“Keep your head.”
I have noticed a fair amount of people, both on the left and on the right, are losing their minds in the comment-sections of various posts at various sites. I’ll skip repeating their views, except to say they tend to be one-sided. I’d like to counter this tendency by, in my simple way, reminding people that unity is not one-sided. The strength of being united, whether it be in a marriage, or in a two-party-system, comes from Understanding (with a capital “U”) which neither side can have alone. A cyclops has no depth perception. However two eyes, with differing views, gain a third thing neither eye has alone, when they harmonize. This Depth Perception (with a capital “D” and “P”) is lost if and when we panic and retreat into selfishness, which is seen when people hoard, price-gouge, shun, hate, etc., etc., etc.
Not that we shouldn’t have the common sense to make sure we stock up on certain items, but there is a difference between “stocking up” and “hoarding”.
I heard of one person who bought two huge 60-roll packages of toilet paper, when they used about one roll a week. However their greed attracted greed, and someone shattered the back window of their SUV and stole their two-year’s-worth of tissue. To me this is a perfect example of how greed wastes our time and energy and rear windows, whereas generosity takes one down a totally different path.
We are seeing some hoarding here in New Hampshire. Toilet paper can’t be found. But I’m not worried. Brillo pads work.
All our local schools are closed down for at least three weeks. Why couldn’t this have happened back when I was in grade school? I would have been on cloud nine! But now I’m a bitterly disappointed old man, because my grandson’s basketball team had fought its way to the finals for the State Championship, and then the big game was canceled.
The sad shape of my ex-smoker lungs makes me a prime candidate for extinction, but I refuse to be cowed. Any ‘flu could kill me, and while I take more care to dress warmly than I once did, and eat more wisely and drink less, I think one of the worst things for a man’s immune system is to live in dread, while one of the most stimulative things is hope, faith, and bounding about being positive, (or at least huffing and puffing about being positive.)
We couldn’t really close down our Childcare, as the doctors and nurses are going to need someone to watch their kids. If they are going to accept risk for the rest of us, someone should accept risk for them. I don’t want to run away from germy children the way people ran away from my family, when we all had polio during the final outbreak before the vaccine in 1954, so I am pretending to be a Christian Scientist like an old, French nanny who came striding into my overwhelmed Grandmother’s kitchen and saved the day when I was two. I can barely remember her, other than that she looked like the guy on Quaker Oats packages, but apparently she remained nearly a year, and I spoke French before I spoke English. My father was a surgeon and my mother was a nurse, and as a medical family we tended to look down our noses at Christian Scientists, but we made an exception in her case. What a difference she made!
Kindness has consequences we may not live to see. For example my father might not have even been conceived, were it not for a kindness. Two years before my Dad was born my Grandfather was apparently very ill with the Spanish Flu’ in occupied Germany in 1918, but his commanding officer refused to send him to the crowded hospital (where soldiers died in droves) and instead stuck him upstairs in the building they had seized as a headquarters, so his bed looked out the broken window of an airy room in a castle, and in the fresh air he survived. One thing they learned in 1918 was the people forced to sleep out in the elements in tents, rather than in the wards, had a far higher survival rate.
In any case my wife and I have made our Childcare into an all-outside-all-the-time operation, with no indoor activities. I get a big fires going in the pasture, and erected a tent for napping outside, which heavy, wet snow promptly collapsed. Judging from frantic parents we were expecting 25 kids our first day, (and had to get a waiver from the state, allowing us to go over our limit of 17,) but then only 5 kids actually showed up that day. I expect we’ll just have to fly by the seat of our pants until things settle down.
I read an interesting things about how viruses mutate. They tend to become kinder and gentler, because the most vicious mutations kill their hosts too fast to spread much. The “Spanish ‘Flu” apparently passed through the USA, without much ado, but once aboard crowded troop-ships and in crowded camps and trenches the more vicious mutations got going. The new strains were nasty in Europe, but not so bad as they passed back through the USA, as many had already experienced a weaker version of the same virus, which acted like a sort of vaccine. But when the same virus reached Polynesia more than half the population succumbed, on some islands. In any case, I’m hoping the virus mutates in a kinder and gentler way before I get it.
Also I hope they may have chanced on a sort of cure. In Asia they’ve thrown everything but the kitchen sink at this ‘flu, (as well as prior ‘flues), in essence trying out a thousand drugs, and seeing 999 didn’t help much, but have bungled upon a malaria drug, a sort of quinine, that holds great promise.
So we shall see what we shall see. If my time is up, well, so be it. I just hope I show the class I saw my Mother and Father display when considering atomic war, back when I was around three. (People forget there were not all that many A-bombs back then, and some thought destruction might not be “mutual”, and we several times teetered on the brink of a war which would have been horrific.) (Because this memory dates from the Suez Crisis of 1956 when I was only three I was dubious to its authenticity, so I checked with my mother about what I recalled, back around 1980, and she stated my memory was surprisingly accurate,)
They went down in vast cellar of our three story suburban, Victorian house with an MIT student who was living with us and helping with chores my Dad couldn’t do, (because he’d had polio). Each was sipping an Old Fashioned, and Dad and the student were discussing engineering a fallout shelter, talking about how bricks stop radiation, as my mother calculated the spacing for beds and the oxygen needed for a kitchen. My Dad abruptly became impatient, deciding the shelter was a dumb idea, scowling in irritation at the ceiling and envisioning three stories of burning wood collapsing downwards. (I thought a bomb shelter was a great idea for a fort, and likely got a scowl for chirping my opinion.) But what I recall most was that it was decided the engineering student would head for Canada with us four kids (which sounded like great fun) as Mom and Dad stayed in Boston to “treat the burned.” I’ve always thought that was a classy choice, arrived at during those trying times.
Trying times have returned. Currently the doctors and nurses of the world are all being tested, and most are being classy. I pray they get the appreciation and help they deserve.
If you are in the mood to read the poetry of an unknown ancient poet, involving facing “pestilence”, among other things, read Psalm 91. (It’s where the “In God We Trust” on the money of the United States came from.)
All gatherings are cancelled here, including church. But the preacher I currently enjoy, (a Puerto Rican from the Bronx, now working in my mother’s childhood neighborhood,) preaches online, and his very vocal congregation types in their “Amen’s” (and other comments) from keyboards rather than pews. His first out-of-auditorium sermon was a decent look at Psalm 91, and on having hope in an epidemic. (Skip first 6 minutes to skip music, and skip first 29.30 to get to Psalm 91).
I hope everyone stays well, and we all are looking back and laughing about all this in July.
“Keep Your Head”.