In theory, we’re all in this global pandemic together. Unified, helpful, filled with generosity and co-operative spirit.
In practice, it’s a jungle out there.
The coronavirus has brought out the good in some, but also unleashed more beastly aspects in others. There’s a bevy of ferocious creatures on the prowl — biting, scratching, and constantly offering ill-considered opinions, even when you beg them not to.
The Tyee has assembled some of the more common species that have emerged during the pandemic.
You may have already encountered a few of these at the park or in the grocery store. Sometimes it’s best to approach with caution, use a soft voice and a gentle manner.
Other times, just turn tail and run for your life.
The Common Karen
Often observed in urban settings, Karens flock together, demanding to speak to the manager, calling the cops and pooping on everyone’s heads when they don’t get what they want.
They are easily startled by the word “no,” which brings on fits of flapping rage followed by self-indulgent weepiness.
Distinguishing characteristics: Asymmetrical haircuts, a taste for boxed chardonnay, and a tendency to peck at things.
Habitat: Everywhere at the moment, it seems.
The Passive Aggressive Octopus
These eight-armed cephalopods are prone to sneaking up behind you in the grocery store and reaching over your shoulder to grab the last can of mixed beans.
Although they may appear benign at first, if you take too many packages of toilet paper, expect to be squirted with ink, if not strangled by tentacles.
Distinguishing characteristics: A passive-aggressive attitude, with a tendency towards faux apologies along the likes of “Oh, were you shopping here too?” Despite a soft and somewhat pliable demeanour, they possess a sharp beak-like mouth that can cause serious damage.
Habitat: Often seen browsing at grocery stores, farmers markets and pharmacies where they blend in with the atmosphere. Easy to overlook until it’s too late, and then it’s impossible to extricate that precious can of beans from their powerful grasp.
The Great Canadian Crank Bison
A cousin to the American MAGA Buffalo, the bison is also a staunch, nay obdurate defender of individual liberty.
This large bullish creature refuses to wear a mask in public, constantly snorting “It’s a free country!” before plowing down the wrong aisle at the liquor store, barreling through people and spraying droplets willy-nilly.
Distinguishing characteristics: Permanently banned from Costco. Often runs off cliffs.
Habitat: Tailgate parties, monster truck events and prepper weekends. Also found on BC Ferries.
The Large Mouth Celebrity Bass
When celebrity basses open their big mouths all manner of things come out, including agonizing renditions of pop songs or endless complaints about the fact that a global pandemic has wrecked their concert tour, film release or fashion event.
Closely related to the Political Puffer Fish, who also think the rules of society only apply to common folk.
Distinguishing characteristics: When starved for attention, basses often resort to deeply strange behaviours like racist diatribes or oblivious statements such as “The pandemic is a great equalizer,” made whilst sitting in an enormous gilded aquarium complete with maid service, private massage and a celebrity chef.
Habitat: Mounted, stuffed and hung in ornate settings, these piscine types still like to opine, or worse, preach about the triumph of the human spirit, while they yell at the housekeeper for forgetting to buy gold-flaked fish food.
The Hater Hornets
Aggression, random attacks and general negativity are on the rise, but no one quite tops the murder hornets for sheer rage.
Anything can set them off — traffic, bike lanes, long lineups and being asked politely to stop stinging people. Also, bees. They really hate bees.
Distinguishing characteristics: Despite their natty black-and-orange exteriors, these hornets are known for their inner nastiness. Large mandibles, an outsized stinger, and a poisonous nature make for a serious threat. Avoid at all costs. If you see them coming, run like hell!
Habitat: Spreading rapidly.
The Conspiracy Penguin
This species of penguin is prone to talking non-stop about his connections and things that he heard from his uncle’s cousin’s girlfriend’s dogwalker who knows someone at the CDC.
Distinguishing characteristics: Claims to have insider knowledge on fighting the virus, like eating raw fish and aiming a blow dryer down one’s gullet. If you are trapped with a penguin, the best thing to do is remain silent, do not engage and never try to use facts or reason to refute the stuff that his high school buddy posted on Facebook. When confronted with differing ideas, penguins have a tendency to swing their flightless wings and squeak.
Habitat: Often frequent public spaces like cafés, bars, street corners and transit.
The Anti-Vaxxer Giraffes
Similar to the penguin, these creatures are prone to repeating everything they hear on the internet, like the idea that Bill Gates is planning to microchip everyone with his vaccine so that he can track their weekly trips to Lululemon.
Giraffes are vehemently anti-vaccination, and also think chem trails are a thing. They may look unthreatening, but a herd can easily stampede the unwary into reddish jelly.
Distinguishing characteristics: Hang out in groups and clunk their heads together, often seen with flocks of Karens who like to groom the giraffes and pick bugs out of their hair.
Habitat: Baby spas, Starbucks.
The Protest Dodos
Pity these poor creatures. Although they have a reputation for self-destructive behaviour, they’re easily influenced by the giraffes, penguins and bison.
Protest dodos are most often seen wandering down the middle of the street, carrying homemade signs that are frequently misspelled and chanting nonsensical rhymes.
Distinguishing characteristics: Addled by the increasing amount of information about the state of the world, dodos tend to retreat to the easiest and least demanding definitions and explanations. Often exploited by more nefarious types, the dodos willingly participate in activities that will ultimately harm their chances of survival.
Habitat: Once plentiful everywhere, this species is now headed toward extinction.
Read more: Coronavirus