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Got Covid? Check Your Chakras

A hard shot of COVID19 would be a shock to our system but not in the way medical experts think.

Mendocino County is different, weirder and harder to figure. Assuming locals will respond to a deadly pandemic the same way they respond in Bakersfield, Bloomington or Baltimore is probably wrong.

Mendocino County has so many nutbags, untamed hippies and self-appointed healers there’s no need to worry about overwhelmed emergency rooms. Few of the stricken who reside in Albion, Greenfield, or the backwoods of McNab Ranch will be seeking treatment at a hospital. 

It’s not that they march to the beat of a different drummer. Instead, they believe the drummer himself is an agent of global elites scheming to inoculate them and their children and force everybody to eat contrails. 

Mendocino County is where marginal thinkers are the norm and fringe beliefs are woven into the fabric of our laws and culture. A tapestry of Mendocino County would display a mottled jumble of slogans (“No Nukes!” “Peace Now!”) plus day-glo images embroidered in patterns promising a utopian future, with extra rainbows. 

This is home to paranoiacs wearing homemade tinfoil helmets to ward off zaps of health-depleting poisonous radiation from cell phone towers. It’s where GMOs are banned by county-wide vote, and where fracking for oil is illegal because drilling might contaminate the soil, cause earthquakes and bring icky Texans to town.

Given all this, is it probable that sickly people from the hollers of Laytonville will line up for beds at Ukiah’s Adventist Hospital? Does anyone think New Agers will spend three weeks in brightly lit rooms breathing into ventilators and eating meals of instant potatoes, canned peas and fried animal flesh on a plastic tray? With plastic spoons and forks?

Not likely. Not if I know the frantic folks who crowd the aisles of the Ukiah Co-op in search of magic potions and exotic foods to bring them more vigor, less fatigue and random acts of kindness. It’s gluten-free this, lactose-free that, and anything with biotenes even if none know a biotene from a guillotine. 

They watch their carbs as closely as they watch MSNBC, and believe consuming a bale of kale is a powerful inoculation against the stresses and burdens of 21st century life.

They once read in Mother Earth News that smoking a cigarette is more dangerous than playing Russian Roulette with a loaded .45 and that vaping is a dangerous novelty to be banned first and analyzed later. Trust me, these people won’t be driving 50 miles to the fairgrounds to be tested for diseases. Or 50 feet.

Mendocino County is where alternative lifestyles are hatched and practiced. Confronted with a medical malady, whether real or imagined (a positive COVID test or a gloomy aura/chakra reading) will have them hurrying off to holistic sorcerers offering cures guaranteed to put even the healthiest of them into early graves. 

In short, we needn’t fret a plague will bring staggering swarms to our emergency rooms. Many a Mendodo believes nonsense based on superstitions mingled with bits of astrology, karma, reincarnation and teachings of the ancient Aztecs. They exist in numbers sufficient to siphon huge percentages away from hospitals and into the arms of dietary gurus and incense-sniffing wankers wearing Birkenstocks. 

Those with defective reasoning powers who feel the chilly winds of illness ruffling their nightmares will do what they’ve always done: consult a dreamy healer offering vague reassurances and the same herbal remedies she recommends for toothaches and cervical cancer.

Do not dismiss these frauds and quacks. They provide valuable services to the rest of us, beginning with lots more ER beds available for patients unburdened by faith in cures through guided meditation or St. John’s Wort.

And frankly, who cares if those with inflamed sacroiliacs, rebellious bowels or COVID19 seek out moonbeams and yoga studios for relief? Let’s encourage the credulous to visualize wellness, adopt a cleansing diet rich in biotenes and continue blazing new trails in holistic remedies. Remember, it frees up a bed for someone’s grandmother.

Tarot card readers, clairvoyants and cannabis practitioners should be enlisted to care for any and all seeking help. Specialists in these and other dubious doctrines will cull the dim-witted at a faster clip than even the Grim Reaper might have imagined. Where’s the harm?

Our health-obsessed neighbors won’t be tricked into inoculations at a clinic. I’ve heard many declare that “doctors only treat symptoms, not the whole body” which means next time you sprain an ankle you should also submit to spinal probings, analysis of your pancreatic functions, a colonoscopy and a psychiatrist. 

Excellent thinking. We should all applaud. During a pandemic, where medical resources are stretched, clinics are crowded and inoculations rationed, we ought to salute those who decline entering a hospital, but bravely take an alternate route and get run over by a bus.

