You Know What’s Crazy? I’ll Tell You What’s Crazy?™
The world has gone mad.
Rational behavior has been extirpated like a dirty surface sanitized with Clorox.
COVID 19 has stripped us of normalcy, like a red hot poker shoved up our backsides.
It burns but there is nothing we can do to ameliorate the stinging sensation.
Wash our hands and cough into our sleeve, the experts say.
Try not to cough in public because sooner or later someone will call you a witch and the mob will try and burn you at the stake.
The Pandemic Paranoia is growing.
In this new world of contagious fear, the mathematics of survival are now upon us.
We count the rolls of toilet paper we have horded. How many bowel movements do we average divided by how many days supply we have. This dictates when we will have to horde again.
It’s sadly appalling.
In the meantime, we are haunted by a News Media consumed with nothing but Corona Virus updates. It perpetuates an on line paranoia that rots like an untreated wound.
In 1933, Franklin D. Roosevelt said, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”
Well, hang on to your ass, everyone, because this global pandemic is mainlining fear into your frontal lobe.
Covid 19 is the invisible monster.
It kills some.
It makes many others sick.
But it mostly doesn’t do anything to anybody.
At least not seriously, or not for long.
Still, fear has wrapped around us like a contagion filled octopus crushing us into pulp.
Life is a petri dish where sanitizing gel has become more valuable than a condom in the Fantasy Suite on the Bachelor.
Nothing exists now without the Covid 19 fear monkey clinging to our back, strangling our rational thoughts one brain cell at a time.
It’s the weekend. The weather is gloomy and a hint of rain is in the air.
Normally I’d see dog walkers, and children skate boarding. There are none.
Normally, I’d see the stretch pant wearing peleton riding their 12 speed bikes, taking up the entire roadway, as if nobody else exists.
But this weekend?
This weekend there’s only a hollow thud of what life once was.
It’s as if everyone has gone on Spring Break and I am left alone in a community on lock down.
There’s a palpable fear in the air.
Citizens are nervous.
I read a community notice that asked anyone if they had a tent so they could camp outside the local supermarket.
Apparently the inspector Clouseau’s of this community have discovered the toilet paper truck is unloading a pallet of Charmin at 6:30 am.
In this monkey stained era of fear and unease, sleeping on the sidewalk outside the Publix is now the new norm.
Fear is tangible. It has a signature.
I walked by a woman on the sidewalk, Saturday.
She was dressed in tight fitting work out garb. She was all in black, layers of clothes, a hat pulled tight across her ears.
She looked like a Scuba diver wading through a sea of Ebola virus.
As our orbits drew us closer, walking down the average size sidewalk, I could feel the intensity of the moment.
She was scared. She was moving quickly, one step ahead of the invisible Covid 19 that will assuredly catch us all if we slow down, if we take time to think about what is really happening.
As we got within ear shot of one another, she stepped into the grass. It was a pronounced gesture. She was willing to step into the wet, dewy, muddy, possibly dog doo lined grass, simply to avoid my presence.
As the scuba walker neared me, I thought to myself; Why. Why did she feel compelled to avoid me. I had no intention of physical contact. I never thought we would embrace, square dance or share cooking recipes.
Was the fear so vivid in her anxious mind that she moved into the grass to avoid our air molecules colliding with one another as we passed?
Is the invisible fear known as Covid 19, so pernicious that simply moving into the gravitational realm of another human could cause disease?
I don’t know. I’ll never know for sure.
She smiled. It was theatrical and fake. Her eyes were darting beads of anxiety. They scanned me quickly, summarizing the possibility that I might be a carrier of the Covid 19.
Better to step into the grass, wet and possibly lined with dog crap, than possibly inhale a spore from a fellow human.
And so it continued. Everywhere I went. Fear and desolation and awkward pauses of social brevity.
People are nervous, afraid to interact, to engage, to live life.
I opened up the window Sunday morning.
By 9 am, I usually hear the sound of children shrieking and birds chirping. Spring is just a stone’s throw away. Certainly someone has fired up a lawn mower?
