COVID Wordplay
Columns, Coronavirus Update, In Black & White

COVID Wordplay

December 26, 2020

In modern times, apart from the World War years, there probably has never been so much global anticipation, anxiety and hope for a New Year as there is for the year 2021. Also, there has never been such urgency for a year to end as this year, 2020. 

Everyone feared Y2K. The year 2000 was supposed to wreak economic havoc and take humanity down. Guess, we were off by two decades and it was not technology but our behaviour towards nature that brought about our gloom and doom. But have we humans, learnt our lesson? Not really.

We continue to care more about global economy than global warming. We still choose unhindered procreation over environmental consideration.  So, yes, we humans continue to  be on a path of self-destruction.

That said, the pandemic has indeed driven people to introspect and prioritise and like every year for most people, this year’s New Year resolution has been about health. But a more appropriate resolution would be to remain “un-infected” till we get a dose of vaccine. In the meanwhile it seems we have  got a heavy dose of vocabulary.

Earlier, “Flattening the Curve” meant reducing belly fat and “Super Spreader” was the nosey aunty who was the housing society’s gossip monger. Today their usage is more commonly related to Covid.

In fact, we have had an overload of terms that rendered some of us dyslexic. Like, when Hydroxychloroquine was touted as the miracle cure for Covid, people in their excited state started calling it “Hydroxy-cloromint”,  like the popular post-smoking mouth freshener Chlormint!

As the virus progressed, so also our vocabulary. Words like Pandemic, Lockdown, Self Quarantine, Social Distance, Asymptomatic and Comorbidity became common parlance. 

Then we got into abbreviations like PPE (Personal Protective Equipment), RT-PCR Test (Reverse Transcription Polymerase Chain Reaction) and even WFH (Work From Home).

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Later as people started breaking Covid guidelines, we got “covidiot” (someone ignoring COVID guidelines), “Maskhole” (it rhymes with a certain profanity and used on a person who does not wear a mask putting others at risk) and “covideo Party” (online parties via Zoom or Skype). 

Soon the corporates gave us “Blursday” (an unspecified day because of lockdown’s disorientating effect on time), “Zoombombing” (hijacking a Zoom videocall) and “Quaranteams” (online teams created during lockdown to  help employees  deal with changing work circumstances).

As lockdown continued, there was “COVIDivorce” (marriages broken during pandemic), “Zumping” (dumping someone over zoom call) and “Coronials” (sounds like Millennials, these are children born during the pandemic) 

Then as news of vaccine began pouring in, posh people started dropping words like “Efficacy” and “Profilactic.”  Soon people started getting creative and gave us a portmanteau for the pandemic — “Coronageddon” (Corona + Armageddon). Oh! And how can we forget American President’s derogatory contribution to pandemic vocabulary — “KungFlu.”

We were even introduced to names of medical equipment which we otherwise did not use often such as Ventilator, Nebuliser and Oximeter. 

Now thanks to these new introductions, I  have got myself a care-taker who wakes me up with a mild wristy shake, no pun intended, it’s just a watch that vibrates to wake the wearer up. More importantly, it has an oximeter!

This watch can even take an ECG by placing one’s finger on its ‘crown’ and if an irregular rhythm is identified, an alert will go out to the user that they must proceed to get a check up.

This new smart watch by Apple Inc.  has taken health issues to a whole new level of inspection. It tracks everything: One’s heart, one’s step, one’s fall, one’s oxygen level and even one’s sleep. I’m sure soon, with all the talk of “gut health”  the next version of the watch will be able to track one’s poop interval, duration and intensity. It’s all getting too intimate and invasive.

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But as intimate and invasive as such fitness watches may seem, when used correctly and read with a pinch of salt, they do help to maintain good health.

Now speaking of heart health…A woman finds a magic lamp and rubs it. Immediately, a Genie appears and grants her three wishes.

Genie: Woman, you have three wishes (being a sexist Genie he adds) … but your husband will get ten times more than what you wish for.

Woman: Hmm… that’s okay. I just care what I get, it does not matter that he gets more.

Genie: Okay then, what is your first wish?

Woman: I want to be the most beautiful woman in the world.

Genie: Granted. Also your husband is now ten times more handsome (trying to make her jealous he adds) … women all over will go crazy for him.

Woman: That’s okay, because I will be the most beautiful woman, so he won’t look at them.

Genie: Really ! okay if you say so. Now, what’s your second wish?

Woman: I want to be the richest woman in the world.

Genie: Granted. Also your husband is now ten times richer than you.

Woman: That’s okay. What’s mine is his and what’s his is mine, it is all ours.

Genie: Really? okay, now ask your third and final wish foolish woman.

Woman: Okay. Dear Genie, please grant me a mild heart attack !

Dear Readers, I wish you all a healthy and joyous year ahead. 

Thank you for reading what I write and I hope, I have done my job of enlightening and entertaining you with my banter. And let us all pray that the virus is not as fickle as our State Government !

e-mail: [email protected]


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