Nobody Asked Me But: ‘Big Soap’ and other COVID conspiracy theories

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Well, la dee da. All this self-imposed isolation and social distancing, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, has given me oodles of time for self-or-other-reflection.

Going into the fourth month of voluntary quarantine, I find my mind tunnelling into uncharted and imaginary territory, which, not that long ago, would have possibly been dismissed with a shake of the head and a roll of the eyes. The fertile ground upon which the seeds of my unfettered brain have settled is none other than the realm of conspiracy theories.

Oh sure, the world is full of these theoretical concoctions on how and where the virus began (or did not begin if you believe the conspiracy that it’s all a hoax). You’ve probably been bombarded, through news services and social media, with claims that it is being caused by the new 5G technology, or that Bill Gates already has the patent on the vaccine and is just waiting for the right moment to maximize his profits.

Knowing President Donald Trump’s recent history, who would not put it past him to have sold off his hotel and golf course empires, as the conspiracy theory goes, and invested everything in toilet paper? Not to be outdone, we also have the Americans and Chinese pointing fingers at each other and claiming that “you started it!” with biological warfare weapons that have escaped from secret labs.

However, nowhere on this planet are conspiracies likelier to be born and nurtured than right here on this little island we call Salt Spring. What we are sitting on is a veritable Salish Sea Petri dish for culturing exotic conspiracy theories.

Speaking of pointing fingers, here on Salt Spring there exist conspiracies linking two of the regular warring factions with the pandemic. In both cases, however, the theories claim that there is no health hazard and that the pandemic scare has been created to further each faction’s ends. On the one hand, word has it that the whole kerfuffle has been started by a ragtag alliance of “drawbridge NIMBYers” to scare away tourists, development and commercial progress. Countering this is the theory that the culprits who are at the bottom of the public panic are the usual suspects of island developers and municipality incorporators. The strategy behind this thought is that the kibosh on tourism will starve out all the cottage industry NIMBYers and will eventually force them to move off island. Ultimately, this will leave Salt Spring open for “free-for-all” growth.

One of the “go-to” conspiracies is that the virus has spread all over the island but the health authorities are keeping it under cover to quell any public panic. Another collusion plot has people believing that the virus has never even come to the island but the local government is using this ruse to control us and limit our movement, all the while plotting to have the potholes filled and the road lines painted while the roads are empty.

Pushing the frontier of belief even further is the one that claims the virus is a deliberate attempt by the ruling class to effectively “cull the herd” by eliminating the very old, weak and infirm. This would save huge amounts of tax money spent on health care and old age pensions as well as open up more housing possibilities for the young, virile tech-savvy kindred who want to live a quieter and richer life more geared to their personal goals, such as exporting Salt Spring knickknacks all over the world.

Of course, leading the COVID-19 conspiracy theory race is that old dependable notion that the pandemic has been inflicted upon us by alien beings from a faraway galaxy or distant dimension. Apparently, these intruders from deep space have grown bored of abducting humans and transporting them up to their mothership flying saucers where they can probe our brains to find if there are any signs of intelligent life. Not finding any, it is no longer cost-effective to beam earthlings up and down in order to conduct neurological experiments on them. Why not just eliminate the whole kit and caboodle of them in one fell swoop? 

That’s right, those little elliptical-eyed critters from outer space are up to their eight little elbows in spreading the virus, which they hope will extinguish the human species and thereby leave them a planet ready for new occupants. Some even believe that the coronavirus is an alien life form itself which has travelled trillions of light years at the speed of light before finally catching the ferry over to Salt Spring.

A side shoot of the extraterrestrial conspiracy is that aliens have infiltrated human society and lived among us for decades and that the COVID-19 pandemic is just a ruse schemed up by global paranormal scientists. What the virus testing is actually looking for is alien genetic material in the test subject’s DNA. This will give authorities some idea of who these aliens are and how many of them are already here on the planet. Of course, anyone living on Salt Spring who has ever taken in a Saturday market already knows not only that aliens are living right here among us but are pretty good at creating and marketing gadgets such as beer bottle cap wind chimes and essential oil chain lube.

We’ve only touched the tip of the iceberg when it comes to discussing and analyzing the various COVID-19 conspiracy theories on the island. One of these garnering a great deal of support is the suspicion that the whole scare is being fuelled by Big Soap, a huge conglomerate of small, independent hand-cleanser makers who are behind the notion that everyone should wash their hands carefully 137 times a day. Others put the blame on everything from imported coffee beans, stimulant beverages and itinerant lamb fleecers.

Nobody asked me, but it’s easy to see that Salt Spring is rife with a pandemic-load of theories on how, where and why we have been afflicted (or not) by the current plague. No matter which conspiracy you happen to subscribe to personally, just make sure that you enlist at least 10 other believers in your conspiracy bubble to make it official. Then you’d better go wash your hands.

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