August 17, 2020

Covidiocy and coronation: 2020 words of the year

Covidiocy and coronation, coined by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and by the Royal League of Nations (RLN), respectively, have shared the title for words of the year for 2020. Scientists at NIH were surprised that a medical diagnosis would become the word by which 2020 would be remembered. Fellows at RLN were also astonished that coronation would be chosen for the prestigious award. The distinguished selection panel opined that covidiocy finally explained what millions of people had been suffering from, and what even more millions could not understand. NIH defined covidiocy as a state of idiocy associated with the Covid-19 virus. This condition manifests itself in different groups of people: Those who don’t know they need to wear masks: These are people who have recently landed on Planet Earth and walk around my neighborhood in Miami. Those who oppose to wear masks: These include members of Congress and the White House who claim that wearing masks is tantamount to the destruction of their masculinity and personal liberties. They claim that it is not cool for greeting dictators. Some members of congress have even asserted that wearing masks causes Covid-19. Those who pretend to wear masks: Ambivalent types who […]
July 31, 2020

Person, Woman, Man, Camera, TV

Falling in the polls, and facing accusations of incompetence, the President recently announced that all current and future federal employees, including those working in the White House, would have to pass a test to qualify for their position. The announcement sent existing employees scrambling to register for online courses hastily mounted by The College Board. In- person tutoring in the DC area is also available. Thousands of employees have already requested special accommodations for taking the test, citing a variety of reasons, from learning disabilities to testicular evaporation under stress. The announcement came amidst revelations that the President had taken the test himself and decided that everyone working for the federal government should be at least as intelligent as he is. Paralleling existing cognitive tests, the assessment will consist of verbal, non-verbal, and quantitative components. The verbal component consists of remembering, in order, the following words: person, woman, man, camera, TV. The non-verbal requirement consists of identifying an elephant among three animals. The quantitative portion, by far the most challenging one, consists of counting backwards by seven from one hundred. Performance on the test will have far reaching implications for the federal bureaucracy. As soon as the announcement was made […]
April 4, 2020

The Four Questions of the Passover Seder: Corona Version

First: On all other nights, we eat leavened foods and matzoh. Why, on this night, only matzoh? Because there is a shortage of toilet paper, and matzoh will give you such constipation that you will not need toilet paper for a month. Second: On all other nights, we don’t dip even once. Why, on this night, do we dip twice? Because Doctor Fauci said that we must dip everything twice, including our food, feet, and hands, in Clorox, for 20 seconds, before we eat, drink, or touch our face. Third: On all other nights, we eat all vegetables. Why, on this night, bitter herbs? Because Fox News believes they will cure corona. Fourth: On all other nights, we eat either sitting upright or reclining. Why, on this night, do we all recline? To remind us of the days when we had toilet paper.     Isaac Prilleltensky is an award-winning academic and humor writer. His latest books, The Laughing Guide to Change, and The Laughing Guide to a Better Life, co-authored with Ora Prilleltensky, combine humor with science.  
March 30, 2020

COVID19: Veni, vidi, vici

  Veni, vidi, vici is a Latin phrase meaning “I came, I saw, I conquered.” The saying is attributed to Julius Caesar, who apparently used it in a letter to the Roman Senate around 47 BC after a swift and convincing victory against Pharnaces II of Pontus at the Battle of Zela. But you already knew that, so let me tell you something you don’t already know. While the world is rooting for Dr. Fauci and scientists around the world to beat COVID19, I’m waging my own war against the virus. I’m not going to let any corona disrupt my life. While everyone was scrambling to buy toilet paper, I was on Amazon searching for a do-it-yourself apparatus for cutting my own hair. Toilet paper I could recycle, I thought, but there was no way I would set foot in a salon. I knew we were entering not only the corona age, but also the zoom age, and my pre-corona-self needed to look clean and tidy for the onslaught of online meetings at work. A quick trip to YouTube showed me how to cut my own hair using a razor. As usual, Amazon offered seventy two thousand different types of […]