If a little bit of sassy, Southern humor is balm for the soul in these uncertain times, then Emily Annette’s viral video is just what the doctor ordered.
Annette, who describes herself on Twitter as a “Southern nurse: Just touch your face” (we’ll get to that), hilariously recounts an incident she had at the checkout in a supermarket that puts the fevered hysteria over COVID-19 in proper perspective.
Her witty take on the matter had celebrities, including actor, producer and sometimes political commentator James Woods sharing her video and tweeting about it saying, “I just love her.”
I believe this fabulous lady is a nurse, perhaps In Tennessee. I just love her… pic.twitter.com/9VgNGOu4T5
— James Woods (@RealJamesWoods) March 17, 2020
Annette’s story is a familiar one all over America, and her take brings some levity to the seriousness of COVID-19, the sometimes deadly virus that has caused a global pandemic and resulted in unprecedented closures of schools, businesses and institutions to stop its spread.
In her video, Annette is seated in her car and sets the scene: “I just left the grocery store and as we all know coronavirus, COVID-19, whatever we’re calling it this week, has driven people completely insane,” she says in her southern drawl.
Apparently, the cashier touched his face and the woman whose groceries he was checking out “just starts shrieking at the poor little guy ringing her up, that he has just touched his face and that he therefore must wash his hands,” Annette says.
“I’m assuming she, surely to God, must be the head of the CDC because she says it with such conviction,” Annette quips.
The cashier instead uses hand sanitizer and Annette goes on an amusing rant about his halfhearted effort.
“He takes like a quarter of a little squirt, does his little thing on his hands for about a quarter of a second, which basically would’ve just served to incite a riot and maybe kill off two small, weak germs, to which the head of the CDC in her kitten-covered lab coat nods and fervently agrees that he’s, you know, saved the universe with that,” she says, furrowing her brow in mock seriousness.
Annette goes in for the comedic kill about what the lady does next, as “she goes on to whip out her credit card and use the debit pad that every finger-licking, booger-picking, double-digit IQ idiot has touched all day long after going to the bathroom and not washing their hands.”
“And then she just walks on out with her groceries, completely oblivious to the fact that everyone who handled those groceries prior to her getting them has left their little touch and trace of germs all over them, that going down the conveyer belt they probably picked up chicken juice and everything else,” she points out.
“But thank God that kid used that quarter of a squirt of Purell. She has saved the day and kept us all safe from the coronavirus.”
What Annette does so well is what all great comedy does — she exposes the absurdity and hypocrisy of certain sanctimonious crusaders who miss the big picture.
Hand washing, not touching your face, and using hand sanitizer are all good advice in the fight against the spread of the coronavirus. It is the duty of everyone to protect the vulnerable population, including the elderly and immunocompromised, by following basic recommendations.
However, finger-wagging at the cashier while ignoring other smart practices is less about hygiene and more about performing rituals for their own sake.
This woman who chided the cashier was caught up in her own panic and couldn’t contextualize the broader application of those recommendations. Instead, she simply focused on the face-touching, hand-washing connection as some sort of protective ritual.
Coronavirus or not, it’s important to remain kind and patient with one another, since we humans will have to inhabit this planet together long after the panic has passed and hand sanitizer and toilet paper are back on store shelves.
To close her entertaining story, Annette shared her Southern wisdom with this poignant message.
“Y’all, it doesn’t matter what we do. There’s so many stupid people in this world we’re never going to survive anyway. So touch your face, just touch it,” she says. “It’s all that’s left.”
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