I don’t know about you, but I’m doing everything I can to avoid contracting COVID-19. Rather than cower in fear, however, I’m living my life as fully possible, thanks to practices that have helped generations avoid scourges. As a public service, I summarize these for you.
- Spit three times over your left shoulder. Plenty of you are spitting, but you’re doing it wrong. Maybe you don’t know your left from your right, but Russian folklore specifies that the devil hangs out to your left. According to the Russian news agency TASS, July’s COVID-19 cases were 50% lower than June’s figures in Russia.
- Knock on wood. You’ve heard this so often that you may have tuned it out, but now’s the time to get this right. It has to be real wood, folks. Not laminate, not MDF, not Styrofoam beams, as convincing as they may look. But even a slab of Sequoia won’t get you far if you don’t knock properly. According to the History channel website, “Turkish people often pull on one earlobe and knock on wood twice to ward off a jinx.” BBC News reports that Turkey’s population of 83 million has suffered a relatively low number of COVID-19 cases. A virologist told the BBC that “Turkey fits the category of several countries that responded fairly quickly with testing, tracing, isolation and movement restrictions,” but the virologist failed to note the elongated earlobes on one side of Turkish heads.
- Never make a toast with water in your glass. The ancient Greeks came up with this important medical insight, and you’d be wise to heed it. Stick to beer, wine, even fruit juice. And don’t toast with those beverages inside a packed bar.
- Don’t walk under a ladder. C’mon, people. What are you thinking?
- Try to avoid spilling salt, you klutz. But in the event that some sodium chloride escapes your grasp, you can correct your mistake by intentionally throwing a sprinkle of salt over your left shoulder — remember, that’s where the devil is hanging out. Clean up all the salt.
- Wash your hands frequently. Outside your home, wear a mask and practice social distancing.
Note: The first five practices will not protect you unless you practice Step #6.
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