My Coronavirus freak-out, part 3 – so where are we, really?
today at 12:55 pm
Well, my fellow COVID-19 hostages, it’s been over two months since we were commanded house-bound by the State. And there’s no practical end in sight, for all that Governor Pritzker moved the finish line to May 30th.
If you believe that, I have a 55-gallon drum of Purell in my garage, just for you.
Years ago, I think it was the Oprah show that coined the phrase, “new normal.” I don’t remember in what context it was used, but it was novel, new-agey and on-point.
Now I can barely hear the phrase without wanting to sob and puke, in tandem.
Because, my babies, our new normal SUCKS. And it’s gonna be with us for a looong time yet. Masks, social distancing, staying home, deprivation – the full monty.
Further, it just stinks that daily, we either have to go to (essential) work and risk our lives, or stay at home (by compliance or unemployment) and decimate our personal and national financial health.
But absent a vaccine, this IS our fate. You can rail against it all you want, but newsflash – the virus is in charge, not you.
I know, I know – just a scant few months ago, the stock markets, though volatile, still were bullish, and unemployment was at an historic low.
Then, one day in January, a tiny organism (that, magnified, resembles a land mine – apropos, no?) began invading our orifices, infecting the populace one respiratory tract at a time. Its name: COVID-19, a new, nasty and exceptionally virulent coronavirus. Infected and deceased victims tally by the day. No treatment, no cure and no vaccine.
Unemployment has risen to Depression-Era percentages, as businesses struggle to hang on. Many have closed, with more to come.
And the scourge still hasn’t officially peaked. Newly-infecteds and deaths abound on a daily basis. Doctors, nurses and other medical professionals, duty-bound by oath, forge daily into the breach, often working inhumanely-long shifts, and far too many with inadequate protection. Every infected person they treat harbors the possibility of death for them; many doctors, nurses and caretakers have, in fact, succumbed to the virus. Demoralized beyond measure, some even have committed suicide.
As time slogs on in COVID-ville, it was inevitable that conspiracy theorists and the just-plain-dense amongst us would fly in the face of government directives and scientific evidence, pooh-poohing the severity of the situation, growing more strident by the day. “Nobody’s gonna take my rights!” “It’s just like a flu epidemic, nothing worse.” “I’m opening up my bar, come hell or high water, no matter what the government says!” Ad nauseum.
It has been just over 100 years since a plague so-decimated the world – the Spanish Flu epidemic of 1918.
We seem to have learned little, behavior-wise.
So, what are the lessons here? What’s the crux?
I’ll tell you what I think. I think it’s a test from God or the cosmos or Yoda or whomever the heck is in charge. The message is simple – and something too many of us long-ago discarded.
We ARE our brother’s keeper. Whether we like it or not.
What we do here on a daily basis – how we comport and protect ourselves – has direct bearing on everyone around us, especially, in this case, the “least” amongst us – the old and the sick, i.e., those with the most risk factors.
Empathy and compassion often are lacking in COVID Land. In their place are selfish, callous thoughts of instant gratification and “Fuck off – protect YOURSELF if you believe this shit, but I’m going back to my life!”
Could this whole thing be a test? One to see if we can walk the talk of brotherly love and compassion?
Some believe that Pompeii and Atlantis met fates similar to Sodom and Gomorrah, due to reprobate behavior. Wouldn’t it suck to suffer a similar fate? Just sayin’, but who knows?
Jesus had a simple message: Love one another.
Dr. King said, “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?'”
Perhaps to gain deliverance, we have to upgrade our brotherly-love skills?
It’s worth a shot. Maybe literally.
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