In new guidance released today, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus took the unusual step of telling the anxious residents of planet Earth to limit their many apprehensions and concerns to only those that are immediately essential.
“My dear friends,” Tedros said, pushing aside his file of detailed notes, graphs and crunched number about the trends and progression of the virulent threat that we are all currently combating.
“Yes, there are many causes for concern at the moment. You have every right to be worried, and frankly if you weren’t I would either question your sanity, or assume you were the president of the United States.”
“But,” he added, looking around the room at the carefully spaced reporters, spread out like chess pieces in a game that has been mostly about hard sacrifices and long silences, “We would also recommend at this time that everyone, everywhere, limit their worries to just the absolute essentials for a period of at least 14 days. And in any case, not spend more than 1-2 hours per day concerning themselves with even those. For God’s sake sleep people. The future’s coming whether you obsess over the specific twists in its vast tail, or not. And you might as well be well-rested.”
The director-general then provided a number of examples of concerns that would fall into the essential worry category.
“If your children have begun listening to you. If the music dies. If, as you prepare to attempt a pole vault, a knight with a horse and a lance appears at the far end of the run-up. Should your dog begin speaking to you. Or should your cat stop speaking to you. These are the sorts of things that are essential reasons to worry.”
Responding to a reporter’s question, Tedros said there weren’t enough seconds left in this millennium to list the non-essential reasons to worry. But he added that to help clarify, a comprehensive list of all of the obsessive troubles people should stop pre-supposing, would be posted on the WHO website,
“I do know, better than most, that there are as many reasons to be apprehensive right now as there are self-declared epidemiologists on Facebook,” Tedros concluded, at the end of the press conference.
“But worrying about the future, even now, isn’t going to improve it; and will destroy your present more effectively, and more perniciously, than any virus ever could. Also, please don’t go pole vaulting right now. That isn’t essential either.”