Tuesday, 11 May 2021

From a Hug to a Plague

Much excitement over Boris Johnson's latest advice that we can now hug. I've been trying to point out that hugs were never illegal, and whether you thought one outdoor cuddle with granny and grandad was worth sending them to the grave ten years early was very definitely your own decision.

But still. Turns out our Prime Minister, whose own problem has always been refraining from too much personal contact, has declared we can now hug our relatives (or presumably other people's) as long as we do it cautiously.

Now the way I see it, any single thing on its own isn't a big risk. Which is why Little Laurence Fox's way of celebrating his mid-life crisis by encouraging overweight, ageing men to stand quite close to each other - but not that close, there's none of that going on - ain't the plague apocalypse that more cautious people think. It's just one event. I mean, it's not like the Government would plan to encourage hugging while reopening indoors entertainment, and would let people get plastered to the point when sensible precautions break down, and tell students not to wear masks, is it?

Ah. As you were.

Quite how one hugs cautiously is really one for the philosophers to decide. I know early on when Burton Dasset was saying human contact was important, he rejected the all-body "hug suit" that I got Young Keith to knock up for him. Said it had no means of letting air in or out. Well, surely that was the whole point. So we built him another one with a one-way air valve. But of course he blew up like a Zorb. Which was, after all, the whole point as well. He still couldn't hug anyone.

But now we can hug our grannies, the Beaker folk say, can we reinstate the handshake of peace? And of course the answer is no. The handshake of peace encourages congregational mingling. It rapidly spreads anything on someone's hands to every right hand in the place. And you've got to get within a sensible inter-personal distance (6 or 7 yards in my opinion) to do it.

OK, they said. What about just shake hands with the person 2m up the Moot House? Well, the thing is - that may be all right for the shaker. But what if the shakee is not so keen? Their rights need to be considered. You don't want to force your germs on an innocent non-shaker. Leave them alone. We did build an app, where you could match willing handshakers up and leave sensible people alone. But the Beaker Fertility Folk modified the settings and next thing you knew, everyone was out in the long grass behind the Moot House. Worst idea since a Northampton newspaper ran a shock-horror article reporting on all the local dogging sites. With precise directions on how to find them and when they were busiest.

No. We will not be reintroducing the handshake of peace just yet. We will stick with the Curt Nod of Recognition of Peace and the Embarrassed Half-Wave of Peace.

I am happy to announce, however, that the Beaker Socially Distanced Quire (we've been making the drummer play in the Doily Shed since 2008) have written new words to that old "We like being modern but not too modern" worship song, "Spark to a Flame", which they'll be singing Sunday.

Hugging with cautiousness
But not too close
Lurking infectiousness
Bothers me most.
Handshakes are recklessness
Nods are still cool
And still no "Kiss of Peace"
Don't be a fool.

Covid's not flu
It's still out there.
Contact is foolish, not brave.

Don't wreck it now
Let's not be so vague.
Don't let things go from one hug
To a plague.

1 comment :

  1. Well done Archdruid Eileen. Just the right note of cautiousness and scepticism.


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