I just finished John Berry's "The Great Influenza". What a fascinating book. He writes of the Pandemic Spanish* Flu (that originated in Kansas). Tour de force is an overused description when describing arts and letters, so I'm hesitant to use it when describing this book to others. It was a wildly entertaining and informative ride. The book took me through history and around the world as experimentation and the scientific method replaced observation and deduction as sources for advancing medicine. Today, I know as much about epidemiology and the behavior of germs as I ever will, which speaks more to my limitations than to my accomplishments. Read it.
I see us discussing and debating three things, all the while swimming in the slimy pool that is politics and tribalism.
1) We will play dodge ball with the virus and hope something good happens before we're dead or living in the stone age.
2) We will be saved by a brilliant, tireless, and lucky scientist who finds a cure.
3) We will live modified lives until the virus mutates itself away.
We all want number 2. We're deciding if we prefer choice 1 or choice 3 in the meantime. I'm an anti-intellectual individualist who sees choice 3 > choice 1.
Lightbulb moment. Today's novel corona virus is not yesterday's, and tomorrow's will not be today's.
In true Ground Hog Day film fashion, the informed, rational and reasonable Claude pops his head in and gets a brick between the eyes. Wawrow was half right. He simply left out the charming and informative side of so many conversations.
I posted +/- one week ago about my plans to visit New York in July. I think some people read complaint or inconvenience into my post. Life's good. I have no complaints and it's hard to make me feel inconvenienced. I was angry, but the source of my anger was the empty confidence and cynical posturing that is endemic (pun intended) in our leadership and the tribalism that causes us to echo same without making a case. One good poster suggested I was over thinking. I can certainly over think. I'm just not sure my post required very much wattage in this particular instance. Another good poster suggested I was merely trying to follow the rules as they were announced. He was right. I called, I asked, and ....
... I surrendered.
I hosted a ZOOM meeting with my family on Sunday night. My first time as HOST; I am so modern. I told them I would not be coming up in July. There are some truly important family events we were to celebrate together. I have a son who's graduating from UB, at age 30, with a wife and five kids, after six years in the United States Navy, working full time nights and weekends and going to college during the day. I have in laws in their mid eighties celebrating a wedding anniversary. I'm not sure how many they have left. On July 15, my oldest daughter and her fiancé will decide whether or not to have a September wedding. For those reading this ... I am not complaining or inconvenienced. I am sad. I'm also charging ahead and making new plans. I am a virus, mutating every day.
I made the decision based on the best information I have and my assessment of caused and assumed risk. It's the same process I use when I get into a car or swing a golf club. The equations, the variables, the expected values and the consequences are all different, of course. My daughter's a Type 1 diabetic. So am I. My in-laws are elderly. The political environment is unstable. Easy call, border rules and curve-buster chest swelling both irrelevant.
If you tell me anybody not called doctor, or anyone who lives in one state and not another, speaks with more wisdom than I do ... well, have at it, you brilliant conformist, you!
PS .... PA, you mentioned something about a punch and a kiss ... well, some of my most memorable evenings involved both, oh, so long ago.
* The flu was initially spread by US Soldiers going abroad in WWI. Spain was neutral, and its press was free. Warring nations censored the press and deliberately under reported the flu. It would expose a vulnerability. The world became aware of the illness on a grand scale when Spanish papers published stories about symptoms, spread and death. Oh, and Woodrow Wilson ... near ground zero of another plague that still stalks the world, today.