Spring Spaghetti Harvest Threatened

These are difficult times.  We are all in uncharted waters.  The coronavirus pandemic has affected every single one of us.  It doesn’t matter if you are affluent or less fortunate, old or young, man or woman, black or white, gay or straight, Star Trek or Star Wars, Dr. Who or Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman, Gryffindor or Slytherin, Democrat or Republican.  It is times like these that really demonstrate how we have far more in common than things which separate us, how we all have a role to play in helping one another, and how our world, large though it is, still comes down to the six feet of space between you and the next person.

I remember watching movies like Outbreak and Contagion, the latter bearing eerie similarities to the present crisis we find ourselves in, and being entertained in that way you are when a story engrosses your imagination but doesn’t switch on your self-preserving fear for anything other than the two hours or so of the film.  I remember when my world, the gay community, was besieged by another epidemic turned pandemic, a time when another Republican president allowed ideology and not science to take the lead and quickly lost control of the situation, when fear was our constant companion, and when the reasonableness of sacrifice for the greater good fought with selfishness for the upper hand; having lived through that time I am confident we will live through the present crisis too.   

The news out of Switzerland this morning is dire for all pastafarians.  CNN International is reporting that due to restrictions put in place by the European Union on migrant laborers aimed at stopping the spread of the coronavirus, the Swiss spaghetti harvest is in danger.  We all know that Italy, a country synonymous with pasta, has been particularly hard hit by this pandemic.  Early reports that Italians were developing a promising vaccine that involved covering each other in balsamic vinegar and olive oil proved to be just a screen grab from Jared Kushner's Tinder profile under “turn ons” that Sean Hannity had mistaken for a wire report from Reuters.  But a quick call to Ivanka was able to clear that right up, and he was able to book Kellyanne Conway who promptly informed the American people that if the Obamas had stuck to good ol’ American iceberg lettuce instead of growing arugula in the White House garden we wouldn’t be in this mess and how President Trump was pushing congress to include a Big Mac with everybody’s stimulus checks.  Because Dr. Fauci has indicated that parmesan cheese will be crucial to stopping the spread of the COVID-19 virus and “flattening the curve,” Trump’s 2020 re-election campaign team has ordered 30,000 red MAKE AMERICA GRATE AGAIN hats to send to New York City in lieu of ventilators.

That said, ordinary Swiss citizens are stepping up to ensure Italian restaurants the world over have something to serve with a nice Chianti once the shelter in place orders are lifted by Easter Sunday.  Fox is reporting on entire families risking life and limb, and the comfort and safety of home, to harvest this year’s spaghetti crop, said to be one of the most al dente on record.

Not wanting to be caught on the back heel, the Trump Administration, through Vice President Pence’s office, is issuing new guidelines to Americans if a worldwide spaghetti shortage (caused by Obama) comes to pass.  Because I hope my blog is informative and a true public service, I am republishing the vice president’s instructions here:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Office of the Vice President

The White House, Washington D.C.

home grown spaghetti
banza-1024x1024
  1. send a gay neighbor or family member to the grocery store; that way, if they become infected and die, you’ll still be okay and it doesn’t matter that they are human beings too and somebody probably loves them, because God, in addition to creating and maintaining all life, the incredibly vast universe, and listening to the prayers of professional baseball players asking him to help them hit a home run, is very worried about what gay guys get up to when they are naked, and people eating pork
  2. have your sacrificial gay purchase one can of tomato sauce
  3. place a sprig of spaghetti into the can of tomato sauce; if you do not have a sprig of spaghetti, steal one from the gay guy’s kitchen after he succumbs to the coronavirus — God knows he won’t be hosting any pasta-themed dinner parties anytime soon (look around, he’s probably got a bottle of Chianti too)
  4. place the tomato sauce can in a window with a good amount of sunlight from a south to southeastern exposure; water regularly using only water designed for pasta (specially made from chickpeas), but take care not to overwater else your sprig may go limp; Banza is a good brand and is probably available at your local Whole Foods market
  5. salt and pepper to taste
  6. mangia!...mangia!

Yah, okay, relax thoughtful reader.  There is no imminent pastageddon.  Today is...

April Fools

It has been observed for many centuries and in many different cultures, but its origin has been obscured by time and tradition.

Some historians date it back to France’s adoption of the Gregorian calendar in 1582 to replace the Julian Calendar, as mandated by the Catholic Church’s Council of Trent in 1563.  Without a news media (or social media!) to disseminate the change which saw the start of the new year move to January 1st from the last week of March through April 1st, some people were slow to get the news and continued to celebrate it April 1st, becoming the butt of jokes and hoaxes — thus, fools.

April Fools’ Day spread throughout Britain during the 18th century; in Scotland, the day was marked with the hunting of the gowk, in which people were sent on phony errands (“gowk” is a colloquial word for the non-existent cuckoo bird, a symbol for a fool).  In modern America in 1996, Taco Bell issued a press release announcing they had completed negotiations to purchase Philadelphia’s Liberty Bell and intended to rename it the “Taco Liberty Bell.”  Two years later, in 1998, after Burger King advertised a “Left-Handed Whopper,” customers showed up at their restaurants to order it.  But the most notorious April Fools’ prank was perpetrated by the BBC in 1957; a show called Panorama, the world's longest-running news/documentary television program which first aired on BBC One in 1953, was narrated in ‘57 by the normally deadpan journalist Richard Dimbleby; it featured a family from Ticino in Switzerland carrying out their annual spaghetti harvest.  It showed women carefully plucking strands of spaghetti from a tree and laying them in the sun to dry.  Some viewers failed to “get it" and criticized the BBC for airing the item on what was supposed to be a serious factual program.  Who said the British are stiff and can’t take a joke?

So I took a cue from that brilliant farce this morning because I figured, now more than ever, we could all use a smile.  Stay safe, wash your hands, and stay six feet apart so you don’t end up six feet under.   And don’t forget to water the spaghetti.

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