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Entertainment & Arts

Just when we thought Tom Hanks had suffered enough, he does Vegemite wrong

Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson at the Oscars
Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson, shown at the 2020 Oscars in January, may be panic-spreading their Vegemite as they recover from COVID-19.
(Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times)

Tom Hanks has been fielding plenty of warm thoughts down in Australia since he and wife Rita Wilson tested positive for the coronavirus last week. But that all changed with a single tweet Sunday.

“Thanks to the Helpers,” the Oscar winner tweeted from isolation down under, invoking Mr. Rogers and including a photo of a stuffed kangaroo, an Australian flag, a clip-on koala, a tube of Vegemite and, fatefully, some toast. “Let’s take care of ourselves and each other.”

It was the toast, smeared with a thick, espresso-brown spread of Vegemite, that tipped Aussies to the fact that Hanks needed a little more “taking care of” — if not a strong smack upside the head.

Turns out you don’t do Vegemite that way.

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Quips from Australia‘s blue-check Twitter brigade were among the 8,500 or so replies to the tweet. (One note: Aussies are much more polite than Americans when they’re piling on, it would seem.)

“Mr Hanks you’re panic spreading your vegemite!! A thin scrape is all that’s required for the savoury goodness. Speedy recovery to you and the Mrs!,” novelist Jane Caro tweeted.

Not wanting to be left out of the conversation, Marmite spread, the English cousin of Vegemite, wished the Hankses “a safe recovery all the way from Britain.”

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“Hope you’re still with us after ingesting that much, Tom. Admire the enthusiasm, but a mere scrape will do,” sports journalist Rohan Connolly tweeted.

“Life is like a tube of Vegemite,” said broadcast journalist Sally Sara, echoing Hanks’ famous box-of-chocolates line from “Forrest Gump.” “Don’t try it all at once.”

And from writer Alexander Chee: “Someone needs to tell him it isn’t Nutella.”

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