My state has recently upped the ante with its farcical and cowardly lockdown decrees, which means (among other things) I can no longer visit the library. Ladies and gentlemen, this was the last goddamn straw...
I'm done. I've fucking had it. I can't stomach any more of this shit. First it was the so-called “no-contact” book returns. Then it was only ten people admitted to the library at a time. Now (apparently) nobody can borrow any books at all. Oh, but we’re just trying to keep you safe, Mr O’Flannery… We’re just trying to make sure everybody’s safe…
Shove it, lady.
Suck my angry Irish inch.
You let me worry about my own safety. I’m 84 years old, probably in the at-risk pool for The Crotch (which is how I’ll be referring to Coronavirus from now on), and I don’t give a damn. If I die, so be it. Reading and drinking are the only pastimes left to me at this point. Now what am I supposed to do? Talk to Gladys? Are you nuts! No, it's time we all grow the fuck up.
I have a number of points here, which you may want to read:
1) Our Language Is Ruined
This is a minor complaint, but if I hear any more moronic drivel about safety, I’m going to crash my temporary vehicle into a daycare facility. I’ll do it too, by God. Don’t tempt me. We’ll see just how safe you can keep everybody then.
Excuse me, you’re mask isn’t quite covering your nose. You need to lift up your mask, sir. We just want to keep you safe, sir.
First of all, it isn’t in your power to keep me (or anyone) completely safe. That is in the hands of the Almighty and His angels. Second of all, whatever happened to a simple apology? Has anyone else noticed this? In the past, when a business or an office inconvenienced its customers, they would always say something like, “We’re sorry, but due to…” and then explain whatever it was that forced them to change their policy.
Nowadays, such statements are dressed-up as if they were incontestable moral principles. To help keep our environment safe, this store is now cashless. That was a real sign I saw. Some asshole actually wrote that. Nowhere did he think to include a “We’re sorry…” for those customers who might prefer to pay in cash – aka REAL MEN. It probably never even occurred to him.
This is all part of the moral confusion I’ve written about before. Too many people mistake having “fashionable opinions” for living an ethical life. If I just spout my righteous dogmas every now and then, that makes me a good person, right? Wrong. That merely renders you an insufferable twit.
2) Everything Has Failed
Everything the country has tried to mitigate the spread of the Crotch has utterly failed. It spreads whether we lock down or not. It spreads whether we stand six feet apart or not. It spreads whether we wear masks or not.
Will it spread faster if we didn’t adopt all these phony-baloney rules?
Should we care?
Here’s a question no-one seems to be asking: Why exactly do we want to slow it down...?
I’m completely serious. This isn’t a joke. Can somebody tell me why we want to drag this out? Initially, the reason given was to avoid overloading our hospitals – which, for the record, I was completely on-board with – flatten the curve and all that.
There was a psychological reason too. Way back in March, nobody knew exactly what we were dealing with - which is why you saw panicky cretins tussling over toilet paper at the Walmart. I swear, Jesus Christ Himself could come down from heaven, bringing peace and joy to all mankind, and the same goddamn people would be fighting over toilet paper.
Anyway, when the Crotch landed upon our shores, the mayors and governors reached for the only tool available to them at the time: lockdowns. But not severe draconian lockdowns that might actually be effective. Half-hearted superficial lockdowns meant to make a certain noisy slice of the population... feel safe.
This state of affairs has remained the default position ever since. It's been EIGHT GODDAMN MONTHS. We haven't stopped this thing. Cases are spiking everywhere. We have, at most, slowed it down a little. All the while torpedoing broad swaths of the economy, immiserating millions, robbing children of their schooling, and driving the rest of us apoplectic with rage.
That's where we're at right now. Never mind that we've learned much more about the Crotch and how to treat it. Never mind we've put millions of people out of work. Never mind thousands of small businesses are going belly-up - naturally, the big fish are swimming along just fine (even better than fine). Forget all that, just so long as Aunt Karen and Aunt Nancy and the occasional Uncle Andrew feel safe, then mission accomplished.
Fuck you, Karen, Nancy, and Andrew. Fuck you and your fucking safety. I say, let's rip this goddamn band-aid off. Because...
3) The Crotch Just Ain’t That Bad
I'm sorry to tell you this. I didn't know if you knew this or not. But people tend to die. They get old, they get sick, and then they die. If I've got health problems up the wazoo, how much can I complain that I caught the Crotch and croaked? Something would've killed me eventually. Probably within the year. Maybe within two. So, I missed a few years circling the drain. Oh, well.
The big statistic thrown about lately is 250,000 deaths. Alright, so what? What're you comparing that number against? What portion of that figure would’ve died within six months had the Crotch not come along? Answer me that. I suspect the percentage is exceedingly high. Sadly, no-one seems to have analyzed the numbers that way, or if they have, our intrepid pressman have seen to it that such findings never see the light of day.
Still, we're not fucking stupid. Most of us know someone who's caught the Crotch by now. And in case you don't, here's what happens for the 99.98% of people who do: You stay home. That’s it. That’s the treatment plan. You stay home and play with yourself for a week or two. I expect that’s the usual routine for most of you, anyway.
