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A Vogon approach to social distancing


I love charts. I think it's the Geography teacher in me that likes nothing more than to pore over data and try to work out what it says. This one's about how risky certain jobs are in COVID Land - practically the whole world lives there at the moment - about how much they pay and how many people do those jobs for a living.


The further to the right your job is, the riskier it is on account of your having to get up close and personal with your 'customers'; the further left you go the 'safer' you are. The nearer the top you are the more pay you take home at the end of the day and, conversely, the nearer you are to the bottom, the less you get.


"Oh, to be a Computer Network Architect!", I hear you cry. And "Pity those poor dental assistants, getting coughed and spluttered all over for next to no pay!".


As a secondary school teacher, I'm comfortable with being on about the 75th percentile if we read the chart from right (riskiest) to left (safest). But my sister-in-law, Lauren, is up there at about the 10th percentile (she's a medical sonographer), my university friend, Tina comes in at about the 20th (she is a flight attendant for SwissAir) . My 'middle' brother would have faired a little worse than me at about the 50th percentile had he not retired (he was a police officer) and my daughters, one of whom is a part-time waitstaff (what on earth are 'waitstaff' - is that just political correctness gone a bit too far?) and the other a Reprographics Officer (doesn't even get a mention but she spends most of her days in the company of an inanimate object) are doing OK. As for my wife, she's a Glorified Personal Shopper (GPS) for Age UK, so she probably ranks alongside personal care aides. A bit risky, but they've given her one solitary mask, so she's fine. Not.


So, how close is too close? Admittedly, it sounds like something a prospective girlfriend or boyfriend might as on a first date? But it is an important question. We all know that social distancing in a school is impossible. So should we ask the Headteacher to buy in a load of 'cuddle curtains' so pupils can hug each other in the playground? Perhaps we should all teach in full HAZMAT suits that make us look like aliens from another planet? It might have an interesting effect on classroom discipline being taught by something that looks more like a Vogon than a human being.

In the meantime, I shall take a daily dose of common sense - in addition to my Vitamin D supplement and my blood pressure tablets - and try not to get too close to anyone. And if you fancy coming round to our garden later in the week - after all, we are allowed to meet now - please remember that you can't go into the house to use the toilet, nor can you relieve yourself in the pond. Sorry.


Perhaps I will treat you to some of my favourite poetry? This is Prostetnic Vogon Jeltz's offering taken from Douglas Adams Hitchhiikers' Guide to the Galaxy. He used it to torture hostages. But I like to imagine him addressing a coronvirus now.


“Oh freddled gruntbuggly, Thy micturitions are to me, As plurdled gabbleblotchits, On a lurgid bee, That mordiously hath blurted out, Its earted jurtles, Into a rancid festering confectious organ squealer. Now the jurpling slayjid agrocrustles, Are slurping hagrilly up the axlegrurts, And living glupules frart and slipulate, Like jowling meated liverslime, Groop, I implore thee, my foonting turling dromes, And hooptiously drangle me, With crinkly bindlewurdles, Or else I shall rend thee in the gobberwarts with my blurglecruncheon, See if I don't.”



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