CoRVID-19 and a Nail-Biting Finish.

Emmjay offers up some compete bulldust on his personal response to the impending pandemic.

… or How the Ukulele saved my life – and will keep on saving my life.

No, this is not about being such a crap player that people stay away from me and so I survive CoRVID-19 by sheer dint of voluntary isolation.

About five years ago, I spent the whole bloody year being crook with five – count them, FIVE episodes  – one cold after another and a few flu-like interludes completely trashing my year and playing havoc with my earning capacity.  Contracting on a daily rate is quite lucrative – but not if you are too crook to work.  I had effectively mastered the chest infection as a total lifestyle induced gut busting bucket of misery.

And then the Ukulele came into my life, backed up with some cosmetic dentistry that was to prove far more useful than merely patching up a rapidly-eroding smile.

So, dear reader, as shameful as it is for me to admit it, but I have been a life long biter of nails.  It’s a subconscious thing that when I do think about it, I realise I’ve either been in a state of flow – say writing or reading something compelling and munching on the keratin burgers as part of some intense interaction with my environment.  Maybe this is the same thing as people in the movies going for nail biting when doom looks imminent.  Doom looks imminent for about 5 hours of each day – but mostly not in one single chunk.  

I hadn’t though much about the side effects – other than wearing out my teeth – being that putting one’s filthy dirty shit-caked fingers anywhere near one’s face, let alone in one’s mouth – is creating a guaranteed super highway for germs.  This is the big deal with the CoRVID-19 top risk for person-to-person transmission of the virus.

I have long developed a disdain for air travel – by the time one gets off a 400-person long flight, one is as sure of getting some kind of upper respiratory tract disease as one would by smoodging wild pigs – or worse, kissing a budgie – a sure-fire way to get psittacosis (look it up, it isn’t pleasant).

But we don’t fly overseas all that often, do we Algy ? (hint of jealousy here).  So, what’s the big deal with the hands thing ?  Well, I do work in the city and I use public transport buses and/or trains.  Geez, there’s some dirty disease-ridden filthy bastards on public transport.  It used to be that people felt OK about open-mouthed coughing and sneezing, but one good thing about the CoVID-19 virus is that bad hygiene is becoming a huge no-no on public transport.

I have seen people openly abuse an open mouth cougher and other more civilised types get up and move away – or just put on a face mask – a pretty big hint that somebody quite close is a fucking dirty disease carrying psychopath with no sense of public responsibility.  

Almost as much fun as watching one of these clowns get abused, is watching an innocent person with a touch too much chili on their food going crazy trying to stifle a sneeze.

Anyway, back to the Ukulele and the cosmetic dental work.  First, despite getting as sick as a dog flying to Hawaii and spending A$4,000 on a single visit from a GP plus three injections of antibiotic, anti-inflammatory and some other crap, I decided as a bit of compensation for myself I would buy a medium quality beginner’s uke from the Waikiki ukulele shop.  And having made the investment on a lovely concert sized piece of tone wood I attended a couple of Saturday beginner workshops.

The uke is famously easy to learn to play and I took to it like a duck to pate water.

But to get on top of strumming the instrument, it helps to have a small but perfectly shaped set of nails on the strumming hand – because a down strum is led by one or more fingernails and produces a sharper brighter sound than an up strum with the pads of one or more finger tips.  The difference in sound is an important contributor to the rhythm.  Up, up, down, up down, up.  Repeat and think of Burl Ives singing “Pearly Shells”.  My growing passion with uke music forced me to break a lifelong habit !

This was aided and abetted by my dentist doing a bit of reconstructive work on my choppers that has made it strangely far more difficult for me to actually bite my nails.  I am pretty sure that he intended to do this to preserve his other artistry for posterity.

So, as you might imagine, I now do not put my fingers into or near my mouth –  (or nose or ears for that matter) and I have had far fewer colds etc than ever before.

Nowadays just about all workplaces in the city and supermarkets – in fact loads of places – have alcohol gel sanitisers for (almost) sterilising hands and doing that is another way of limiting one’s chances of coming down with whatever-20.

And the way masks are apparently at least a little bit effective is that apart from catching some sneeze droplets, they also keep the filthy little digits away from the lush mucosa.

So, go and wash up and “cover up each cough and sneeze or otherwise you’ll spread disease”.

Aloha !

Editor’s Note: Emmjay is not suggesting that anyone should fly to Hawaii to buy a Uke. Neither is he suggesting that if you HAVE a virus that playing the Uke is a prophylactic measure.

No dentist has been harmed in the making of this post

FM has distanced herself from Emmjay’s longer than is socially acceptable male finger nails, saying that they are too sharp and a bit scary. As many readers will know, FM has massively distanced herself from all ukuleles. And international flights, but she is a fan of hand sanitisers.