by Geoff Olson

A Vancouver yoga studio recently declared it’s space a Trump-free zone. Julie Peters, owner of Ocean and Crow Yoga, posted a sign that reads, “If possible, please avoid talking about the news while in the studio. Discussing feelings and reactions is fine, but please avoid talking about new information or details.”

“If you want to bring something up with someone, ask permission first. Be aware of who you may be accidentally including in our small space,” the sign continues.
Peters told the CBC she has a case of “Trumpitis” from reading news of the man’s misadventures, resulting in “nausea and heart palpitations.”

I can sympathize. I caught the brain virus on July 16, 2015, the day the citrus-skinned conman announced his presidential candidacy. From then on, I’ve been unhealthily but understandably obsessed with him and his minions.

I work in the media after all. As a cartoonist, I’ve been inflamed by the comic possibilities, laughing all the way to the drafting table. But no way could a former reality TV star beat the other Republican nominees, I figured.

Then it happened. He won the ticket.

The schoolyard bully’s first victory took me from stage 1 to stage 3 illness. People who love me – friends and family who might have gathered for an intervention –  were also now infected by Trumpitis. They couldn’t shut up about him either.

But we all knew we’d recover soon, didn’t we? By November 8 it would be all over for the self-branded shyster. Warmonger Hillary would pluck the big brass ring from the executive branch and her opponent would shuffle back to Mar-a-Lago with his trophy family and truth-trashing sycophants – just like The New York Times and all the other serious media outlets told us, after giving the man free campaign advertising through endless analysis. We’d return to talking about the weather and the Kardashians.

Then it happened. He won the election.

I felt like the character Arthur Dent in The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, after he learns that the Earth is about to be demolished for a hyperspace expressway. The tag line of the comic sci-fi trilogy is “Don’t Panic.” But now seemed to be an excellent time for panicking.

Months earlier, Trumpitis had infected every TV channel, Twitter feed, newspaper outlet, and piehole. But surely the outbreak source wouldn’t make it to the actual inauguration, what with sexual harassment claims and dozens of active lawsuits against him. Trump would be indicted before he had a chance to swear on a copy of Art of the Deal. Or slip on a CIA-poisoned banana peel.

Then it happened. He was sworn in.

Watching the televised train-wreck commence on January 20th, I felt like Arthur Dent when he learns that the Earth is actually a giant computer designed by mice.
The frenemy of Obama and Omarosa stood across from Supreme Court Justice Roberts, who somehow managed to recite the oath of office without collapsing from laughter.

“Repeat after me: I, Donald J. Trump, do solemnly swear that I will faithfully execute the Office of the President of the United States of America.”

“I, Donald J. Trump do solemnly swear that I will faithfully execute Rosie O’Donnell, Alec Baldwin, and Meryl Streep.”

Ah, what fun I was having now with the oaf of office! With perhaps four more years to work a coal mine of political humour down to Earth’s core – or at least up until my rendering to a Trump/O’Leary Reedumacation Camp.

So here we are. Every day brings us another twisted tweet, alternative fact, or execrable order from on high. Our Arthur Dent planet was blown to smithereens last month, but not before we were all teleported to DC Comic’s Bizarro World, where everything is said and done backwards.

The other day, delirious from Trumpitis, I tried to distract myself with some music. My iPod, set on shuffle, perversely offered up Haydn’s TRUMPet Concerto #1. I tore off the headphones only to hear footsteps of the mailman outside. Trump trump trump trump.

And yoga? I fall sideways onto the mat every time I attempt downward dog. My misaligned chakras sit like a stack of broken crockery. The satirist in me feels outstretched by reality and the rationalist in me feels bent out of shape.

It’s gonna get nastier before it gets Namastier.

The Vancouver Courier, Feb. 9

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