The Coronavirus Survival Guide to Not Being an Ass in These Times

The coronavirus pandemic is no excuse to forget your home training

Photo: Westend61/Getty Images

WeWe have found ourselves in some interesting times, where everything is topsy-turvy and nothing makes sense. Covid-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, is a crisis layered on top of all the other madness we’ve had to deal with—for example, there is a locust invasion in Kenya right now.

I feel like we’re in some sort of Dark Timeline and that we broke the space-time continuum on November 6, 2016, when Cheeto Satan got elected as president of the United States, therefore leader of the free world. Nothing has been right since. Not a gahtdamb thing. It’s like something broke in the universe.

Things have been rough, and then you throw in a global pandemic plot twist, and I’m outdone. My anxiety is through the roof, and I’m expecting Black Jesus to swoop down at any moment to come collect us because we’re in utter shambles down here. For real, who would have seen any of this coming??? There’s a virus that is highly contagious, moving across the world, and now we have to stay in the house.

We have too much going on, so it is time for everyone to be aware of not adding trash behavior to the dumpster fire we have found ourselves in.

Who saw this coming? Well, scientists, epidemiologists, dystopian novelists. But you know, no one listens to them. Someone said this year feels like Tyler Perry wrote it, and I howled and cried a little. If 2020 was a movie, it’d be Shemar Moore’s lace-front cornrow wig in Diary of a Mad Black Woman: tangled, tacky and tragic. I’m over it.

Anywho, tensions are high, liquor is low, and everyone is tap-dancing on everyone else’s nerves. We have too much going on, so it is time for everyone to be aware of not adding trash behavior to the dumpster fire we have found ourselves in.

So, how can we try to not be asses right now? A few ways:

Don’t spread rumors

Everyone has somehow become doctors, epidemiologists, and financial advisers overnight. All across social media, everyone’s cousin works at the Pentagon, and people with doctorates from Facebook University are spreading what they consider facts. This is driving me nuts, because spreading news that is not real is dangerous as hell, and it can literally kill people and ruin lives. You might think I’m being dramatic, but the fact that the raggelly Fanta Fascist administration called Covid-19 fake news is why the United States’ response is way behind where we should be. It is why potentially millions will die unnecessarily.

Do not be the ass who is passing on untrue foolishness about the coronavirus.

No, the virus will not be killed by gargling apple cider vinegar. No, celebrities are not being paid to “lie” about testing positive. No, this is not a U.S. government conspiracy to make us all stay in the house. THAT LITERALLY MAKES NO SENSE, AS THEY ARE CURRENTLY LOSING TRILLIONS OF DOLLARS! No, being Black does not make you immune to catching the Rona. No, being young doesn’t make you allergic to the Rona. No, you should not go store all your money in a shoebox because the Federal Reserve slashed interest rates to 0%.

I need people to stop. So much foolery, so little time.

Don’t party

I don’t understand what part of “social distancing” people do not understand. We’ve been recommended to minimize physical contact with people for at least a week (which was two weeks too late, but whatever) and told to look at what happened when people in Italy did not. When they tell you to stay away from crowds as much as possible, how do people think having or going to a party makes sense?

This past Sunday, after doing online apocalypse shopping for food, snacks, and things to entertain myself—you know, the essentials—I was perusing Instagram Stories. Someone I went to college with was posting from a packed day party in Chicago, and I think my eyes instantly started twitching. I couldn’t even mind my own business at that point, as I slid into his DMs to cuss him out a little bit and warned him not to go see anyone he loves who is older for the next two weeks. He felt bad and left the party. Because right now, I have NO trouble shaming people for the greater good.

There are too many people who are still not taking this seriously, throwing parties like this virus isn’t jumping from person to person with ease in such a way that entire countries have now shut down. Don’t be an everlasting goat, still partying right now as this thing ravages the world. I understand FOMO, but when everyone is in the house, WHAT ARE YOU MISSING OUT ON?

Go saddown somewhere so this thing can be over quicker.

Don’t gloat

Now is the time for us to understand that everything is interconnected and everyone’s pain can become ours very quickly. I’m seeing some folks flex about how they’re going to be fine in all this because they have multiple income streams and reminding folks that they’ve been saying this for a long time. AUNTIE, ABEG FACE YOUR FRONT! No one needs that right now!

I’ve worked for myself for 10 years, and I’m somewhat jealous of the people with paychecks that will still be guaranteed during these times of quarantine. Meanwhile, three of my speaking engagements have been postponed, so these cash-flow projections looking sad as hell.

This is not the time to grandstand or humblebrag. This is the time to show empathy and try to figure out how to fill gaps. You’re gonna be fine as the economy tanks? GOOD FOR YOU! That is awesome. But if everyone else around you isn’t, won’t that affect you in a real way?

The only thing I’m gloating about right now is that I’ve managed to shower every day this week, even though I’ve gone nowhere. Please clap for me. Thank you.

Don’t be a xenophobe

Do not do what the Douchebag in Chief in the White House is doing, calling Covid-19 the “Chinese virus.” It is deeply irresponsible at best and wildly xenophobic at basic. Using the country where we think the virus originated is demonizing people and causing folks to resent, hate, and even harm people who look Asian. It is pure trash and not okay. And because of all this prejudice, Asians are starting to be at the other end of hate crimes, as people completely forget their humanity. It is the last thing we need right now. People are out here talking like Archie Bunker, without shame, and the regression in human decency is giving me gas.

Whew. It’s rough out here. Let’s try to do our part to not make things suck even more by trying to tuck in our asshattery as much as possible. Let’s be kinder than we’ve ever been, more compassionate than we’re used to, and less self-absorbed. How we are, what we do, and the things we say right now are having direct effects on other people in a way that feels more visceral than ever. So let’s try to get our collective shit together, since we got nothing but time right now.

Stay home (if you’re not being forced to work), be humble, amplify only the truth, and don’t be a hateful shrew.

NYTimes Best-Selling Author of I’M JUDGING YOU: The Do-Better Manual (Sep 2016). Preorder: PROFESSIONAL TROUBLEMAKER: The Fear-Fighter Manual (Mar 2021).

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store