It's hard to laissez les bons temps rouler when the bons temps are sandwiched between a pandémie and an ouragan. Obviously you want to leave your house, but it's different now. That's why we've compiled this list of ways to enjoy a hypochondriac Mardi Gras.
What is that? You might ask, is it for me? Well, some quick questions: Do you feel like your flight is always going to crash? When your elbow hurts, is it probably cancer? If someone doesn't text you they got home safe, do you assume they're dead? Do you love to party? If you answered yes to zero or more, this list is for you. We can have it all!
1. Alcohol is an antiseptic
It's good for you. They used it in wars. When you take fireball shots now, it's actually honoring the troops. And the more alcohol you drink, the stronger your immune system is. That's how it works.
2. You do not need to pet all the dogs
This is going to be a hard one for some of you. I'm not saying don't pet any of the dogs, and maybe you can pet all of them, but if there's a dog eating a piece of Popeyes chicken on the ground with a dirty bandana that says "Storm Pooper," maybe you can just smile from a distance. Dogs are like pieces of art in a museum. We can think, "Does loving this as much as I do much mean I am depressed?" and take pictures but not touch. Dogs are art that can shit themselves, and sometimes it's best to keep a healthy distance.
3. Make gloves a part of your costume
Be a crab, be a doctor with borders, be anarchist Mickey Mouse (actually, do want to see that one). Make a costume where you can keep the ole mitts wrapped up like a delicatessen ham. That way when you're fighting a child for a light up football on the neutral ground (just kidding, I know we only fight kids for novelty snacks), you don't have to worry that you're by proxy touching literal poop. Gloves are a little jacket for your hands and, at the end of the day, or night depending on how hard you go, you can just take them off and throw away the germs and memories of all that you did for the past 10 hours.
4. Eating food in a stranger's house is still fine, but use utensils
Do I even need to say this one? I don't mean for gumbo and obvious stuff, but if there's some ears of corn (I have seen it) or brownies, and you think, "I can just touch the one I want," stop right there. No, you can't. Use a spoon or a napkin or some kind of oversized fork. You can judge for yourself if an open house is fine but on this day? Do not trust your own motor skills—even if you're sober. There's glee in the air. We all get overeager. Now you've touched all the walnuts or peanut M&M's. Oysters in a shell? I don't care. Use a tool. Our ancestors did not emerge from the primordial ooze and learn how to walk upright so you could pick up 18 Cheez-Its barehanded.
5. Forget that WebMD exists
This one isn't Mardi Gras specific, although it will help, but this is just general advice. Are you on mushrooms, and you keep seeing blue dots and all the trash cans seem sad? Don't type anything into WebMD. I don't care if you're bleeding. You're better off going up to a couple in the middle of a breakup than listening to what that godforsaken website has to say. It always is the same. They're going to ask if you're sometimes tired and when you answer yes, that will mean it might be cancer. Avoid the trouble and just get in a fistfight—feel alive for once.
6. Bring the hand sanitizer
It's small. Throw it in there. I guarantee there will be some situation where you're happy you have it, even if it's just to drink it at the end of the night.
7. Take a minute to journal
This one might not seem like it fits with the others, but those intrusive thoughts and anxiety around illness? There's no cure for that except your own brain, baby. Sit with your thoughts for a while and process them. What are you scared of? What would it feel like if that happened? Where would you be? What happens after we die? Have you accepted your own death? That's important for Mardi Gras!
8. Cough drops
Don't overthink it—just have one.
9. Drugs are friends of friends only this year
How fun was it to do key bumps in an alley with a couple you just met who have matching bandanas and own a restaurant and then have sex with them? So fun. But between the panini and fentanyl, you can no longer take drugs from just anyone. "But this is how the threesome market thrives," you yell at me. I know, but people are just going to have to up their flirting game this year if they want to have sex with strangers. It'll do us all some good if we have to string three sentences together before being entered, and you shouldn't accept a bag of powder from someone you or your friends don't know at least three things about. Are they a libertarian? Find out. And then maybe you wouldn't want to do drugs with them anyway.
See how I'm helping?
10. You can still pee in the street
No one can take that away from you.