Robert Cormack in Lifestyle, Publishers & Bloggers, Teachers Creative Director • Robert Cormack & Associates Mar 22, 2020 · 4 min read · +700

The Pandemic Tug-Of-War.

When the going gets weird, the weird find a beach.

The Pandemic Tug-Of-War.

“I’m immune deficient, but I take supplements.” Spring Breaker in Miami

Beaches seem to be the last refuge of silly people, or people who don’t know they’re silly. Drinking makes you forget, obviously. So does hanging out with drunken people your own age. With so much sun and fresh air, it’s hard to imagine anyone dying. Heat prostration, sure, but some kinky bat infection?

Florida has closed down the bars now. Word got out that Italy didn’t take this pandemic thing seriously enough. Now they’ve got more deaths than China. When your numbers exceed the epicentre, you gotta take the Corona out of the corona virus, so to speak. This putting a serious kink in spring break, leading to shocking incidences of civil disobedience — namely tug-a-wars.

Hours after pulling that rope, participants feel rejuvenated, ready to kick some righteous virus ass.

Yes, folks, tug-a-wars, the answer to pandemics and quarantines everywhere. Effective? Damn right they’re effective. Hours after pulling that rope, participants feel rejuvenated, ready to kick some righteous virus ass.

“Heat kills the virus,” President Trump said only a week ago, sending spring breakers to Miami, Fort Lauderdale and Clearwater beaches in droves.

“It’s my birthday,” one young woman in corn rows said, “and I ain’t stayin’ inside for no corona thingy.” If the president says “heat kills,” that’s good enough for her. Heat it is, and, hell, throw in a tug-a-war. Aren’t experts saying exercise is the best thing we can do?

Well, yes, exercise is good overall, unless it’s done in groups of hundreds or thousands. Then it’s a petrie dish, what some disease specialists call “the perfect storm.”

Still, exercising’s better than not exercising, right? So’s fresh air, waves, boogie boards and, of course, a spirited tug-of-war. It’s all about “mood-building,” according to a piece in The Atlantic, what spring breakers figure shouldn’t be limited to lava lamps and camomile tea.

Now, hugging and grabbing are a far cry from social distancing, a small quibble if you’re talking to a spring breaker.

They’re an active lot, and nothing builds their mood like falling on each other in a “rope match.” Even if it encourages grabby hands, a good time is had by all. Besides, as Shel Silverstein wrote in Where the Sidewalk Ends, “I will not play tug o’ war; I’d rather play hug o’ war.”

Now, hugging and grabbing are a far cry from social distancing, a small quibble if you’re talking to a spring breaker. “I haven’t seen any corona virus,” one partier claimed, who hadn’t seen his shoes in two days, either.

Clearly, a lack of visible evidence tends to leave these folks skeptical. Bring on the evidence, the numbers, dude. Well, you know how it is with numbers. One man’s statistical certainty is another man’s jibber jabber. Governor Ron DeSantis was leaning towards jibber jabber until last week, preferring instead to limit social gatherings to “10 people per group.”

That’s not even a pansy-assed tug-of-war, the spring breakers replied, defying the edict, leaving DeSantis no alternative but to close everything down. “We now have 390 confirmed COVID-19 cases,” he said, “and 8 deaths.” Seems the Florida heat doesn’t do diddly to the corona virus, according to The Miami Herald.

Didn’t exercise fight the corona thingy? (like, only old folks die, right?) And when did anyone suffer serious injury from a harmless game of tug-of-war?

This was “plenty shocking” to the spring breakers. Didn’t exercise fight the corona thingy? (like, only old folks die, right?) And when did anyone suffer serious injury from a harmless game of tug-of-war?

Enter the supposed jibber jabber again, this time, courtesy of an article in Priceonomics, detailing quite a few injuries, including a Boy Scout troop trying to set a Guinness World Record. In a 650-person match, the “thumb-thick” nylon rope snapped, killing a 9-year-old boy on impact.

Then there’s the tug-of-war game at a Colorado homecoming, where two 17-year-old boys looped the rope around their hands and suffered amputations. Signs were later posted at the Christian high school that read, “Their hands are in His hands.”