(Tom Hine offers healing words and soothing balms through TWK, his nom de plume, a French phrase suggesting a prune-based dessert with a feather stuck in it.)


  1. MendoMama January 19, 2021

    Who hurt you?

  2. Greenfield Joe January 19, 2021

    Wow Kramer, haven’t heard so much hate and ill feeling dished out since the last Trump rally I watched in TV. I live in one of those areas you mentioned and it let me realized you are very out of touch with the people your talking about.

    If you did you would know that some of your so called hippies who moved into these hills have passed on. Others continue to live a peaceful existence and have been the keystone to art, music and alternative energy use in Mendocino. An maybe that lifestyle which the do from home farms and businesses has kept them safe from exposure to COVID-19 so they don’t need to go to the hospitals.

    Then there are the second and third generation people from those areas that go to work each day. The are teachers, hospital employees at all levels, they work in government, own stores and restaurants, they have served in the military, contractors and inventors. They are embedded into every part of the fabric that makes up the unique demographic society Mendocino County.

    An guess what Kramer, the majority of them have chosen to be tested for Covid-19. They follow the guidelines of keeping themselves and those around them safe from exposure by wearing a mask. An I also saw them getting vaccinated at UVMC.

    So I’m sorry you feel so negative about us who live in the hills and backcountry of Mendocino. But then maybe it’s because we push people away who attack others simply because their different.

  3. Bruce McEwen January 19, 2021

    Hey TWK, is it just me or have people become so unutterably humorless that not only can they not take a joke, they cannot even recognize one?

    These two commenters — the first, a drama queen of the first magnitude; the second, a man so furious he couldn’t even take a moment to proof-read his screed — remind me of that stern old matron who has taken over the New Yorker and turned it into such a grim no-nonsense magazine that even the so-called “humor issue” of two weeks ago was so profoundly dull I could scarcely even read the Calvin Trillin piece.

    What is it, TWK, what force, or continuum of sources, is it that has drained every scrap of humor out of modern publications? All the great wits who once wrote satiric columns, like Art Buchwald, Mike Royko, and Dave Berry, have all gone under the sod, but why have editorial cartoons been done away with, as well. Who were they hurting?

    Come on, old man, give me a hint — I’m not asking for scintillating wit, trenchant irony, coruscating satire, only the occasional pun or gag will do in a pinch like this. Why can’t these small bits of joy and glee be tolerated anymore?

    • Bruce McEwen January 19, 2021

      Perhaps in your next column you could answer my query and use this haiku as a working title:

      a continuum
      of vacuums sucking the humor
      out of Ukiah

      If Mother Nature doesn’t find that abhorrent, she must be daft.

    • Marmon January 19, 2021

      satiric ?

    • MendoMama January 19, 2021

      My Irish wit seems to have failed me. TWK’s “humor” is so elusive as to not be detectable. Self-deprecating humor, on the other hand, is always welcome, and especially in 2021. TWK is certainly not so bereft of comedic material that all he has at his disposal is to launch a witless attack against members of his community who include retired intellectuals, musicians, and artists.

      I’ve never been called a drama queen of any magnitude. Thanks. ;)

      • Bruce McEwen January 19, 2021

        If that’s really you posing so coyly behind those MendoMama blushes and batting false eyelashes, Tommy, my boy, then you are truly an artist in the full Frenchified sense — that is, that you have so completely concealed your art, that you can’t even detect it yourself!

  4. Bruce McEwen January 19, 2021

    I used to work on a ranch in Wyoming (I took the job to advance my late sheepdog’s career, like some other libs will move to hellholes like Ukiah to advance their wife’s career) and the redneck we worked for, my dog and me, he set the radio in the tractor to the local Rush Limbaugh channel, turned the volume all the way up, and used his rifle butt to smash the knobs off so the station could never changed; neither could I turn it down or off, but I recall these guys — libs like me — would often call in to the studio and deliver a screed like Greenleaf Joe’s comment posted above, and they would invariably end in a flabbergasted splutter as Rush chuckled. And, well, I’m a credulous kind of guy, but after a while I began to wonder if these so-called call-ins weren’t actually being staged by that crafty old fart, Rush himself?

    I mention the anecdote, because I begin to wonder if maybe you, too, are posing as these faux-anon commenters, and writing these comments yourself, you sly old dog!

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