Watch­ing Con­ta­gion, Pan­demic and Tom Hanks movies for­bid­den

Vancouver Sun - - CITY - PETE MCMARTIN Pete Mcmartin is a for­mer Van­cou­ver Sun colum­nist.

Things I have promised my­self I will do once this is all over:

1 I will stop scream­ing “Get away from me! Do you have a death wish?” at com­plete strangers.

2 I will stop wash­ing boxes of ce­real.

3 I will walk down a nar­row gro­cery aisle with­out won­der­ing if an­other shop­per will be com­ing in the op­po­site di­rec­tion, and then hav­ing that weird mo­ment of eye con­tact with them as if we were driv­ing down a one-lane street and look­ing at each other through our wind­shields and won­der­ing who was go­ing to give way first.

4 I will stop giv­ing way first.

5 I will never try to turn a door­knob while wear­ing mit­tens, be­cause it’s like un­screw­ing a bot­tle top while your hands are wet with soap. Which is what I al­ways have on my hands when I’m not wear­ing mit­tens.

6 I will stop tri­an­gu­lat­ing the safest route down a street when there are more than two peo­ple walk­ing down it, and will stop walk­ing side­ways down that street as if squeez­ing through a nar­row cave open­ing.

7 I will stop look­ing at sur­faces — any sur­face, re­ally, like that ba­nana, that piece of drift­wood over there on the beach, my wife — and won­der­ing, “Touch it, or not?”

8 I will pick my nose.

9 I will stop won­der­ing, “Should I buy a gun?” In­stead, I’ll just buy a gun.

10 I will not watch Con­ta­gion or Pan­demic on Net­flix. Or any movie star­ring Tom Hanks.

11 That frozen bag of to­ma­toes that has been in the freezer since 1996 I was keep­ing just in case so­ci­ety breaks down com­pletely and the virus mu­tates and the neigh­bours be­gin look­ing at me as a source of pro­tein? I’m throw­ing it out.

12 I will stop look­ing at cof­fee grounds and won­der­ing if they have any nu­tri­tional value.

13 I will stop do­ing all those chores around the house that I promised my­self I would do when I had the time, and then ac­tu­ally did once I started self-iso­lat­ing. In the fu­ture, the gut­ters can go to hell.

14 I’ll stop promis­ing my­self that I will read all the clas­sics that I had al­ways meant to read one day. In­stead, I won’t read them.

15 I will stop drink­ing reg­u­larly to re­lieve the stress, and start drink­ing reg­u­larly to get a buzz on, and then only af­ter breakfast.

16 I will for­ever look upon a gro­cery store clerk as the hero I now know him to be, though I will still ask him in what aisle I can find the Prepa­ra­tion H.

17 Af­ter hav­ing done so a cou­ple hun­dred times, I will stop scold­ing my wife for han­dling some­thing with­out wear­ing gloves, be­cause, de­spite what she thinks, I am not a “virus Nazi” and would she please put down that knife or at least put some gloves on while she con­sid­ers us­ing it.

18 I will stop walk­ing around the house in just my un­der­wear, but, once it’s safe to do so, walk around out­side in just my un­der­wear.

19 I will eat New York-style cheese­cake. In New York.

20 I will hug my grand­chil­dren. Up and to that point their ribs break.

21 You know that fa­mous paint­ing from Nor­way, the one where the guy has his hands on his face and his mouth is open in a scream? I’m go­ing to do that in the fu­ture, I mean put my hands all over my face with­out scream­ing when I re­al­ize I wasn’t wear­ing my mit­tens.

22 Af­ter the pan­demic passes, and I am filled with a re­newed pur­pose in life be­cause of the new-found sense of mor­tal­ity the virus im­pressed upon me, and I de­cide to go to med­i­cal school to help the sick and ail­ing, and I grad­u­ate from med­i­cal school summa cum laude, and I go on to be­come a world-fa­mous neu­ro­sur­geon, and I am told just be­fore en­ter­ing the op­er­at­ing room one day that I am about to op­er­ate on the brain of a sci­en­tist who had just fig­ured out in his head a cure for can­cer and an an­ti­dote to all fu­ture viruses, not to men­tion the equa­tion that will make light­speed travel pos­si­ble, but who had for­got­ten all that when he bumped his by fall­ing off a lad­der when he was clean­ing his gut­ters be­cause he had noth­ing else to do when he was self-iso­lat­ing, and that the del­i­cate brain surgery I am about to per­form will not only save his life but re­store his mem­ory so that he can re­mem­ber the cure for can­cer and the an­ti­dote for all fu­ture viruses, not to men­tion the equa­tion for light­speed travel, I don’t care, I’m still not wash­ing my hands be­fore­hand.

23 I will for­get any of this ever hap­pened, un­til you know, next time.


Pete Mcmartin has a list of things to do once life is back to nor­mal. It in­cludes drink­ing to get a buzz in­stead of re­liev­ing stress, and never try­ing to turn a door­knob while wear­ing mit­tens.

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