1. Yes, mitch4 has it.

    There are plenty of people during the current pandemic who are not “acting accordingly.”

  2. Agreeing with Mitch4. A virus’s purpose (from the virus’s point of view) is to replicate itself within a host as many times as possible, and then move on to another host before the first one dies. So yes, it would tell the man (current host/potential host) to get as close to the woman (potential host/current host) as possible to facilitate the spread.

  3. So the first 2 commenters are saying that he thinks the virus might be causing him to want to spread the virus? I’m not seeing the logic in that.

  4. Alternately, the social isolation is driving him to hit on anyone even remotely attractive. (Depending on lead time and optimism, the creator might have thought we’d be done with this by now.)

  5. MarkM: I’m guessing you hadn’t seen Susan’s comment at the time you typed yours, but she describes the logic behind what I was saying.

    It’s based on attributing unrealistic abilities to the virus, and anthropomorphizing it, but it’s within the bounds of comic logic. (Although there is this parasite that takes control of an ant’s “mind”: Dicrocoelium_dendriticum.

  6. Thanks, Winter. I meant just a cartoon-reality mysterious capacity of the virus to get its host to carry out its plans. But indeed I am not unaware of the sort of thing you describe, though the case I’m more familiar with is the Toxoplasma gondii protozoan which, when spread from cats to mice, render the mice less fearful (and hence more available as prey). People who find ourselves acting as servants to cats like to say it must be a result of our getting that toxoplasmosis.

  7. Yes, Susan T-O’s comment wasn’t there when I started typing, and it clears up my confusion. I guess if we think of the alcohol literally “talking”, then a virus is also capable of it.

  8. I like Mitch4 and WW’s interpretation, though it seems pretty sophisticated for a syndicated strip (especially PMP, which doesn’t tend to do subtle scientific jokes).

    A couple of months ago, xkcd had a comic with a similar theme: xkcd 2296

  9. It’s convoluted and not at all clear and I think “breaks” the strip[1] (and I never would have figured it out) but Mitch’s explanation that makes sense that I can see..

    [1] but Pardon My Planet seems to have no intuitive inner gauge of the stretch/bend/dont break continuum.

  10. Ways that Covid-19 has been affecting the brain were so widely reported in June, that I think Vic Lee thought he could use the idea (if not the actual specifics; It May have been May, I don’t remember May). (If you blinked recently, it was easy to miss the recent Vitamin D protection study. These things seem to get one news cycle if they’re lucky.)

  11. He’s blaming the virus, claiming it wants him to do this. It doesn’t mean that the virus is actually aware and has a plan.

  12. @Brian in STL – Right, those skills exist only in bacteria (okay, certain bacteria; they’ve got to believe.)

  13. Kevin saith: It May have been May, I don’t remember May


    God bless you, Jerry Mendelbaum
    Let nothing you dismay
    This May you had a rotten month
    So what is there to say
    Let’s hope next May is better
    And good things will come your way
    And you won’t have a feeling of dismay
    Next May

  14. What Mitch and WW said.

    It’s also typical behavior for Vic Lee’s male protagonists: libido trumps responsibility.

    Maybe I’m getting a tad priggish in my old age, but I have trouble seeing much humor in this one.

  15. Isn’t that the “Netflix and chill” guy from July 31 CIDU? It looks like the lady at work shot him down and he went out to drown his sorrows but then saw another potential made. He’s feeling emboldened and tries to impress the lady with a “smooth” line, but he is drunk and can’t come up with anything clever, so he just says he thinks coronavirus wants him to hit on her. What he should have said was:
    “You must be the coronavirus, because you take my breath away.”

  16. Last two Pardon My Planet, I think I understood the joke (mildly absurd situation). This one, I am at a loss. His statement, minus the coronavirus, does seem like an absurd thing to say already, but in a confusing rather than funny way – without the coronavirus, would he be trying to convey that he’s approached her because he’s drunk rather than a guy who hits on women at bars? I can’t come up with any other interpretation that would make this a reasonable opening line.

    (If he is the same character from the non-date one a few days ago, is he asking her to assist him in not cheating on that woman he won’t date but intends to marry if things go well? Does he recognize that she would be bad news but his better judgement is suppressed, and saying this makes it more likely she will reject him? Is this a recurring character in the strip who always sabotages his interaction with any woman?)

    But I don’t get why the coronavirus talking is more bothersome than the alcohol talking; at least the coronavirus has an evolutionary motivation to alter its host’s behavior if it can. Either alcohol has impaired him or illness has (lowered blood oxygen levels or direct symptoms of mental impairment), and it’s the thing that makes him not his usual self “talking”.

  17. Yeah somebody thinks viruses tell their hosts to spread them around or something. Some parasites kind of do this, but viruses, probably not.

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