I wrote this in mid-2020 as COVID was resurging after it’s initial pullback. I hope we’ve learned something about ourselves and about humanity now…
I checked on Facebook this morning, after my reading and three glasses of water. I said a prayer that humankind will be smart about COVID, glad that my boss’s sister and husband are past the danger zone. I saw that a friend of mine – a deeply Christian man – posted, “People die every day! So what? People die in car accidents and we don’t shut down the freeway. Why not? People die from smoking, and we don’t shut down the companies that make cigarettes. Why not? What the big deal with this virus? People die.”
Politely and friendly – I’m West Coast Denn after all, and this is a Christian brother – I responded saying that no one catches ‘car crash death’ by hugging old friends at the grocery store who don’t even know they’re carrying the illness. Same with ‘smoking death.’ And often, especially with smoking, death and illness is voluntary and self-induced and expected.
It worries me is that selfishness and hurry take precedence over anything else. That we feel entitled. Doing what we want to do is more important than anything anyone else wants to do. It’s okay to spend five minutes in line at the Post Office or to wait two weeks for our government check with Trump’s name on it, but you’re telling me I can’t go to the gym? What is wrong with you? I have rights! Rights that good people died for!
It’s more complex than any banner or sign or post. My friend is right. People do die every day on the interstate. And I still drive. People smoke. I used to smoke. And I know how fortunate I am. I work for a company that sent me home, and paychecks keep coming. I don’t know what kind of shortcut I would invent if that weren’t the case. But I know this, and I’ve written about it before: if I brought home a virus, or if I were infected, and my wife or children are hospitalized because of it? If they were to die? I would walk straight into the Atlantic Ocean one night, in the dark, and wait until it swallowed me whole.
Life is on the ropes, and dying is all the rage now. Unless, of course, you or your loved one has that strain of the virus, the one that kills you. Then, it’s probably not so fun.