Should Mimes Be Enlisted As Essential Workers To Build Physical Distancing Walls

Imagine, if you will, an empty town square.

A solitary mime stands, within this public space of your imagination, with an expression of unbearable sadness on their face—gesturing to a single teardrop drawn upon their white-painted cheek.

Waiting for a crowd of people that exists only in memory.

As people around the world observe draconian rules of social distancing, millions of starving street artists and live performers around the world are being denied access to those people that acknowledge their performances by awarding them with the crumpled bills and dirty coins in their pockets.

Inevitably, it falls upon forward thinking humanitarians to come up with creative solutions to mitigate the loss of income from their craft.

To this, we must ask the question:

Should we enlist mimes, as essential workers during the COVID-19 pandemic, to fashion physical distancing barriers in the air to protect us from people that refuse to obey the invisible defensive perimeters around our bodies?

I submit an unequivocal yes; and these are the reasons why I think mimes can serve a useful function in the larger world outside our sheltered bubbles of social isolation:

Even though mimes are notoriously misunderstood attention seekers that actively try to draw a crowd, they are also masters of building invisible and impenetrable walls in the air that encourage distancing.

Also, mimes are low-risk as transmitters of viruses because they do not speak and, therefore, they do not emit virus-infused micro-droplets from their mouths.

Mimes are very affordable and will not burden tax paying citizens. Furthermore, they can survive on just a few coins tossed into their hats; all the food they need is created out of thin air, so they can subsist solely on coffee and applause.

They also provide their own natural face masks.

These are just a handful of reasons why I think that failing to make use of this valuable resource is absolute folly.

For, as we all know—a mime is a terrible thing to waste.

“Don’t Bogart that joint, kid.”

“Don’t Bogart that joint, my friend” was a phrase I heard fairly often in the 1970s, usually spoken slowly in a fake Southern drawl, and the phrase became popular in the American counterculture after it was featured in the 1969 film, Easy Rider.

Composed by Elliot Ingber, a guitarist in Frank Zappa’s Mothers of Invention in the mid-sixties, and Stash Wagner of The Fraternity of Man, the band that recorded the song for the soundtrack, the title and refrain gets its name from the actor Humphrey Bogart.

🎶 Musical Interlude 🎶

Now, I dunno if Bogie actually partook in the reefer, but he had a habit, in cigarette smoking scenes in tough guy roles in his movies, of leaving a gasper dangling from his lips without taking a drag. That act of wastefully letting a cigarette smolder, without inhaling the smoke, inspired the expression among pot smoking counterculture wits.

I was eight years old the first time I heard it.

The year was 1972 and I’d recently arrived in Bandon, a small coastal town in Oregon, after traveling the backroads of America in a bread truck for a few months with my dad and his girlfriend. We landed at a hippie crash pad and stayed with people we had just met; fellow freaks with an open door policy that was still part of the hippie homesteader etiquette esthetic in rural areas of the country.

That night, in the living room, after a shared meal, our host produced a mystery joint he had received from a friend in the mail. He lit the joint and passed it around to the group and, when it came to me, nobody thought to say, “No, you can’t have a toke because you’re just a kid.” Bear in mind, this was a time of testing mainstream values and almost everything was permissible.

I took a drag and let the joint hang from my lip. That’s when the phrase was uttered and explained.

Passing the joint, I felt the room spin, and promptly passed out.