Recently, the President of the United States, in the midst of a global pandemic, just admitted to the world that he's been taking hydroxychloroquine for the past week and a half. Reactions have been, to put it mildly, mixed.
The leader of the free world is effectively poisoning himself. This is a guy in his mid-70s who's already not in the best shape, and this is a drug that has been shown to make people sick when they don't have malaria and lupus, the diseases it's actually meant to help. Holy shit. He's doubling down on it, too, even in the face of the FDA ...
... and his friends at Fox News.
There's a fair-to-decent chance he's either lying for some reason about taking hydroxychloroquine (is someone slipping it into his cheeseburgers?), or deliberately obfuscating, but both of those options might be giving him too much credit. This is a rabbit hole no historian could've fallen far enough into -- when Hitler took poison on purpose, it was with the intent of dying because he knew how fucked he was. With Trump, he shows no signs of that kind of chickening out.
What makes the most sense is that this is a borderline Shakespearean tale about a king type drinking poison just to prove it isn't poison, when it's totally unnecessary. "Act III: King Trump Denies Poison Is Poison, Drinks Poison." Your English teacher would explain that the poison would be symbolic of giving in to hubris or machismo, and it wouldn't totally make sense until your friend explains it's like playing a dangerous drinking game just to prove how alpha you are.
Because that's what this is. President Trump can't admit that he might have been wrong about something, even when Fox News is saying "Hey, bro, back off this stuff." He's gotta be the most big-dick guy in the world, even if that means consuming a drug that could kill him.
There's like, old folk tales about this kind of stuff. Robert Gibbon Johnson is the guy who, according to legend, ate tomatoes to prove they weren't poisonous. But that was the 1800s, when people didn't know better. Trump, on the other hand, has the best scientists in the world at his disposal, telling him not to do something, and he's doing it anyway.
As kids, we grew up on folk tales like Paul Bunyan and Johnny Appleseed. When we tell wild, exaggerated stories to our grandkids, are we going to have one about Donny Hydroxy, the president who took drugs he shouldn't have, just to try to be right all the time?
Top Image: Gage Skidmore/Flickr