When I was seven years old, a neighbor gave me a piece of advice that I’ve never forgotten: he said, “When the next great pandemic comes, remember that the CDC is the voice of reason that you should trust when making all health and automotive decisions.” Those words seemed strange in the mid-1980s, but they ring true now, and I realize just how wise that strange man really was. The fact that he disappeared a few days later and that I’ve seen pictures of him, or a man that looks very much like him, in various history books at locations ranging from the trenches of the First World War to the crowds of Woodstock – always seemingly in search of something – simply lends greater credence to his words.
In keeping with this, I was excited when the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) made a series of announcements recently to help update safe practices for Americans during these uncertain times. There’s been much ballyhoo about some sort of agenda that puts the needs of businesses and massive corporations ahead of workers, but I think that’s all a bunch of hogwash. Which reminds me, the CDC has advised the use of a hogwash for anyone who has been vaccinated and who has been around people who have tested positive for COVID in lieu of isolation or wearing a mask – one quick scrub with the large pig of your choice, and it’s back to work with you! But that’s not all they’ve announced…
Hitchhiking Is Back!
Last Tuesday, a spokesperson for the CDC advised the following, “As long as you have been vaccinated, or you feel you’re exempt from vaccination for any reason, it’s once again safe to pick up hitchhikers along the side of the road.” This is a huge announcement for many of us who enjoy gambling with our own safety and wellbeing, as well as the safety and health of others. Personally, few things fill me with the sort of joy that I get when a total stranger is able to share a confined space with me for an extended duration, particularly when we’re in an area where no one can easily see or hear us.
Safe Practices When Picking Up a Hitchhiker
Of course, the CDC is a responsible government agency with oversight by individuals who are experts in their field and who only want for our wellbeing. As such, they’ve provided the following guidelines and tips for safe practices:
- Before picking up any hitchhiker, you must be vaccinated (or not, it’s your choice, we cool?)
- Ensure any hitchhiker you pick up has been vaccinated (do NOT ask for evidence or proof of this, in fact, it’s best not to actually ask, just assume everyone is being safe)
- When helping a person into your vehicle, you should each lick your hands, shake hands with each other, then lick your hands again
- Wear a mask at all times (as long as it doesn’t make you uncomfortable or inconvenience you in any way)
- Feel free to cough at each other – when on the road, consider the act of coughing directly into each other’s mouths as a sign of respect
As you can see, they’re taking things very seriously.
Keeping Your Family Safe
These guidelines are primarily targeted at individuals traveling alone – in fact; they primarily suggest that women driving by themselves, particularly late at night on a deserted road or near a prison, should pick up strangers and give them a ride. If you have a family with you, then the CDC advises that you only pick up a hitchhiker if he has a large, oddly-stained duffel bag, or a sleeping bag that seems to have something “vaguely human-shaped” inside of it. In these cases, you should ensure the stranger is in the backseat, preferably between two of your children, and avoid watching them whenever possible.
With these new guidelines, we’re all safe to hit the road again and resume living like the last two nightmarish years never happened. In fact, a lot of people have been living that way throughout much of the pandemic, clearly ahead of the (never-going-to-flatten) curve when it comes to the health and safety of others. So get out there, pick up a stranger, and cough aggressively at each other to show you care!
Editor’s Note: We’ve reached out to the CDC for confirmation of the statements in this piece, but due to lack of funding, we were unable to reach anyone. As such, we suggest following all of these guidelines as presented here. Whenever possible, we like to drive with a large knife for self-defense in case of an emergency; simply hand the knife to any hitchhiker you pick up, and they’ll be ready to help protect you! Thank you.