One of my favorite funny women writers, Laurie Notaro, wondered aloud on Facebook recently if there’s really a job that pays money for naming viruses and, if so, she wanted to apply and perhaps even rename Omicron “Nikki C., in honor of the worst boss I ever had.”
Amen, sister. I don’t know Nikki C. or where on the doll she hurt ya, but I can get behind revenge plague naming. And now that the World Health Organization (Motto: “WHO, me? Get it?”) has admitted it’s running out of Greek alphabet names, maybe it’s time to get a little more creative.
Here’s an idea: Perhaps WHO should recruit WHOever comes up with the fabulous names for all those OPI nail polishes.
Guilt Under the Kilt. Alpaca My Bags. Don’t Bossa Nova Me. Bastille My Heart. Is Mai Tai Crooked? The last two, it should be noted, have been discontinued to which I say those were very cool names so maybe You Succulent At This. See how easy? Not exactly rocket surgery, am I right?
While I’m partial to “Miami Beet,” like paint colors and viruses, sometimes the name is just a name. “Goes perfectly with a hot Miami sunset” is OPI’s description of my fave shade but, out here in Real Worldsville, I find it goes just as well with “serving up the Green Bean Casserole at Thanksgiving while your relatives quietly condemn you for using plastic wine glasses.”
But getting back to naming diseases that could kill us all, apparently WHO is just about out of Greek alphabet letters for Covid variants. If you’re wondering how come, it’s partly because there were a bunch of variants (looking at you, Iota, Eta, Theta…) that mercifully fizzled out early.
While the “Washington Post” pithily reported “The world is getting a lesson in Greek, one unpleasant Coronavirus at a time,” many of the letters were dismissed outright because they were unpronounceable by the human tongue. Or they were a popular surname (“Xi.”)
Whatever. I take comfort there are only nine—NINE!- Greek alphabet letters left for virus variant labeling. Which means, I’m pretty sure, after they are all used up, we should all be completely safe! No more letters, no more variants, right?
Of course not. That’s ridiculous. But not quite as ridiculous as the movement to name future variants after Greek Gods. Imagine variants Deimos and Phobos, the gods of panic and terror or Moros, the god of doom. Pass.
The WHO appears to be flailing on this name game but let’s hope it ignores one “Post” reader’s suggestion to “use the names of ’70s porn stars.” Although that does represent the kind of can-do, think outside the plague attitude we could all use right about now.
Perhaps the WHO should go the old-school hurricane-naming route and use popular first names.
It would be weird to have somber faced epidemiologists reporting on the latest strain of “Chad” or “Beverly” and there would have to be an agreement the “Karens, “Brandons” and “Alexas” have all been through enough, but it might make things seem a bit lighter.
We could start with Southern names. No one wants to die of “Gator” or “Darlene,” but at least they sound less ominous. Also, it would prevent possible triggering of past and present members of fraternities and sororities, whose only memory of the Greek alphabet involved having to recite it twice while holding a burning matchstick. Or so I’ve been told.
In any case, WHO should give Laurie Notaro a call. She has volunteered for Tribute and I suspect, like all of us who believe there’s no such thing as a joke that goes too far (RIP, profanely hilarious Bob Saget), she probably has a lengthy list of enemies.
If not, there’s always the ’70s porn star idea. Who wouldn’t like saying: “Nah, I can’t go to work this week…I’m in bed with Long Dong Silver.”