Stuff I Learned From Covid-19

covid

I’m officially sick and tired of Covid-19.  Oh, I’m still going to wash my hands at every opportunity and keep my distance.  Hugs are off the agenda and, for the time being at least, I’ll wear a mask in public.  (Just because I’m fed up doesn’t mean I’m irresponsible.)  The thing is Covid-19 has hung over my life like a black cloud for the last 2 months and I’m done with it.  It’s spring, the flowers are blooming, the birds are chirping, and last night in the darkness of my silent city, I heard coyotes howl.  This is the end you, horrible little virus.  I’m going to outlast you, but I’ll be damned if I going to spend any more time thinking about you.  So here are just a few things I’ve learned from Covid-19– and then I am going to close the door and get on with this new “normal” everybody’s been yipping about.

I don’t care where Covid-19 came from.  It came from China, okay?  Wasting a lot of time and energy trying to find the exact address is bullshit.  It’s like running around trying to identify which particular iceberg hit the Titanic!

Professional athletes earn 5,000 times more money than nurses because – uh — reasons.

First World problems still aren’t real.  They’re a pain in the ass; they’re difficult; they make our lives miserable.  But hot and cold running water, heat, light and a roof over our head is nothing to complain about.

All the scientists and medical people around the world can work flat out for a thousand years and they’re never going to develop a vaccine against stupid.

I really didn’t need all that crap I used to buy at the grocery store every week.

Hearing the same set of common-sense instructions 50 times a day is really annoying.

I don’t care what the “official” data says.  When China (population 1.5 billion) only has twice as many confirmed cases of Covid-19 and fewer deaths than The Netherlands (population 17 million) somebody’s lying.

In a crisis. most people will do the right thing.

In a crisis, celebrities are useless.

Crisis or not, Elon Musk is weird.

Shoehorning someone wearing medical scrubs and a surgical mask into your advertising to sell everything from breakfast cereal to diapers doesn’t mean you’re a caring/sharing/socially responsible contemporary corporation.  It means you’re despicable.

My neighbours are all pretty friendly.  (Who knew?)

Despite the hype, only about half of Netflix is any good.

The Television, Doritos and Pepsi Diet doesn’t work.

I like digital money if, for no other reason, than I don’t have to fight with a pocket full of coins every couple of days.

Zoom is fun — and I only have to dress the top half.

And finally:

The world goes on, and I’m going to go with it.

geese

Photo by C. Bourcier
May 6, 2020 

Our Imaginary World

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Here in the West, we live in the most luxurious, benevolent society in history.  On a daily basis, most of our needs, wants and desires are fulfilled without any of us having to lift a finger.  (Well, that’s not strictly true: we do have to tap a screen or click a mouse.)  Our ancestors may have had to wake up in the morning, hunt, kill and cook their own breakfast, but our world isn’t built that way.  In fact, our survival is so totally guaranteed that the major activity of most folks west of the Vistula is the relentless pursuit of entertainment.  We spend hours playing video games, binge-watching television and scrolling along with that good old-fashioned standby, “surfing the Net.”  The problem is humans aren’t supposed to live in a virtual utopia.  As a species, we dominate this planet because the heart of our existence is adversity.  We need problems the way a shepherd needs sheep.  Without them, he’s just some guy sitting on his ass in a pasture, no purpose in life and no meaning.  A dismal existence at best.  So, when the most perplexing decision we make every day is which Netflix series when, we’ve started to make things up.  We’re manufacturing trouble, hardship and bother to satisfy an intrinsic need in our soul.  Here are just a couple of examples of imaginary difficulties we’ve created out of thin air.

Last week, some YouTube influencer broke up with her boyfriend.  No big deal: romantic drama is one of the high octane fuels we use for Cyberspace travel.  However, after the tears, a lot of emojis and changing her Facebook status, our girl discovered she had an even bigger problem.  She had no idea how to break the sad news to her cat.  That’s right – her cat!  Her concern was Fluffy (not the cat’s real name) would be devastated by the breakup, and she wanted to smooth over the emotional trauma.  Apparently, she’s been soliciting opinions over several social media platforms and, — here’s the weird part — people are trying to help with actual advice.

