On Wednesday, President Trump addressed the nation from the Oval Office. The eleven-minute speech, haltingly read from a teleprompter as if he was totally unfamiliar with the content and, to a lesser degree, the English language, is being referred to in the media as Trump’s “End of Days” homily. The sermon was intended to allay fears and concerns over the evolving COVID-19 pandemic, but had quite a different effect in the US and overseas.
Before Trump was halfway through his deliverance, Asian financial markets were plummeting like an Acapulco cliff diver, while someone using the moniker “GODD” was communicating simultaneously on global social media platforms to issue an edict, “ Now that the rapture is upon ye, know that ye shall not be welcome into my heavenly kingdom with a fouled ass or an unquenched thirst and I don’t mean donkey, you moron!”
Before Trump concluded, chaos had erupted in the streets, and supermarkets across the country were flooded with frenzied shoppers seeking admission through the pearly gates. Little old ladies with walkers were feverishly mowing down children like crabgrass, attempting to grab the last (96) roll package of single-ply toilet paper, while other shoppers were engaging in hand-to-hand combat for the remaining supplies of Perrier and Ozarka. In the feminine hygiene department, there was a mad dash for the last vestiges of the Serenity Ultra-Thin Unbelievably Absorbent Pads w/o Wings to be used as masks, while in the infant department, the furious rush for Newborn Super Absorbent Diapers looked like the bloodbath at Gallipoli. The garden section resembled a medieval jousting event, as contestants parried one another with telescoping swimming pool poles to be used to maintain a safe social distance, should they survive beyond the checkout counter.
This is not to say everyone in America went bonkers simultaneously; some were contemplative and pragmatic. These people were considering the possibility the “end is nigh” might not be the case, and were simply focused on stockpiling non-perishables, only to discover even the cavatappi and radiatori was stripped clean from the pasta shelves as if swept away in a tsunami. Undeterred by the madness, the lucid were able to secure a fortnight's worth of Vienna Sausage and Braunschweiger – not exactly the last supper of a dead man walking facing execution in three hours, but a substantial leap from tree bark - in times of great peril, the origins of an edible product is no longer relevant. The few educated, but skeptical doomsdayers headed for the pharmacy, filling their baskets with bottles of hydrogen peroxide, knowing that it oxidizes into water in a short period of exposure to air.
All-in-all, the TV President had inadvertently scripted a disaster movie of biblical proportion from sea to shining sea. Unlike presidents from previous periods of calamity, when meatless Sundays, victory gardens, rationing, and collective support for one another were encouraged as patriotic, Trump inspired Americans in his own image – ME First!