Coronavirus slang: How funny buggers are ‘Aussifying’ The ’Rona
Photo: Paramount Pictures
Straya. Even in the midst of a global pandemic, Aussies can be relied upon to find the funny.
From creating our colloquialisms surrounding the crisis to inventing #isolationgames and sharing feelgood yarns, average Aussies are staying true to their ‘she’ll be right mate’ attitude and finding a little bit of light in the dark.
Can you speak ’Strayan?
Nothing says ‘Aussie’ more than the penchant for shortening words and transforming correct English words into our slang versions.
Whether it’s grabbing your sunnies, putting smashed avo on your toast, sucking on a ciggie or throwin’ back a tinnie, articulating full sentences is really just too much work.
The coronavirus is sparking its linguistic substrate too, and the classic ones doing the rounds right now include:
- Sanny – Hand sanitiser
- In Iso – Self-isolation or lockdown
- The ’Rona – Needs no explanation
- Magpie – Supermarket hoarder based on this swooping bird’s keen interest in grabbing and hoarding shiny things.
And to use them all in a sentence: “Me boss tested posi for The ’Rona so now I’m in iso. Popped down to Woollies for some sanny, but it’s been bloody Magpie’d.”
And there’s a whole other story in the lyrics of songs that have been appropriated too.
Think “My my my my my corona” (My Sharona); “CO-VID-19” (sung to the tune of Come on Eileen) and “And it was COVID-19” (Redgum’s I Was Only 19).
Let’s get a bit silly
Sydney mum of five Irene Strong decided being cheeky was a good way to lift the spirits of her family and friends.
Grabbing a bunch of random household items, including a hula-hoop, sunnies, a few balloons and an old tradies mask, she created a fun costume to keep herself clear of The ’Rona while out on a trip to the shops for some groceries.
Irene Strong took a dose of fun to the supermarket this week. Photo: Supplied
“Just ducking to the shops for a few more supplies,” she wrote on her page on Facebook.
“Practising social distancing. Hulahoop for my personal space. Anyone gets too close I pop a balloon.”
— Cathy Anderson (@MsCathyAnderson) March 24, 2020
Strong says she did it as a funny surprise for the kids (she didn’t really wear it to the shops), and her family got a kick out of it.
“I did it as a joke and they all laughed,” she told The New Daily.
“You have to laugh otherwise you will cry. It’s so sad and scary.”
Keeping yourself occupied through inventive indoor sports and challenges and then posting about it on social media under the hashtag #isolationgames is the new black.
But we’re not just talking about Scrabble, Boggle or teaching old dogs new tricks.
This is some next-level creativity, and no one recognises this better than larrikin Aussie comics Hamish and Andy.
The pair posted perhaps the most bizarre challenge over the weekend featuring Ben the Bed Whisperer (how’s that for a moniker?), a bloke who reckons he can lay a bed sheet perfectly in one go.
Check out the video and see for yourself.
Can Ben lay the perfect bed sheet? pic.twitter.com/Sd0ejFg03i
— Hamish & Andy (@hamishandandy) March 21, 2020
Or there’s also Alex Thanopoulos, who is playing noughts and crosses with his cat (spoiler alert – the cat wins and then attacks), or Belinda Harrison, who created a rather heartwarming video of hanging out in the backyard with her BFF Stewart – a teddy bear.
— Alex Thanopoulos (@AlexThano) March 21, 2020
Aussies are also getting creative in larks like #toiletpaperchallenge, where loo rolls are given a new purpose as a footy, obstacle courses for house-bound doggos and even to play the cello.
Sound on as I return you to your normal ridiculousness for day 7 of isolation – just me and my buddy Stewart hanging out together! #IsolationFun #IsolationGames #COVIDー19 #SocialDistancing #Quarantine #AdultingAndStuff #humour pic.twitter.com/k2rxkPgc9k
— Belinda Harrison (@BeHarrison78) March 23, 2020
She’ll be right, mate
Support groups are popping up all over social media to lift spirits, including The Kindness Pandemic, a Facebook group with more than 300,000 members.
Instead of scaremongering and serving up fear-fuelled rants about people who continue to be personal space invaders, this public group is devoted to sharing some beautiful stories.
Aussies aren’t very good at promoting themselves – the Tall Poppy Syndrome has taken care of that – but we are exceptionally good at sharing stories of good deeds, especially when it comes to yarns of battlers being helped by strangers, people going out of their way to shop for others, and anonymous gifts of toilet paper – cue thousands of awwws and virtual hugs.
There are videos of kids writing inspirational words in chalk on the footpath to uplift passersby, personal stories of customers in grocery stores paying for other people’s supplies if they run short of cash, and accounts of warring neighbours burying the hatchet over petty squabbles and sharing food and comfort (at a safe distance of course).