COVIDtown Crier: April 29, 2020

“Why are they publishing this Crier rubbish?” you may be asking. We certainly are. The rest of this edition of Mountain Xpress can’t help but show the tough times WNC is facing. Here’s one little spot in the paper where we offer a bit of levity, to possibly brighten someone’s day, poking a bit of fun at the outrageousness of it all.

Make a wish

Since receiving broad emergency powers by Asheville City Council on March 24, Mayor Esther Manheimer has been using her newfound authority solely for good. Thanks to advice from the Jedi Council, Wizengamot, United Federation of Planets and Minas Tirith, she’s implemented numerous beneficial activities deemed “reasonably necessary to maintain order and protect lives or property” during the COVID-19 state of emergency. A few of her contributions to the city are listed below, complete with mayoral commentary:

  • Accelerate production of Highland Brewing Co.’s Cold Mountain Winter Ale (“Priorities, people!”)
  • Bring back the Asheville Smoke hockey team (“In SEGA Genesis form — for now”).
  • Turn City Council meetings into episodes of “The Gong Show” (“For increased efficiency … and entertainment”).
  • Get Davaion “Spaceman Jones” Bristol into NASA (“Long time coming, frankly”).
  • Put a copy of the classic early ’90s board game Dream Phone in every Asheville teen and tween girl’s home (“So Dan can be your man, too!”).
  • Acquire rare first edition NordicTrack, autographed by legendary spokesman Tony Horton (“These arms aren’t going to tone themselves”).
  • Fund a VR Bele Chere experience (“The Ultimate Air Dogs, the religious protesters, the inappropriate clothing — it’s like it never left!”).
  • Give the Biltmore Estate back to the people (“I might need to check my history on this one, but what the heck?”).

Mr. Viral Manners

The Crier is pleased to introduce an advice column for human interaction in a time of social distancing. Your questions [Editor’s note: not really] have been flowing in, along with a massive positive response to this fine subtweet of a newspaper in general [Editor’s note: absolutely false]. 

We called on the most judgmental member of our staff, Haywood Djaquiddit [Editor’s note: not a real person], to don the mantle of Mr. Manners and hold forth on what is and isn’t appropriate during rare social interactions these days. Send in your queries about life under Stay Home, Stay Safe orders, and he’ll get to the bottom of them right away! [Editor’s note: yeah, please don’t do that. This has already gone far enough.]

Dear Mr. Viral Manners,

I recently took a trip to the hardware store for some essential grill tools and a $500 cooler. I paused to look at a display of As Seen on TV products. Just as I turned to resume my browsing, a fellow shopper came barging down my aisle in the opposite direction. Without hesitating, he brushed past me, forcing me to step back to avoid a collision. “Watch out,” he growled. I headed off to find a manager, only then noticing that I had been the one going in the wrong direction, according to the floor arrows. I knew I had done wrong, but I felt he had, too. Who was right here?

— Putting the A-hole in Ace

Dear Ace-hole,

The person with the right of way is always the person with the most PPE. If the person in question was wearing a mask, gloves and safety glasses, you should have turned on a dime and backtracked. However, if you were sporting a face shield and surgical shoe booties, he should have tipped his shower cap and stepped aside.

Stay safety,

Mr. Viral Manners


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