When I'm in the newsroom, I typically have an idling Chrome tab that displays The Globe's user analytics in real time. I can see which stories y'all are most interested in, based on number of clicks and the amount of time you spend reading each one. It's a useful tool for evaluating what kind of content to cover in the future.
The past week's analytics have been dominated by stories about the novel coronavirus. This is not surprising to me; obviously everyone wants to and should be informed about this global health concern. But the numbers also suggest widespread anxiety about the future of humanity.
I am not a pandemic expert. I'm nowhere close to a medical professional. But I do want to help heal, encourage and lift people within my sphere of influence. In this case, I'll defer to the proverbial "best medicine": laughter.
There are a lot of reasons to feel somber about this mysterious illness traveling the earth faster than light. But I don't want to discuss those in my column today. As the wisest man who ever lived put it, "there is ... a time to weep, and a time to laugh" (see Ecclesiastes 3:1-8). Let's take a few minutes to laugh together.
If you spend any time on the Internet, you've probably already come across a fair share of coronavirus memes, tweets and even songs. YouTube is teeming with nods to Disney's Hercules that substitute "social distance" for "go the distance." I've even seen a coronavirus parody of Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody" (although personally, I've taken to hearing "COVID-19" in my head to the tune of "Come On Eileen" by Dexy's Midnight Runners).
In case you don't live on the Internet, I've collected some of my favorite coronavirus jokes for you. Hope they help.
Here are some witty tweets:
- Laura Norkin (@inLaurasWords), deputy editor of InStyle magazine: "A funny thing about quarantining is hearing your partner in full work mode for the first time. Like, I’m married to a 'let’s circle back' guy — who knew?"
- Guardian Australia reporter Brigid Delaney (@BrigidWD): "In an unsettling reversal of my teenage years, I am now yelling at my parents for going out."
Comedian Tessa Orzech (@tessa_saysrelax): "Interesting to learn that a global pandemic was the only thing that could cure my FOMO (fear of missing out)."
And some (awfully) great puns:
I’ll tell you a coronavirus joke now, but you’ll have to wait two weeks to see if you got it.
What do you call panic-buying of sausage and cheese in Germany? The wurst kase scenario.
- What’s the difference between COVID-19 and Romeo and Juliet? One’s a coronavirus and the other is a Verona crisis.
If neither of those options tickles your funny bone, there's a whole wide world of humor out there. I recommend Dry Bar Comedy on YouTube for clean, family-friendly bits. And please, feel free to send me your favorite jokes via email or on Twitter @lwardglobe. As we stick together in this crisis, let's also laugh together!
If the worldwide tension gets to you, it's okay to feel overwhelmed and anxious sometimes. It's natural to worry about your loved ones and the most vulnerable among us. Those feelings make you human. But humans also need to take time to laugh. I hope you'll do that this week, this month and as often as you need a reminder that all is not lost.