By Gary Dickson, Reporter Who is Non-Symptomatic of Coronavirus So Far
A couple of West River legislators were standing on the South Dakota State Capitol Building front steps Friday morning. They were surreptitiously sucking on cigarettes and gazing toward a small patch of the southern horizon visible through the bare trees and buildings of the seat of the government’s campus.
“Well, we did it, didn’t we,” one lawmaker said proudly.
“Yup,” the other legislator said.
They were referring to the speed limits in the Great State of South Dakota. The august body of lawmakers – Democrats and Republicans alike – had agreed in a closed-door meeting to Governor Krispie Gnome’s last-minute request to have a special session immediately after they consider her vetoes at the end of the month. During the meeting, they all were of the same mind that they would pass a law raising the speed limit on all non-interstate roads by 15 mph. The two interstates, 90 and 29, will stay at 80 mph. School zones will be eliminated until further notice. They will increase to whatever speed limit plus 15 mph was on the street or highway preceding the zone.
“This law is purposely directed toward helping to mitigate the effects of the coronavirus on the good people of South Dakota,” Gnome said to a group of reporters just after the meeting. “The CDC and WHO both recommend folks take preventative measures like social distancing as a way to avoid contact with others who might possibly be already infected with the virus.”
The governor, a clear-eyed woman from Hamlin County, said she figured there was no better way of helping people to socially distance themselves than to be able to drive faster to get away from others. And in the case of the two interstates – a whole lot faster! She also said it didn’t bother much that school zone speed limits would be eliminated. Gnome said she thought the lives saved through social distancing would be far more than the number of children who would be injured or killed by speeding cars near schools. All in all, it was a good trade-off for citizens to get some peace of mind, she said.
“Of course, here in South Dakota, we’ve got this coronavirus thingy pretty much under control,” Gnome said peering out from the bottom rim of her hat. “And I think the good folks of the Rushmore State will be supportive of the change. I mean, can you imagine blowing down a good gravel road that you only used to be able to go 55 on, at 70 M-P-H? You pull up into the driveway, slinging gravel and dirt all around, charge into the house with a case of Bud under your arm, and yell, ‘Hello honey! Let’s quarantine for the weekend!’ Wow, it gives me shivers just thinking about it. Brrrrrrrr!”
A reporter from a Rapid City TV station asked if the Governor wasn’t confused about what the term “social distancing” actually meant, that it referred to keeping something like 6 feet away from others so if they coughed or sneezed you wouldn’t likely get any residue on yourself.
Gnome stared at the woman for about 10 seconds, then let out a squeaky laugh.
“Of course, I’m not confused, young lady,” Gnome said. “I think you’ve been listening to too much of that CNN liberal baloney! The CDC and other organizations like The Who, KKK, John Birch Society, and the Reformed Church of Groveling Agony all suggest we put 6 miles between us and the non-believers.”
The governor said she had one more thing to announce, calling it totally unprecedented in the land of jackalopes and John Thune lemurs. Gnome said she had given the go-ahead for the State Health Department to begin sending out build-it-yourself coronavirus test kits. While she didn’t actually have one for the assembled media mavens to inspect, she had her daughter put up a picture of one on her laptop computer so they could see what they looked like.
“These look like chemistry sets!” the reporter from the Hayes Honker said. “How are people going to build a test kit from these things, Governor?”
“We’ll be sending out instructions in a week or two,” Gnome responded. “Just as soon as the Department of Health or Game, Fish, and Parks or Transportation Department engineers come up with a usable design. And we always encourage the kit recipients to do some experimentation on their children or siblings. Maybe they’ll come up with something, too. Wouldn’t that be wonderful?”
The Governor said the kits were purchased from “some scientific products company” and from various vendors on Amazon. The state initially purchased 500 kits at a discounted price of $25 each.
“We’re going to charge our good folks here in South Dakota $50 for a kit,” she said. “I know, that sounds a bit high . . . and it’s double the price we paid for them originally. But, so what? Where are you going to get tested, huh? Trump and Pence might get you one next year. And the state’s got to re-coop their investment plus earn some money to buy more of these things. After all, citizens in this state don’t want a state income tax, nosiree. And Citibank ain’t gonna give us a grant to buy them, either. So, there you go.”
Gnome said the kits will be sent to purchasers through the mail. She said people can contact her or someone in state government if they have any questions by calling 1-605-773-3212.
[By the way, this is Fake News! It’s satire. It’s proof I am an amusement to myself. And don’t call (605) 773-3212 unless you really want to talk to Gov. Krispie Gnome, a staff member or a custodian. But if you’re really bored, then, by all means, give the Guv a ring and ask her about her reign as Northern’s Snow Queen.]