Meanwhile, in another part of the cyber-forest, there’s a growing concern that quite a few YouTube celebrities and reality TV stars (male and female) are being offered money (a lot of money) for sex.  These offers are coming through Social Media and are sparking a lot of debate over the nature of 21st century privacy, the liberties taken with celebrities and what exactly constitutes prostitution.  Fair enough, but seriously, money for sex is not a nuanced philosophical question.  It’s pretty straightforward: yes, let’s negotiate; and no, you’re an asshole —  end of story.  And, although one celeb who took the money called it “a targeted relationship that progresses over time,” most of the rest of us are under no such illusion.

And finally:

Last Monday was “Blue Monday” which, according to thousands of anonymous sources, is the saddest day of the year.  WTF?  Has our world become so emotionally bland we need to designate a day to crack out the Kleenex?”  In a more civilized time, this kinda crap would never even come up on the panel.  These days, we’re discussing it as if it were real.  It’s not.  And just for the record, Blue Monday was actually invented in 2005 by a vacation company called Sky Travel to sell — wait for it! – vacations.

Enlightenment To Be Demolished

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It came as no surprise today when it was announced on Twitter that The Enlightenment (sometimes called The Age of Reason) will be demolished.  This grand old building stood at the crossroads of our society for over 3 centuries, and is was a beautiful example of Neo-Classical Intellectual architecture.  Its inner courtyard housed the Garden of Knowledge, and over the years, many prominent philosophers (influencers) passed through its Halls of Logic.  At one time, the main entrance was dominated by a statue of Descartes (a dead white guy) but that was removed several years ago.  A radical sect of old people have formed a Facebook group to preserve the foyer’s marble floor with the motto Sapere Aude (dead white language) which, strangely, is actually etched in stone. They have been labelled “divisive” by anybody who really matters, and their efforts will probably fail.  The only decision left is what to do with The Enlightenment’s vast collection of books (really long Tweets, written on paper.)  One spokesperson said, “We thought about burning them, but that would send the wrong message.  So we’re considering just locking them away until everybody forgets about them.”

The idea of The Enlightenment is totally old, and was first proposed by ancient Greek thinkers — notably Socrates, Plato and Aristotle — (more dead white guys) but it took over a millennium of turmoil before it was finally built in the late 17th century.  Over the years, the building was renovated many times but always maintained itself as an institution that nurtured knowledge through logical thought and civilized discourse — although those ideals were never universally accepted.  In fact, throughout its history, The Enlightenment has been continually condemned by tyrants and dictators who demanded it be torn down.  Fortunately, it always managed to survive when free-thinking people stood between it and the demagogue’s wrecking ball.  However, times change, and in the 21st century, the shift in popular culture has left The Enlightenment abandoned and derelict for a generation.  Its broken windows and peeling paint are considered an eyesore by image-conscious contemporaries, but even its harshest critics admit the building is still structurally sound.  Another spokesperson commented, “We’ve been systematically dismantling The Enlightenment for years, but the damn thing just won’t fall down.  It’s making too many people uncomfortable.  It has to go.”

After The Enlightenment is demolished, there are plans to convert the site into a Celebrity Theme Park to promote awareness for a rotating series of trending social injustice issues.  The park will also feature a safe space (with puppies) for university students and areas where celebrities will be flown in to berate ordinary people on a variety of topics.

Despite once being heralded as a bastion against ignorance, the general feeling these days is The Enlightenment’s time is over.  Here are a just a few comments from social media.

“They used to do logic there or something, right?  We don’t need that anymore.  We just get on Twitter and call each other names.  That works.”

“Just because you read those book things, that doesn’t mean you’re smart.  My post-graduate degree is in Alternative Knowledge.”

“Leonardo DiCaprio has like millions of Instagram followers.  How many does The Enlightenment have?  Like none!”

“Good riddance!  People shouldn’t have to conform to Eurocentric rules of conclusion-based thinking.”

In a related story, the apartment building, Freedom of Speech, has been rezoned, and all the tenants have been given a 30-day eviction notice to vacate the premises.