By: Alex Masse, Staff Writer
The Canadian government held a press event today to discuss their new 2021 COVID-19 relief effort. A representative announced that the follow-up to their hefty $500 stimulus for single individuals living through eight months of economic disaster would be a $10 Steam card and some foil balloons.
“We were confident that the $500 would be sufficient rent coverage for a long duration of time,” explained the representative during the screened press conference. “After checking some ledgers from the 1960s that excluded Vancouver, the entirety of Ontario, and basically every other location but Quesnel, British Columbia, we were confident in this decision.”
“While this is admittedly a slightly smaller compensation than our previous contribution to our strong economy and even stronger citizens, we hoped to reach more Canadians by pooling much of our COVID-19 relief money into sponsored PSAs. We got these advertisements on TikTok!”
A journalist asked why the government was putting PSAs on TikTok when people were struggling to scrape by and that extra money could’ve gone literally anywhere else.
“Well, you know, the youth,” the representative replied, making a gesture vaguely resembling a finger-gun. “They’re always going to parties and stuff. So we thought we would think like the youth and hire TikTok dancers to talk about how parties are bad. The youth need to stay strong and stay inside!”
The press circle agreed that yes, it was the youth at fault and not the open, max-capacity restaurant they’d met up at an hour before.
A reporter questioned the dip in the relief funding allocated since 2020.
“With the dent in our budget, we decided to focus more on moral support during these trying times. You know this Steam gift card covers the popular multiplayer game Among Us twice over? You can buy it for you and maybe a friend, and then run around building your spaceships and stuff. Or whatever you do over there. Point is, you’ll be with friends. You are not facing this pandemic alone.”
The press circle murmured amongst themselves.
“See? We listen to the people!” The representative exclaimed. “We know you like to play Among Us, and now you can buy it a whole other time to make it run twice as quickly! Or, if you and maybe about seven other friends pool together, you can buy that new Animal Cross [sic] game! Be on an island catching bugs or whatever, while not catching the bug!”
As soon as he’d said it, another representative joined him on the podium and whispered something into his ear. The representative cleared his throat, straightened his tie, and said, “Okay, I’m being told Steam doesn’t have Animal Crossing. It is, in fact, not made by Steam?” he hesitated, scowling and leaning over his podium as if in deep confusion.
“But gaming aside, check out the complimentary foil balloons!” The representative gestured to a collection of sample balloons onstage beside him.
“See, they all have charming little phrases for moral support: FLATTEN THAT CURVE and WE WILL SURVIVE THIS. A lovely little reminder that this is temporary and we can overcome this — together.”
He was joined again by his coworker, who urgently whispered to him.
“Oh,” he murmured. “So, hmm, someone’s found and is now auctioning a misprint of one of these balloons. Apparently it says, and I quote, FLATTEN MY CURVES. Please note this sale is in no way affiliated with the Canadian government.”
His coworker checked her phone and whispered something else.
“Oh boy,” he said. “It’s been sold . . . for twice our 2021 national relief budget.”
Silence fell over the press circle. Someone coughed. Several people shuffled away from the source.
“. . . Anywho! You guys have fun,” the representative said. “No further questions.”