“A sad soul can kill you quicker, far quicker, than a germ.”
- John Steinbeck
I am going to projectile vomit the next time a company tells me ALL THE THINGS THEY HAVE DONE to keep me safe.
I was in Athens this past weekend and stayed at the very hip Hotel Indigo. Signs alerted guests that our room would not be cleaned while we were there to minimize the spread of COVID. I have no problem with this sensical change that will save them money at a time when hotels are hurting. But don’t give me this crap that you’re doing it because WE CARE ABOUT YOU. As our decrepit, duplicitous president might say: “Come on, man!”
While in Athens I visited one of the nation’s last remaining record stores, Wuxtry. The classic store has been downtown in the Classic City since I matriculated some 25 years ago. My dad loves to collect old records and jukeboxes so I thought I would check them out. I was barely in the door when some groovy dude started barking at me.
“Sir, please pull your mask up all the way,” he said as I approached a roped area just inside the front door. I pulled my camouflage gaiter up to my nose and kept walking toward the records.
“Sir can you use the hand sanitizer please,” he said, pointing toward a giant bottle of clear goo on a bar stool.
I grudgingly complied.
“Y’all still think this stuff works, huh?” I asked to fill the awkward silence.
“Sir I’m not here to argue,” he replied.
“I’m not arguing. I just asked a question,” I said through my gaiter.
At last I turned to look at the records when I was interrupted again.
“Sir can you put your drink down before you shop?” he demanded.
“You know what,” I replied, “you should treat a customer in your store with more courtesy than this. I am here to consider spending my money with you. And you are treating me like an inmate. You’re not going to treat me like this. Goodbye.”
And with that, I walked out, feeling quite happy.
China sent the COVID virus to the world, and with it the Chinese also exported their dictatorial social control and restrictions. It’s called communism. It doesn’t feel like the America we grew up in.
The most frustrating thing is our friends who say that if you oppose restrictions and impositions on liberties, then you don’t care about people getting sick. That’s insulting. Do you know what separates children from adults? Children are black and white thinkers. To the undeveloped minds of children, people are all classified as either “good guys” or “bad guys”. To kids, friends are your best friends, until they make you mad and then they’re your enemy. Kids cannot hold two thoughts in their heads at one time. That’s why they melt down when their Legos fall apart. Only when we grow up do we realize: you know Susan sometimes can get in a bad mood and that bothers me, but so do I sometimes. Susan and I do get along really well and so we’re still friends. That’s an adult.
Well here’s an adult thought: COVID is a really nasty disease that’s especially threatening to the elderly, obese and sick, but we also have to continue living and it’s harmful and self-defeating to shutdown, mask up and avoid interaction. Adults recognize that life is always a balance of risk and reward, and that you cannot contain a virus. Fifteen days to stop the spread one year ago appears to be turning into 15 insane months to fan fear and restrict everything. Even as evidence mounts that none of the absurd rules actually do anything to change the trajectory of the virus. Masks? You might as well wear a rabbit’s foot. Studies have shown they don’t help. Yet we are told we have to wear them. We are governed by children who cannot make adult decisions and refuse to treat us as adults.
People have studied issues of crime and punishment for centuries. Methods of punishment, from the medieval (put her in stocks, she’s a witch) to the modern (water boarding) have been debated as to their effectiveness and their morality. But one thing most agree upon is that solitary confinement is one of the worst punishments. Man was not made to be alone. Alone, we begin to lose our sanity and ability to think clearly.
Perhaps that’s why our very real political divisions have turned into violent hate over the past year. Solitary confinement is for the criminal and the unrepentant. It’s not for the well. It’s time to come out of your home. It’s time to ditch the mask. It’s time to shake someone’s hand. It’s time to hug others. It’s time to weigh the risks of COVID with the reward of a somewhat normal life in relationship with other people.
“But I might die!” you say.
No, there’s no might. You WILL die. None of us are getting out of here alive. The only question is, “will you live?”