Roger Marolt: Washing our hands of this coronavirus |

Roger Marolt: Washing our hands of this coronavirus

Roger Marolt
Cluster Phobic
Roger Marolt for the Snowmass Sun
Kelsey Brunner/Snowmass Sun

The good news is if tourists stop traveling because of the new coronavirus, the chances of us catching it are reduced.

The bad news is if tourists cancel their plans to visit, there is a greater chance of us defaulting on our mortgages. How do we play this one? It’s kind of like, if you are old enough to almost have your mortgage paid off, it looks like you might have about a 2% chance of dying from the fearful pathogen threatening to go around the world in the next 80 days; and we must factor into this morbidity equation how many days we still need to earn the 100-day ski pin. Hopefully things work out.

While many of us tend to think of this part of the world as being fairly immune to the world’s larger problems, this coronavirus has the potential to be a bigger deal here than most other places. I don’t think there are statistics on this, but I have a hunch that the Aspen-Snowmass area gets served a larger portion of communicable diseases each year than your average preschool. There’s no denying; anywhere you go in town between November and April, there is a constant gray noise comprised of coughs, sniffles, sneezes, wheezes, high-altitude flatulence and background vomiting with the occasional groan over muscle aches due to fever. Usually we can overlook this because the views are so nice.

Observationally, this makes sense for a tourist town. We can measure it anecdotally by what I call “the accent gauge.” Imagine there is a different human-infecting bug, germ, parasite, or virus here for every different accent, dialect, or language you hear while walking through town. We lure people here from all over the world and we invite them to frequently huddle closely with us in our cozy little restaurants, bars, shops, buses, churches and entertainment venues. Facts are facts, but speculation indicates our town is a gigantic petri dish in an incubator warmed by burning all variety of currencies.

Of course you see what I’m getting at. The coronavirus is going to end up here, probably sooner rather than later. It would be more surprising to me if we were one of the last places on Earth the virus hits. I don’t think it does any good to deny the likelihood of this. I will go so far as to suggest we pinpoint the Base Village transit center as ground zero on the map on the wall in the basement of Town Hall. The candy dish on the rental car counter at the airport is the second most infected place.

I know some will find this kind of talk distasteful, but as we live and breath in this time when truth appears repulsive to so many, “distasteful” might be the new “acceptable.” You think I’m kidding, but mark my words — being considered only distasteful will carry many local and national elections this fall.

Also, please remember this is only an opinion column. It means that any predictions made here have only about a 78.2% chance of being 62% correct, or so I say.

We all know the rule: If you don’t vote, you can’t complain. I am not going to politicize this thing since this bug is going to attack partisans indiscriminately, but I do want to use the same logic as that saying employs to suggest that, if you don’t wash your hands, you don’t get to panic about the pandemic. Judging by the appalling number of men I see coming out of the stalls and heading right out the public bathroom door into the unsuspecting, trusting world to shake hands, hug, and handle food, I think the panic level could be kept in check.

It is said that hand-washing may be our No. 1 most effective source of protection over the invasion of COVID-19, at least until an effective vaccine is produced, which experts say could take until 2022. Washing your hands is science, not voodoo. It is easy to do. Ten out of 10 doctors recommend it. It will work to greatly reduce the chance of contracting the deadly virus and the spreading of it.

And still, a recent study by Bradley Corporation concluded that 26% of women and a whopping 40% of men admit not washing their hands after using the restroom. Adding in the liars, these numbers are even higher. In response, I would recommend adopting the sound of a flushing toilet as the national alarm to remind everyone to immediately wash his or her hands. Alas, lots of people don’t even bother flushing toilets in public restrooms, so forget that.

Maybe the age old advice of drinking lots of liquids is what we need to adhere to. With this threat upon us, we would do well to stay hydrated, keep our bodies strong and pee a lot. The more often we pee, the more often at least a thin majority of us will wash our hands. If you don’t love water, feel free to substitute beer for this purpose. For drinking, that is. And for rinsing off your hands, too. Whatever it takes.

In closing, I just want to point out that I didn’t hear so much panic in people’s voices over this virus until the very recent hands-on-the-head surrender of the stock markets. Feverish shivering and sore throats we can bear. The drops in retirement plan values are what cause real agony.

Roger Marolt would love to invest in hand soap companies in anticipation of big gains, but he thinks the smart money is probably still shorting those stocks. Email him at


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