A Sideways Glare at Contemporary Society
In the Covid-19 timeline, today is Day – uh – nobody really knows what the hell day it is! Day 24? Day 19? Day 167? All the days are running together. It’s as if the calendar gave up on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and just decided to go with “Day.” This stupid pandemic is ruining our sense of urgency. Who cares if we sleep in? “Oh, no! I’m going to be late for ….” What? Going to the living room? And that’s only one of the reasons Covid-19 sucks. There are tons more. Here are just a few.
Even in the good old days, there was never 24 hours of news happening every day. That’s why even respectable media outlets filled up the time with celebrity crap, sports and weather warnings. Now, with the world at a standstill, all the talking heads are talking about Covid-19 – hour after relentless hour. Gloom with an extra helping of doom. Dear God, give it a rest! Full marks, however, for the 1,001 creative ways journalists are saying, “You’re screwed!”
It’s not “over there.”
Up until the wet markets in Wuhan, China went batshit crazy, every other human disaster was localized. Earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanic eruptions and famines all happened, but 90% of the rest of the world was fine. Even the mighty World War II never made it past the Statue of Liberty! We all felt bad for those poor buggers in the thick of it, but life went on – kids went to school; we went to yoga class, drinks after work, shopping, dinner and a movie – OOPS! Now the shoe’s on the other foot, and it doesn’t fit.
The constant comparisons to World War II.
Seriously? We’ve been jealous of The Greatest Generation ever since Tom Brokaw called them that in ’98, but c’mon! Even the people comparing 10 years of economic disaster, 6 years of war, the Holocaust and 2 nuclear bombs to just over 6 weeks of self-isolation can’t keep a straight face.
We can’t find a bad guy.
All the usual suspects — misguided science, the military, millennials, corporate greed, etc. — just don’t qualify. Okay, the Chinese have been dicks about this from the beginning, but believe me, you don’t want say that out loud. If you dare, Twitter will unleash such an unholy torrent of hate on your head that even your dog will think you’re a racist. It’s way better to play it safe and bitch about Trump — but after 4-plus years, that isn’t even fun anymore.
There’s nothing to do.
Every single person on this planet is on the front line, and the only thing we can do about it is hide. People aren’t built that way. In a crisis, our natural instinct is to take action — even if it’s only volunteering to get shot at. This is the first disaster ever when taking responsibility, being a good person and doing your part to help means grabbing a spot on the sofa and staying there — and we don’t like it.
But worse than that:
No great stories to tell the grandchildren.
Think about it! Throughout history, catastrophe has always produced tales of courage, stories of hardship and sacrifice, ripping yarns about the indomitable human spirit. However, years from now, when our grandkids ask, “Back in the old days, when the world was falling apart, what did you do during Covid-19?” the vast majority of us are going to have to say, “Well, dear — we drank some wine and watched a lot of Netflix.”
And if that lame-ass answer doesn’t suck, I don’t know what does!