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The Ashley Bloomfield Show

Anna Rawhiti-Connell's ode to Director-General of Health Ashley Bloomfield -  the balm for our furrowed brows

When children ask me what I did during the great pandemic of the 2020s, I will tell them I participated in idolatry so egregious that the Golden Calf would’ve blushed a dusky shade of metallic rose.

Every day, at 1pm, I tune in to my new favourite TV programme, the Ashley Bloomfield Show starring Ashley Bloomfield. 

Ashley Bloomfield is our Director-General of Health and can only be referred to by his full name, for that is the level of reverence Ashley Bloomfield deserves.

On Saturday, I checked with Twitter to see if the Ashley Bloomfield show would be on, pre-emptively girding my loins for the news I knew was coming. Confirmation came via a tweet from my friend Veronica. “Today is the day: Ashley Bloomfield is taking a day off” it read.

In the time it took for me to accept that Ashley Bloomfield needed a day off and that what was good for Ashley Bloomfield was good for the country, my friend’s simple tweet had gone slightly viral. The nation was collectively breathing a sigh of relief into the crooks of their elbows. Ashley Bloomfield was having a day of rest.

On Sunday, Ashley Bloomfield returned to his rightful place as host of the Ashley Bloomfield Power Hour. On being asked about how many people with Covid-19 were Māori or Pasifika, Ashley Bloomfield gave the exact percentages to one decimal place. 

As if in an Ashley Bloomfield Fan Club fever dream, I tweeted about this magnificent feat. “Ashley ‘Off the top of my head, here are the exact percentages’ Bloomfield” the tweet read.

Like my friend’s tweet the day before, this tweet went a little viral. My Twitter account became the national headquarters for the Ashley Bloomfield fan club. Hundreds of like-minded souls have since followed me. If Ashley Bloomfield were Jesus, I am at least one of the lesser known apostles now. Jude Thaddeus perhaps. 

On Monday Ashley Bloomfield was compared to Superman by the New Zealand Film Parallels Twitter account. ‘Perfect!’ I exclaimed in a WhatsApp chat group. Once reserved for discussions about the lives of the people in it, this group is now a fully operational branch of the Ashley Bloomfield appreciation society.

Ashley Bloomfield, like the Tiger King, is now memetic. As I write, Ashley Bloomfield is the number one trend on Twitter. Ashley Bloomfield has gone coronaviral.

I do not tweet about Ashley Bloomfield for superficial online fame or gain. I tweet about Ashley Bloomfield as if I am invoking an ancient protection charm. As if urgent, punctuation-free tweets about Ashley Bloomfield will keep Ashley Bloomfield safe.  

There is no ultimate end goal for me beyond this. Every tweet is a feather in an invisible korowai, wrapped around Ashley Bloomfield, protecting him from the Rona. I fear what will happen if Ashley Bloomfield is ill and unable to reassure us every day at 1pm with nothing but calm factual statements and nice hair. Ashley Bloomfield is a balm for our furrowed brows.

I have reassured my husband that he has nothing to worry about. My feelings for Ashley Bloomfield are entirely platonic. Hero-worshiping, comfort-seeking, idolising, panic-stricken, platonic adoration.

I can never meet Ashley Bloomfield in real life anyway. They say never meet your heroes, but I know I wouldn’t be disappointed. I can never meet Ashley Bloomfield because I would die of embarrassment. Ashley Bloomfield mightn’t know about this column or the 847 tweets I will send about him, but I would, and the only guaranteed physical response to meeting Ashley Bloomfield with that knowledge would be for me to blush a dusky shade, flush from feet to forehead, burn up and burst into flames. 

After all Ashley Bloomfield’s hard work keeping me and the rest of the country from dying of coronavirus, this would be an affront to his labour. 

As I am at the bargaining stage of the coronavirus/Kubler Ross grief trough, I am hedging my bets with omnistic prayers for Ashley Bloomfield’s safety. 

I start with Jesus, hoping he might remember me from notable events like my baptism, Holy Communion and confirmation and move through the spectrum of religion towards science, ending by lighting a candle to honour the space time continuum.  

‘Dear Jesus and/or subatomic particles’ I pray.

‘Please keep Ashley Bloomfield safe. 

I promise to read The Luminaries if you do. 

Thank you and lots of love,

Anna’

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