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More thoughts on the late unpleasantness

By BEN R. WILLIAMS

If you’re a regular reader of this column, then you’re clearly a smart, capable person (and probably strikingly attractive). However, I’m sure you have some friends that are responding to the current global pandemic by being dumb. If so, please share this column with them, either by clipping it out and giving them a copy or just rolling up the entire newspaper and swatting them over the head with it. Thank you in advance!

Hi friend, Ben here. Let’s talk about the Coronavirus pandemic. I’m sure you’re not sick of the topic.

Now look, I’m not going to argue that this whole thing hasn’t been bad for the economy. Unemployment is skyrocketing. Many small businesses that have been forced to close their doors will never be able to reopen. Everything is out of whack, the future is uncertain, and you can’t get a haircut. It’s a real tough time.

I also understand that cabin fever is real. As I’m writing this, I’ve been working from home for better than a month. I only leave the house to go to the grocery store and run other essential errands. I miss seeing my friends and family. I miss tacos. I have a ticket to see Blue Oyster Cult in September, and now I have no idea if the show will even happen. It’s pretty lame.

Having said all that, I’ve been seeing these protests in the news. People are gathering near government buildings in large groups. They’re blocking off traffic to hospitals. They’re carrying rifles and holding up signs saying that the quarantine is tyranny, that Coronavirus is some kind of a hoax, that we have to reopen everything now so we can save the economy.

I’m a compassionate man, and I try to look at a situation from every angle before I render a verdict. Having spent a lot of time thinking about these folks, I have come to the following conclusion: These people are either too dumb to realize just how dumb they are, or they’re a bunch of soft whiny bootlicking diaper babies who have lived their lives so divorced from actual hardship that they think not being able to eat their fast food inside the restaurant where they bought it is tyranny.

You might think that I’m being overly harsh toward these people. Hey, I feel their pain; I’ve done some real stupid stuff in my life that’s caused me a lot of heartache, and they’re even dumber than I am, so I can only imagine how much they must suffer. But these are serious times, and serious times demand a serious, honest response.

If the small but overly vocal group of people who go to these protests were the only ones risking their lives, I wouldn’t be so upset. Heck, I might even toss them a few bucks for magic markers to make their little signs. But the fact is, these folks aren’t just endangering their own lives. They’re endangering my life, and your life, and everyone else’s life, too.

So to all of the heavily-armed wingnuts who show up at state capitol buildings to whine about their rights being trampled on, I say this: I’m really sorry that you can’t go down to P.J. Blorgum’s Steak-A-Ma-Torium and eat a microwaved ribeye while gazing at all the old hubcaps and sun-faded pictures of Marilyn Monroe stuck to the walls, but I’d rather eat frozen pizza at home and ensure the people I care about remain safe.

Yes, quarantine measures are hurting the economy. Yes, it’s going to be tough to fire things back up when this crisis ends. But if you think it’s bad now, just imagine what would happen if we threw all of our safety measures out the window and let this virus run roughshod across the country. It will be a disaster the likes of which we’ve never seen.

I’ve seen people saying that these safety measures and sacrifices are “un-American.”

To those people, I’d like to introduce a fascinating little historical footnote they apparently haven’t heard of: It was called World War II.

Back when Pearl Harbor was attacked in 1941, the American people had to make a lot of sacrifices for the war effort. Supplies were rationed. You could only buy so much gasoline, or meat, or butter, or sugar. Nylon was needed by the military, so some women would paint little lines on the backs of their legs to resemble a nylon stocking seam since they couldn’t buy the real thing. Entire cities had “blackouts,” where all the lights would either be turned off or blocked so that they couldn’t be seen by enemy aircraft or submarines. It was considered your patriotic duty.

My grandma lived through it. She told me that when she was in school, her class saved up so much scrap metal for recycling to help the war effort that they got a picture of a plane they had helped build. A plane!

By the way, you know who isn’t complaining about the quarantine? My grandma. I guess she still remembers what sacrifice really looks like.

 

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