Robert Kirby: Toot Boot will get to the bottom of this pandemic

Robert Kirby

Gov. Gary Herbert and I have known each other for more than 30 years. He was a Utah County commissioner during the time I was a cop in Utah County.

It would be more accurate to say that Gary and I have known about each other for that amount of time. I mean, hey, we don’t exactly travel in the same circles.

It would be hard to find more vastly different personalities. The governor is a Republican, and I’m unaffiliated. He’s hardworking, responsible, smart, and I’m … not.

Despite these differences, I agreed with all of the emergency mandates the governor announced Sunday. However, I don’t think they go far enough. There’s no mention of “summary execution” measures for enforcement.

If we are going to get a handle on a pandemic threatening to rage out of control, we need to think in new ways. That’s where I enter.

Watching the governor talk about masks, it occurred to me that human beings exhale from both ends.

Eh? Never thought of that before, have you? It’s entirely possible that the coronavirus is being spread via measures other than bad breath and unsanitary hands. In short, flatus.

Known by less seemly terms such as backfire, poot, nose closer, cut the cheese, ham honk and gopher burp, we are nonetheless talking about a legitimate threat to public health in these dire times — the expelling of intestinal gas.

I bring this up because it’s only a matter of time before the behavior of all these anti-maskers drives the number of COVID-19 deaths to a point that we are all forced to wear diapers in public.

Not actual diapers, mind you. That could get expensive, not to mention cumbersome. I had in mind a more scaled-down version of my own invention, which I plan to market as the Toot Boot.

The Toot Boot will be paper underpants that prevent the virus escaping from your bottom and into the lungs of some unfortunate who thought that the only threat was the odor.

Lest you think I’m being completely childish here, consider the recent behavior of people when asked to wear a mask or vote for a president without resorting to violence. I’m being mature in retrospect.

Besides, there have been worse cures and treatments for other horrible things. For centuries, people (including medical professionals) thought that everything from a common cold to the plague could be cured by bloodletting.

Considering the “smarts” demonstrated by some people during the current pandemic, there may be those who believe that bloodletting remains a legitimate cure for becoming infected. You won’t find any hospitals allowing such a procedure. You might have to go to a bar instead and say something uncomplimentary to the largest person there.

Long ago, chipping holes in people’s skulls, ingesting mercury and tying a dead rat to one’s face were well-known cures that caught on for a time but didn’t actually work.

Any remedy or prevention measure is bound to have its detractors, and I fully expect resistance to the mandatory wearing of the Toot Boot.

The flip side to this would not only be a healthier public but also a more humble one. Consider the embarrassment of showing up on YouTube while trying to squeeze into a Toot Boot before Walmart lets you shop.

Robert Kirby is The Salt Lake Tribune’s humor columnist. Follow Kirby on Facebook.