Sunday Times

Let the new normal commence


Futurists, future scenario planners and that other riffraff can go to hell. You know what I’m talking about, right? The charlatans who take millions from gullible corporate executives to take hardworkin­g employees from their deadline-chasing to sit at the Sandton Convention Centre listening to overrated palm readers and crystal ball gazers pluck hallucinat­ions about the future out of their behinds.

They lied to me again and started giving me a hope about the Covid era buzz phrase, “the new normal”. Me being me, I got excited because I expected a revolution. No silly, not that kind of revolution involving the storming of presidenti­al palaces, the beheading of rulers and wanton looting on the streets. Though I must say that for many regions across the world, that kind of revolution wouldn’t be such a bad start. Trump’s cornbread-fed, tobaccoche­wing hillbillie­s showed all of us the way when they stormed Capitol Hill wearing grizzly bear fur coats and moose horns on their heads.

But the revolution I was expecting is a tad different. From what everyone seemed to be saying, the Covid pandemic proved to us that the “same ole” rut we’ve been stuck in was archaic and no longer tenable. And yet all I see around me is the yearning for getting “back to normality”. I really thought that the sight of a row of women at the Pick n Pay fondling pampoene to check ripeness was going to be a thing of the past. We were all going to have our groceries delivered at home. I thought standing crotch-to-bum to get Chicken Licken hotwings is something we’d left in early 2020. And yet I always seem to be the only one getting my pizza delivered to me in my car when I get takeaways and I’m not home.

The only thing we seem to have adopted pretty religiousl­y is the proliferat­ion of Zoom and Teams meetings to talk about all the great things we’d promised to do in the previous meeting and to plan future Zoom meetings to talk about Zoom meeting etiquette and why allowing our spouses to walk around naked while we’re in meetings is illadvised.

There are so many missed opportunit­ies or, to quote motivation­al speaker types, “lowhanging fruit”. And some of them have very little to do with life after Covid. But the pandemic is an opportunit­y to sneak them in during this topsy-turvy world because no-one would raise an eyebrow.

For starters, if I was President Cyril Ramaphosa, there would never again be a state of the nation address with physical attendance of members of the National Assembly. If there was any noise, I would whip out a study proving conclusive­ly that more than three people wearing red garments in one room encourages the transmissi­on of the virus.

All cabinet meetings would be held virtually. And if I was speaker Thandi Modise, I would scrap any physical attendance of parliament­ary sittings, citing the fact that, if we’re being honest, the 400member National Assembly should be used as a poster for Pre-existing Conditions and Comorbidit­ies Awareness Month.

Speaking of the medical calamity waiting to happen in our parliament, I think doctors are also sleeping on the job. Right now, doctors could get away with pretty much anything they wanted to. If I was a doctor I’d sneak in many previously unheardof remedies for my patients. When my teetotalle­r mother was approachin­g 70, a saintly doctor prescribed a glass of red wine a day. God bless his kind soul. She’s been a far less uptight human being ever since. That got me thinking about Carl Koller who, in 1884, empiricall­y demonstrat­ed the medicinal benefits of cocaine. I can think of many people who would love a doctor who prescribed a line or blow.

And in this “new normal”, I’d love to hear of a psychiatri­st who decides to abandon traditiona­l toxic drugs.

The missus would love it if a mind doctor gave her a prescripti­on note giving her permission to go on retail therapy. I’d be grumbling about her getting yet another pair of those Tsonga boots and she’d smile and say, “Welcome to the new normal baby. Doctor’s orders.”

I think doctors are sleeping on the job. Right now, they could get away with pretty much anything they wanted to

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