Our national response to Coronavirus side effects has unintended consequences. Many of the children who usually breakfast and lunch at school are not getting fed. The workers who work retail for an hourly wage may be going wageless. The run on toilet paper and paper towels is causing more panic than the stock market’s erratic behavior.
A high energy, high IQ college student, self-described as an extrovert, is “stuck” at home with siblings and parents who may not “get” what she’s up against.
Her college is running internet-only for the time being. The major complaint I heard was that the student was trapped at home, which feels smaller than it felt before the enforced exile.
She is not alone, though surely it must feel that way because -- technically and at least in one sense -- she is.
Post this mess, we will carry on whether half the population is affected or whether it’s 10% or 20. It’s what we do, young person. Do not despair. Chances are you will survive. If you don’t, it won’t matter, no matter what they tell you in church or temple or mosque or at the Atheist Discussion Forum at the Freedom from Religion Foundation.
Will the stock market crash? No one knows. But the stock market is not America, you are.
Things to expect in the meantime:
--As the toilet paper supply continues to diminish, diaper service companies will expand.
--If the cop who pulls you over is wearing a mask, make sure he or she is in a marked car, that the car is from the jurisdiction in which you are accused and that the nametag and badge are visible.
--For your own safety, do not enter a bank while wearing a mask.
--In fact, avoid entering a bank at all if it has a drive-up window you can use.
--Do not eat broccoli. (This is not specifically to avoid the Covfefe Virus, it’s just a general recommendation.)
--Avoid health clubs and gyms. You’re perfect just the way you are.
There are some cases where wearing a mask is counterproductive. Among them:
--In the dentist’s chair.
--When going for that kiss.
--When you are pulled over for a traffic stop, even if the cop is wearing a mask.
--While swimming or scuba diving.
--While hosting a radio or TV show.
--While a contestant on America’s Got Talent, The Voice or American Idol.
--While practicing an operatic role or (heaven help our ears) performing in one. (It’s okay for masks at theatrical musicals, maybe even preferred.)
Let’s get back to our college student. People her age group are in one of two possible phases. One involves a lot of drinking and carousing, tailgating. The Drunken Sailor Phase. The other is the “Save the Whales” phase. No whales required. Stray cats and dogs are excellent substitutes and so are the indigenous peoples of Googamooga Island in the South Pacific.
The trick is to save some of that passion and energy and thought and feelings, remember them and use them to fix what’s wrong. Only not now.
My parents were born in the first decade of the 20th century. They left behind a legacy of optimism, hard work, sensible behavior. Brokaw called them “The Greatest Generation.” Maybe. But my generation screwed it up. And my children, well… I love them. I enjoy them. I try to get them to hang whale posters.
So it’s up to today’s 20-somethings. It’s not going to be easy. It’s not going to happen fast. But it damn well better happen or you’ll be swimming in the Atlantic off the coast of Cincinnati or the Pacific off the coast of Denver.
I’m Wes Richards. My opinions are my own but you’re welcome to them. ®
Any questions? Write to firstname.lastname@example.org
© WJR 2020