Of course, the spring breakers were never trying to set records, other than the obvious one of stupidity. “We’re just having fun.” one of them said, until all the bars closed. Without a good buzz, you knew right away who’s grabbing who, and sometimes it’s a real ugly guy, and you have to throw up, so your friends don’t accuse you of settling.

And how can tug-of-wars, or booze cruises (still occurring in the Bahamas) be anything but fun? “We’re healthy,” one partier explained. “None of us have the coronavirus.”

This was echoed by a young woman who admitted to being immune deficient. “I take supplements. I self medicate, so I’m okay. I’m fine.”

Especially when some girl’s still hurling so her friends won’t think she likes being grabbed by an ugly guy.

That’s the power of youth. All is well — until it isn’t. But until it isn’t, why get all hung up on closing everything down? Especially when some girl’s still hurling so her friends won’t think she likes being grabbed by an ugly guy.

One student showed up from Scotland. “I came here to get steamed,” he said, which you’d think is pretty universal where he comes from. But, no, “they’re bein’ crotchety as hell over there,” he said, not like Florida, where thousands can congregate, show their abs, and drink Coronas.

“There’s only one spring break,” someone else commented, “and, like, maybe old people should stay inside, you know, and let us party.”

The logic here is that old people had their spring breaks. Nobody told them to get off the beach. Nobody closed the bars, or made them stop their tug-of-wars. Didn’t they have Woodstock and Monterrey? Who was telling them they were infecting everyone in sight?

Now there’s a guy using logic and history, forgetting that 1967 and ’69 weren’t exactly pandemic years.

“Half a million people, man,” a spring breaker noted. “You’re telling me they weren’t infecting each other left and right? We’re, what, a few thousand? How’s that fair?”

Now there’s a guy using logic and history, forgetting that 1967 and ’69 weren’t exactly pandemic years. Although, truth be told, the incidence of STDs during Woodstock might have been higher than reported and, yes, there were tug-of-wars, not to mention limited toilets and medicine.

But, again, no pandemics, which hardly seems worth arguing, since it is spring break, and we (meaning Boomers) weren’t exactly careful — or law-abiding, for that matter.

There’s hypocrisy galore these days, beginning with President Trump, who said, “When this is over — and it will be over — we can say we won the war.”

It’s a funny he used the word “war” right after telling governors of states asking for ventilators that they should “try to find their own.” Very few wars were fought with armies having to find their own weapons (okay, Russia, but they were seriously short of weapons, so don’t get hung up on history).

Why not tie those towels together, and you’ve still got a tug-a-war (which isn’t hurting anyone, right?)

In any event, we’re not talking shortages here. There’s lots of everything in Florida — or there was until everything got closed down. On the other hand, there’s still a beach, and sun screen, and towels. Why not tie those towels together, and you’ve still got a tug-a-war (which isn’t hurting anyone, right?)

Besides, there’s only one spring break, dude, and folks gotta get steamed and do some “rope pulling,” or it’s just not, well, righteous at all, right?

What is these days? To quote the Big Lebowski, “Smokey, this is not Vietnam. There are rules.” Yes, there are rules, even for nihilists, naysayers and pandemic deniers. But like he also said, “Sooner or later, you’re going to have to face the fact that you’re a moron.”

Robert Cormack is a satirist, novelist and blogger. His first novel “You Can Lead a Horse to Water (But You Can’t Make It Scuba Dive)” is available online and at most major bookstores. Check out Skyhorse Press or Simon and Schuster for more details.




Robert Cormack Mar 23, 2020 · #2

#1 I think that boat sailed, Ken. Last I heard, Costco is refusing returns (meaning toilet paper and 50 pound bags of rice). Seems hoarders tend to hoard the way they eat (eyes too big for their stomachs—or their brains). One day we'll ask, "Why didn't stores set a limit in the first place?" Well, because stores, like governments, tend to think while they go along, never a good thing during pandemics it seems.

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Ken Boddie Mar 23, 2020 · #1

If the fat guys at the top of the pecking order continue to tell porkies to the masses, without consequences, then the masses stop listening and stop believing anything they are told, even when it's for the good of humanity.

+1 +1