacts of its own.
In January, news articles buried in the depths of websites mentioned a new pneumonia appearing in China, but these tended to be ignored with all of the rest of the Outbrain crap at the bottom of pages. That month also brought an annual sporting event to town, drawing thousands of spectators. We avoided the incoming flood of Millennials (not knowing that they did, in fact, bring the virus along as additional bonus) and left town for a week. In general, avoiding throngs of hypoxic Millennials is good policy, even moreso if they are spreading fad viruses and up-speaking.
Meanwhile, some of my co-workers were complaining that the flu vaccine didn’t work, and that they were horribly sick. Rumors that the local hospital resembled a TB ward circulated town, and people were saying that they were sicker than they had ever been. It was mid-winter, and common for both the flu and some hyperbole to circulate through the community.
A few months later, everything changed, and suddenly we were in lockdown. Restaurants, stores (thankfully, not liquor stores or pot shops), construction sites, and more were closed. I started several home improvement projects, none of which are now (nor ever will be) fully completed.
At my side job, we went from 235 employees to 12 overnight. Suddenly, I transitioned from being an occasionally-productive staff member to Essential. I even got a letter from the company for me to wave at a cop if I got pulled over on my way to working Essentially. I’m still waiting for a framed Certificate of Essentiality I can hang on the wall. I hope it gets here soon.
Meanwhile, my sister, being a proactive, pioneering sort of person, the type who embraces new experiences and loves adventure, reported that she did not feel well. She lives in one of the few enclaves in the country which is more liberal than even the People’s Republic of Boulder. Geographically close to the center of technology innovation, people that live there are predisposed to be early adopters, always eager to try the newest offerings available. Because it was so new, her doctors kept saying she was negative, but if you were to meet her, you’d quickly learn she’s a very positive person.
My sister had fatigue (common), cough (common), brain fog (common for people where she lives), and toe fungus. After a week, she said she felt much better, but then decided to become a long-hauler, holding on to some symptoms for another 4 months. Apparently, certain features the virus offered were appealing, so she stuck with it to get as much out of the offerings as possible. Her husband tested it as well, and he reported that it kept him from running on the treadmill, which was a positive feature as it allowed a new place to store laundry. He later said that he was done with trying out the virus and was wondering about the maximum load the treadmill could support.
Other friends went ahead and tried it, and each reported different symptoms: loss of taste and smell, splitting headaches, cough, sinus infections, halitosis, joint pain, body aches, fatigue, brain fog, and a general feeling of sadness about the final Star Wars movie not living up to their expectations.
Some people had a mix of these symptoms, some only tried one or two, and some went full buffet and had them all. A few ran though things quickly, while others stretched out the experience, savoring the moments. Some watched Solo: A Star Wars Story repeatedly before descending even deeper into melancholy.
It seems that everyone gets a different version of this virus, which from a product sense, points to sloppy quality control. Imagine if you bought a new TV, and your remote didn’t have a 9 key, while someone else’s was missing a 3. You’d probably return it. This may be the reason COVID is spreading so aggressively: people are just not happy with the package as a whole, and are trying to return it but are unsure about how to send it back.
My family and I wore masks, washed our hands until the skin nearly fell off, and avoided contact with people that would make even the most misanthropic among us envious. Household chores were completed, and we felt safe in our bubble, confident we were protecting ourselves. We had heard quite a bit about this new product sweeping the world, but being busy, felt we didn’t have the time available to make an in-depth test of our own.
Which, of course, meant that my 101-degree fever was entirely predictable.
My own testing of the virus was an exploration of relatively mild symptoms, mostly consisting of excruciating joint pain in my hips (this virus loves bursa sacs) and low-grade fevers. I decided I didn’t need the cough (I already know how to do that), and opted instead for the brain fog and crushing fatigue. I’d tried many other brain-fog inducing products during high school and college, and while each had distinct positives and negatives, it’s always interesting to try a new one.
An unadvertised option the virus offers is weight loss without effort, which is something we Americans have fantasized about for generations. This special feature let me lose 12 pounds while sitting in a chair. It was a fast and effective way to embrace a New Year’s resolution, but in truth, losing that weight would have been better on my bike. Out of everything COVID offers, this particular item is at least tolerable.
I found the product experience so captivating that I invited my wife and son to test the virus and let me know what they thought. My son, being 13, selected only a runny nose. I think that as a young teen, his sense of exploration is possibly lacking, and as he grows older he may be willing to try more product features. He reported back that he found it interesting, but overall, he was unimpressed with the virus.
My wife, on the other hand, went in deep for headaches, dry cough, fatigue, and Netflix. It turns out she actually read the COVID EULA, and it included permission to binge-watch the entire internet, which she did. She said that she thought the virus under-promised, but over-delivered.
I’m now 6 weeks from my initial positive test, and am still feeling the last dregs of the symptoms. My wife is about 2 weeks behind me and says she’s exploring other features of the virus, but in general is unimpressed with the offered menu and prefers to end her subscription. My son is showing signs of avoiding chores and surfing YouTube for gaming tips, so as far as I can tell, he no longer is testing this virus. It does seem to have reduced his vocabulary to grunts and eye rolls, which is a side effect I had not seen previously reported.
Overall, I have to say, that despite a world-wide rollout, I find COVID to be generally a poor product and I can’t recommend it. It is very, very small, and can be hard to find if misplaced. In spite of this, it seems that other people will pick it up and take it with them, which is usually considered to be rude. I also think that the inconsistency in its features is annoying. Some may say that this allows each person to have a personalized product experience, but I am a fan of products that correlate with their brochures. Further, the wide-spread adoption smacks of a fad, and these usually fade, leaving the owner with leftover outdated products they are no longer interested in. Some of you may still have snap bracelets or Cabbage Patch dolls still taking up space in your house; this is no different.
My recommendation is to take this lousy product seriously: wear your mask, wash your hands, avoid people, and protect your loved ones. It has taken millions of lives, and if given even the slightest opportunity, will kill you or someone you love. Having experienced it, I can’t say that the experience is enjoyable or productive, although it did inspire me to update my will.
It’s really not a joke, despite the comically inept approach our government has taken, and even if you don’t experience any of the fun and exciting symptoms, you may be the vector that brings it to someone else. Imagine how you’d feel if your lack of attention was the reason someone died. Masks and handwashing save lives, maybe yours, maybe a loved one. This will pass, but only if people are responsible and protect themselves and others. Those who deny it, don’t wear masks, and don’t put the utmost effort into defeating this plague are postponing the end and killing people. Don’t be one of those.