I have a sneaking suspicion that deep down, even the shrillest, most obnoxious Mask Queens know the Crotch is really just a slightly worse version of the flu. I mean, the ordinary flu kills people too. So does pneumonia, and cancer, and heart disease, and many other familiar maladies, and we don't freak out over any of them.
Hell, I know one lady who wears her stupid mask in the goddamn car, but still insists on going shopping and playing bingo - Gladys is in the same group, I fear. I labored mightily to point out this contradiction to her, but without much luck. I think she likes taking excessive precautions in one area (in order to feel good about herself), but avoids precautions in another area (because that would mean making a personal sacrifice or two).
I hope she never wins at bingo ever again.
4) Viruses Don't Kill People, I Kill People
Now, if people actually took a moment to consider the moral dimensions of this (or any) contagion, they might actually find themselves in interesting territory. The difficulty boils down to this: What is the extent of my responsibility to my fellow man?
If I walk past an old geezer having a heart attack and do nothing – not even to call for help – have I, in some sense, killed him? What if I witness a man eating a greasy hamburger (or visiting Taco Bell) and fail to stop him? Have I, in some sense, contributed to the heart disease that will eventually spirit him away?
Or take the flu. It is almost a certainty that every one of us has caught the flu at some point, and it is just as certain we have passed it on to somebody else. It is quite possible you or I spread it to somebody, who themselves spread it on, and so on, and so on - until it eventually reached a sad sack who died from it. Does that make you or I a murderer?
And what about the Crotch? If I directly spread it to someone who dies from it, then clearly I bear some responsibility, right? But what if I'm merely one in a long chain of transmission? Am I still a murderer? Is everyone in the chain a murderer, or only the last few links?
If you can't satisfactorily answer those questions, you have no business lecturing the rest of us about our civic or moral duties. End of story. Period.
5) They’re Called Balls, Grow Some
And finally, the cold hard truth. Our time in this world is ticking away the moment we enter it. None of us know the precise day or hour, but we all know, sooner or later, the end will come. That's life. Nobody ever said it was perfect. We have to do the best we can with the time we have.
If you do nothing but think about all the things that could kill you on any given day, you'll probably never get out of bed. You'd never go for a walk, or see the sunshine, or listen to birdsong, or have a nice meal, or fall in love. In a way, you're dead already. All that's left to do is box you up.
A little stoicism would do us good here. A little courage in the face of a world marred by malevolence and random tragedy. In other words, grow some goddamn rocks.
What? Do you think it's the government's responsibility to ensure every citizen lives for as long as they possibly can?
If so, then we should immediately do the following: outlaw all automobiles, outlaw all liquor, sweets, and fatty foods, certainly outlaw all firearms (and permanently lock-up anybody who obtains them illegally, no parole whatsoever), move every single person into padded cells (for their own protection), and forbid anyone from going outside except under police supervision.
Would you like to live in that kind of world?
Then shut the fuck up.
I don't want to hear any more crap about If we can only save a single life... If you make that your guiding principle, you'll get an authoritarian police-state in no time flat. But of course, that's ridiculous, you might say. Poppycock! Balderdash! I'm just making a reductio ad absurdum.
Well, no shit.
Time for a quick civics lesson. In a republic like ours, the government is primarily tasked to secure our lives and our liberty - but in many instances, those two things are in conflict. Speed Limits represent just one of innumerable compromises between the two concerns. At no time can both our lives and our liberty be perfectly safeguarded.
It is the duty of the wise legislator to navigate these waters and reach the best compromises he can. And I would hope, as an American, that whenever a hard choice has to be made, the legislator will always err on the side of liberty.
But alas, our legislators seem to have almost no involvement whatsoever in these pusillanimous lockdown edicts. Mayors and governors have grasped at emergency powers to become petty dictators - and the ease with which they have done so should be more frightening than any of the drama of the Crotch debacle.
In our over-reaction to the Crotch, we have embraced tyranny and it sickens me. This is precisely what the Founding Fathers were rebelling against. They were not angered over taxation in principle. They were outraged by the ARBITRARY POWER that decreed the taxation.
So is it here. Almost no-one is against basic precautions. What troubles many of us is the arbitrary power being wielded to effect these measures – and even more worrisome, the meek compliant attitude shown by so many of our countrymen when confronted with bald-faced tyranny. To paraphrase the great Benjamin Franklin, “If the people exchange their liberty for security, they shall get neither in the end.” How right he was.
We are dealing with the worst of both worlds: imperious lockdowns and an unhindered pandemic. I say let's concentrate all our resources towards protecting those for whom the Crotch is a valid concern – by that, I mean the elderly and people in ill-health. Everybody else is on their own.
It’s time to put a stop to this nonsense before our once great nation degenerates into a laughingstock. It may already be too late. Dear God, you couldn't have sent a plague that killed our entire media and political establishment, could you? No, you just had to send this one.
Just for that, I'm skipping church this week.
P.S. My thanks to the readership for their outpouring of support on the matter of my beloved Cutlass. I was deeply touched. A very happy Thanksgiving to you all.