This week’s Coronavirus Dope of the Week Award is a tough call.
First, there’s Rudy Gobert, the center for the Utah Jazz, who thought he was being funny when he brushed his hands across the surfaces of microphones set up for the first media availability after the NBA barred reporters from entering locker rooms as a preventative measure against the virus. A couple of days later, Gobert became the first professional athlete in the nation to test positive for the virus.
Felicitations, Rudy. You just put you and all your millionaire pals out of business indefinitely. In Rudy’s native France, they have a phrase to describe guys like him: Con comme ses pieds.
Look it up.
Gobert was the clear favorite to capture the coveted award until some clown was so hellbent on getting down to Palm Beach that he boarded a JetBlue flight at JFK while awaiting results from a test for the virus he underwent two days earlier. Sure enough, the passenger was notified of the positive test result mid-flight. JetBlue staff learned about it when the passenger was overheard talking about his test results. After landing, his fellow passengers were stranded on the tarmac for a couple of hours while health care officials figured out what to do.
JetBlue issued a statement, saying, “We’re asking customers who do not feel well or are concerned they have coronavirus to not fly until cleared to travel by a doctor or health professional."
Which reminds me of a sticker on an air conditioner I was installing years ago, which said, “DO NOT DROP OUT WINDOW.”
If you have to tell somebody not to do something that is this blindingly obvious, it’s pointless.
Things haven’t gone so well for last week’s Dope of the Week Award winner, Congressman Matt Gaetz of Florida. Gaetz, who donned a gas mask on the House floor to make light of those who were warning about the public health threat posed by the virus, was among members of Congress who quarantined themselves this week after being exposed to the virus by some guy at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington.
Which in itself led to the Bad Coronavirus Joke of the Week.
Q: What do you call a half-dozen members of Congress being locked away from the public?
A: A good start.
Bad judgment, bad behavior, and bad jokes are a natural byproduct of a pandemic, and while it’s good to laugh, especially these days, nothing really seems funny right now.
Looking for some light in these dark days, I didn’t have to look any farther than Dorchester. That’s where the great Jack Doherty runs a small business called College Hype.
Doherty has 30 employees who adorn T-shirts, sweat shirts, hats, and sports apparel, much of which is festooned with symbols and words peculiar to Boston.
Every year, they roll T-shirts out for the St. Patrick’s parade in South Boston. But on Monday, after his business had already printed a bunch of those shirts, Doherty got word that the parade had been canceled because of fears that the coronavirus could spread wildly among such a tightly packed crowd.
Jack Doherty came back to life after being dead for seven minutes following a heart attack while playing hockey in Weymouth some years ago, so nothing fazes him. He’s a very positive human being, who helps a lot of people.
“When life hands you lemons,” Jack Doherty said, “you make lemonade.”
Or, in this case, you make a stencil that says “CANCELED” and superimpose it over formerly obsolete dated T-shirts.
“They’re collector’s items,” Doherty said.
They’ve already sold about 100 of them online. His hawkers will be in Southie on Saturday selling them.
Unless, of course, the coronavirus rears its ugly head even higher and the city bars any human contact, even in the bars and package stores.
At which point, you will still be able to get a virus, but not a Corona.
Kevin Cullen is a Globe columnist. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.