The silence is so loud, it has it’s own frequency.
Perhaps this is what fear sounds like in a vacuum.
The air is heavy like invisible mud.
I scan the street, looking for zombies chewing on bloody skulls.
I look for jackal beasts, their fangs exposed, Covid 19 shards of death protruding from their snotty snarls.
It’s not to be found.
It’s quiet. It’s empty. But the fear is 3 atmospheric pressures deep.
My ears haven’t popped, as I descend into the murky depths of this unknown, but my sensors are tingling. It’s uncomfortable, like a jolt of electricity that shoots up your jaw when you chew on tin foil.
Somewhere someone has hung a scarecrow on a cross, and all life has flown away.
I saw a post on Facebook. Someone I know writing from a fear bunker said:
Don’t go out. It’s Arrogant and selfish. Stay home.
The pandemic has permeated the continuum of social expectations.
This abnormal call to arms is the new normal in an upside down world.
The media is reporting every single case of Covid 19. Every minute of every hour of every day, there is an update that we don’t really need to see.
It is yet another log on the fire of fear.
It creates more smoke, more haze, more heat.
Have you watched the News?
Did they report anything other than Covid 19?
Is there anything else?
Have murderers taken a sabbatical? Have the Meth Dealers gone on Spring Break?
I’ll bet more people died on the interstate near your home this weekend than died from the Covid 19 Pandemic.
Go ahead, bet me on that? You’ll lose.
Here’s the thing.
The virus is real. But perception is reality.
And the reality is that the zombie apocalypse is upon us.
It’s easy to think this.
Every news program spends every moment filling the space between local car commercials with a frightening, repetitive message.
COVID 19. COVID 19. COVID 19.
The graphics are red and bold and frightening.
Sometimes they pulsate like a heart that is quivering with fear.
The anchors walk from one end of the studio to the other. They talk solemnly as if they are addressing a funeral with an open casket nearby. Behind them is a wall of fear, words and imagery that jump into your living room like bloody vampire bats, sucking on your pupils, injecting venom into your brains.
Fear. Fear. Fear.
Every new case is reported.
DAVIDSON COUNTY CASES OF CONFIRMED COVID HAVE JUMPED FROM 14 TO (drum roll) 15!
What do you think about this Sally?
I don’t know Elvis, What do you think?
Oh Me Oh My.
Let’s toss it live to Jim standing in front of the Health Department.
And so it goes.
It’s a treadmill of non stop fear.
It’s the equivalent of breaking into coverage every time someone sneezes.
I understand if someone dies. Go to Jimmy at the Health Department.
Jim what can you tell us?
Well, Elvis and Sally. 15 is definitely 1 more than 14.
Yes, it is Jim. Yes it is.
The key to this report? So far, NOBODY HAS DIED IN DAVIDSON COUNTY.
As far as I know, all 14 confirmed cases wiped their nose, wiped their ass, and then did the unthinkable.
THEY GOT WELL.
Get sick and then Get Well.
OR IN THE CASE OF MOST OF US. NEVER GET SICK AT ALL!
Even the calmest among us are susceptible to the constant barrage of Corona noise.
It’s hard to remember the mantra of be calm, don’t panic, Wash your hands, when all you see is an upside down world.
EVERYTHING IS CLOSED.
It’s like a giant snow day across the planet, except nobody is outside playing.
Many people have gotten the Corona Virus. Many people have recovered from the Corona Virus.
This is my headline.
MOST PEOPLE WILL NOT DIE. MOST PEOPLE WILL NOT GET THE VIRUS.
As Franklin D. Roosevelt said, all we have to fear is fear itself.
He said that in 1933, 87 years ago.
There were no pulsating, blood graphics then. He just used his voice, as families gathered around the radio during a fireside chat.
Remember. Be calm. Don’t be scared. Wash your hands. Turn off the News.
And if someone approaches you on the sidewalk; don’t step in the dog crap.
Politely walk by, smile and say good morning.
The Corona Virus is not going to kill you.