For hours of mindless fun, google “Florida man meme.”
Some great examples: “Florida man caught on security camera licking doorknob for hours,” “Florida man who allegedly threatened family with Coldplay lyrics ends standoff after SWAT team promises him pizza” and “Florida man on drugs kills imaginary friend and turns himself in.”
I think most of these are made up by and for people who just can’t get enough of Florida man. “Florida man dies in an explosion after attempting to microwave a microwave” is just a bit overboard.
But as long as Ron DeSantis is governor of Florida, we can be sure to have an unending supply of verifiable Florida man stories.
Earlier this year, DeSantis, annoyed that some counties were criticizing how COVID-19 vaccines were being distributed, threatened to cut their supply altogether.
Right now, Florida is seeing more new cases of COVID than it did at any time since the pandemic began. One in five of all new cases in the U.S. are in Florida, though that state has only 1/16th of the country’s population. What does DeSantis want to do about it? Well, in his mind, the biggest danger from all those new cases is that schools may start mandating masks. So, his first move has been to threaten to withhold state funds from any school that tries that.
Then, if that doesn’t work, DeSantis’ hand-picked state school board is considering taking advantage of a law the state legislature passed that was meant to help protect children from bullying in schools. The law gives parents the right to transfer their children out of schools where they are harassed.
The board is contemplating interpreting the law to consider any requirement to wear a mask in school as an act of bullying. This logic is right up there with “Florida man who shot at Target truck explains ‘Well, it had a target on it.’”
The proposal has led to dueling madness, since lunacy is contagious. There’s been talk about the possibility that parents of children in schools might use the same law to get their kids moved out of schools that don’t mandate masks. Why not? I’m picturing the Jets and the Sharks separating at the dance. I just can’t quite figure out which gang would be the one with the masks and which without. It’s too bad Spielberg’s remake is all set to come out, because it would be great if it could in one way or the other be about the masked versus the unmasked. I suppose there’s no chance that masks would be added in CGI.
While DeSantis is threatening to defund school districts that require masks, Biden is threatening to defund institutions that don’t do more to encourage vaccination. Florida schools could get defunded by both the state and the feds for opposite reasons.
In related news, a South Carolina congressman who joined a lawsuit against Nancy Pelosi because of $500 fines for refusing to wear masks in congressional sessions has come down with COVID.
Meanwhile, a Republican in Texas who referred to people calling for vaccination as enemies of free people died in a hospital five days after he tested positive for COVID.
Those stories don’t seem to change minds much. PBS just aired an interview with a woman who refused to get vaccinated then caught the virus and had to be hospitalized, and now she still says she’s opposed to the vaccine, because it hasn’t been tested enough.
The amount of testing going on seems pretty fantastic to me. Thanks to testing, there’s growing evidence that, if anything, we’re all going to need a third shot soon and probably a fourth one by the end of next year. That’s especially likely if not enough people get around to their first and second shots. The rest of us will all need to up our protection against them.
In news closer to home, I am sad to see that the last Seattle Elephant Car Wash has closed. The one on Fourth Avenue South employed a lot of teenagers at my high school back in the ’60s. Are Brown Bears headed for extinction next?
But, good news: The light rail is on track to get me as far north as University Way, Roosevelt and Northgate by October. Get it? “On track.” Sometimes I can’t stop myself — it’s like sneezing uncontrollably. I need a doctor.
Dr. Wes Browning is a one time math professor who has experienced homelessness several times. He supplied the art for the first cover of Real Change in November of 1994 and has been involved with the organization ever since. This is his weekly column, Adventures in Irony, a dry verbal romp of the absurd. He can be reached at email@example.com.
Read more of the Aug. 11-17, 2021 issue.