Sporadically deadly, choosy in its victims, the COVID-19 era is staggering into the dumpster of obsolete diseases.
Luck and science will soon end it and medical historians will then go about comparing it to previous disasters. Coronavirus will be found lacking. Global suffering in 2020 was not on a par with the Irish potato famine in the 1840s, the Spanish Flu of 1919 or Disco Fever in the mid-1970s.
In contrast, our Pandemic Lite has been no more than a tap of the pause button in the day-to-day hamster wheel spin of 21st century life.
Chirping media dullards keep burbling about how wonderful and normal life will soon be, always with a reminder that together we’ve experienced the most trying dozen months in the planet’s history. It’s enough to make you nauseous with flu-like symptoms.
COVID, the real deal: No one missed a meal and no one got stuck in a traffic jam. Nobody missed a funeral or a wedding because there weren’t any. Lost loved ones were mostly parked at convalescent homes, already awaiting delivery unto the hereafter.
The heat stayed on, lights stayed lit, you could take six hot showers a day and dry yourself with a roll of toilet paper after each. Your mother-in-law didn’t come visit.
Netflix, HBO and ESPN kept us all sagged onto our living room couches gaining a couple pounds weekly, our trouser fabric slowly interweaving with threads in the sofa cushions. We should have invested in Doritos stock. The World Series and Super Bowl played on schedule. Kids stayed home from school all year, so by 2030 they’ll be telling funny stories about having been taught reading and arithmetic by drunken parents.
Overall things went pretty well, though not perfect. No one’s house got burglarized because we were always home. Stress and anxiety rattled those who specialize in being stressed and anxious, so they fretted over Dr. Seuss books, plastic potato heads and whether Abe Lincoln is as Woke as their favorite talk show host. COVID’s fault: zero.
Journalists wept salty puddles because COVID prevented big family crowds at their Thanksgiving or Christmas dinners, forgetting they’ve been whining for 30 years about all the stress and anxiety of attending big holiday dinners.
Government employees got paid fulltime whether doing something useful or not. You and I got checks in the mail but had nowhere to spend them since the money came from the same governing agencies busy strangling the economy.
When stores and restaurants finally reopen we will have already spent our stimu-checks online at Amazon. And on weed. Some liquor, sure. Overall we spent very little on oxycontin or fentanyl patches. Maybe a few hookers.
Nobody complained about the high cost of gasoline because we averaged three weeks to the gallon. Those with jobs had early morning meetings on Zoom and drank Scotch out of coffee cups. Nobody went to the library, but nobody goes to the library anyway. We spent lots of up-close time with our spouses. As I said, it wasn’t perfect.
The Ukiah High Class of 2020 dodged its sweaty, brain-deadening graduation ordeal held each year under a broiling sun and featuring cliche-filled, hypnosis-level tedium, followed by the thrill of listening to every graduate’s name recited.
NOTE: If you’re sad to have missed graduation ceremonies just wrap yourself in a plastic shower curtain, sit on a folding chair under a beastly midday sun and have someone read EJ Dionne columns at you for five hours.
For a year no teenager complained about cafeteria food, and parents didn’t mutter and swear dropping off and picking up kids in school parking lots. The Wildcats went undefeated in every sport. That’s a sentence UDJ sports editor Glen Erickson would have happily paid $50 to type just once in his decades-long career.
No one picked up a DUI coming home from a bar, and no one complained about the high cost of a ticket at the Ukiah Theater, the Ukiah Playhouse or the Ukiah Speedway. Many of us were delighted to go a year without anyone hugging anyone else.
Also: What if the county hadn’t hired that pair of full-time health officers to dream up Covidiotic policies? We could have rented a couple life-size mannequins from Ukiah’s shut-down JC Penney store, dressed ’em in doctor outfits, given ’em offices and then followed COVID instructions from Sonoma or Lake County.
Those hundreds of thousands of dollars spent on Drs. Doohan and Coren should have been showered on us instead, and we could have thrown ourselves a big party.
Ahh, well. Maybe next pandemic.