Ping-Pong Pandemic

This virus confirmed my suspicions.

We live in an openly free country. With that comes the opportunity to stand in the midst of any need-to-be-right crowd … shouting down any opposing idea or solution to a problem facing the very country in which we live. We can absolutely live our lives believing we are right about any cause and justify that belief any way we choose.

On that basis, we have a viral problem of need-to-be-righters in America. A group of people who, under normal, daily life, would have a nearly nice, neighborly discussion with anybody. A few weeks into this pandemic, I suspect they turned. I’m approaching this from the side of belief (emotion/feeling), not knowledge (science/data) … Emotions are driving the masking debate.

I often asked these folks, “Where, and how, does this end?”. There’s been no clear answer. All of us believe something about masking, but our hidden smiles are the middle not the end. Most of the stringent/hard-core ones I try to talk to are not-so-quietly saying, “Here’s my line in the sand.”. Without realizing it, any real human conversations with them bounce off my once open ears and fall into the closed-minded, need-to-be-right quicksand beneath their feet. Their end is only theirs: an individual conviction. For us remaining on the edge? A sinking feeling. A no answer morass as we are still lost in the jungle of unanswerable questions about a virus still sitting on top of the canopy.

I believe taking a stand on issues is important. This isn’t a treatise on rolling over to every oppression and wrong in America. Certainly fight for what is worth fighting for …

… But this masking “thing” is confirming my suspicions about conforming to a larger societal problem. What to do about our pandemic and a large number of Americans who Just. Need. To. Be. Right. is concerning to me.

I am addressing those shaming and chastising others with opposing views on masking. Others are content doing their daily life’s chores and successes – believing what they believe and acting accordingly … those are not the ones about whom I am concerned.

Let’s simply put aside the politics. That’s a real messy stew. Who did and didn’t do what and when isn’t going to help the meat or veggies go down any better here.


I said no science, but some has to be stated: We have 330 million Americans, roughly. I am assuming we have a pandemic and the testing accuracy is 70/30 to the good. We have numbers similar to the flu, however, the infection rate (spread) is worse and symptoms are not similar. We currently have no vaccine.

…And, a complete lock-down will never, ever happen.

What I am assuming above is amateur level stuff based on my own digging … nothing more. No MSNBC, FOX or media bias scoping. Just me, myself, and I asking around and reading a few articles.

That said, back to my question. How do we get out of this? … and here’s where I can give myself, and you, an answer I believe satisfies the need-to-be-righters and everyone else who is tiring of all the gray area blast-bickering.

Emotions drive the masking debate, so let’s attack it there. Want to be happy about your position … or, have a chance to be proven right? Let’s do it.

Carve out 10% of our populous who won’t mask, period … i.e the most stubborn among the stubborn, or those with legitimate medical issues. Since the remaining 300 million – that’s us, folks – probably (presumably) will never agree to a complete lock-down, all of us either mask or don’t mask for forty days. What’s 40 days, right? We get to the end of August and see what happens.

This mask or no mask fence-sitting cannot continue. It’s ripping us apart. These hawkishly leering positions need to be sling-shotted off their perches of righteous indignation and proven right, or wrong. At least in the short-term, let’s get some answers.

Option #1) NO MASKING Now, obviously, no masking could end up ridiculously bad. The virus takes hold and does its thing among the elderly, immuno-compromised, and otherwise susceptible. If not, those need-to-be-righters not masking can claim victory. I really, really hope this never happens, btw.

Option #2) MASKING All of us mask, and see what the numbers tell us in 40 days. No changes in infection spread would mean the masks did not work and we are, as a country, forced into another plan of action. If the numbers go down significantly, those need-to-be-righters who are masking can claim victory.

For my life and the lives of my loved ones, this is the only way we are going to find out where the end is. Existing in a society where this-and-thats keep going back and forth about masking is the ping-pong pandemic that will never end. Two people, needing to be right all the time, hold opposing paddles of emotion while whacking a little opinion ball back and forth, trading points, and voicing vitriolic volleys are getting us nowhere. The umpire’s useless, the referee’s retreating, and spectators are not-so surprisingly sendentarily stupified.

My vote is option #2. Why can’t the 300 million of us come together and simply mask for forty days and see what happens? Be Americans. Quit the fighting about who is right or wrong, left or right, Republican or Democrat, cute or ugly, tall or short, funny or dull. I want to see some kind of results somewhere … not just keep playing some game at the net.

If we don’t soon unite as a county, this pandemic is not going to end. Both sides can’t be right at the same time. And, it’s not just a virus. The divide along all lines – politics, race, economics, gender, religion, etc – is going to expand and we’ll never recover IF we can’t find some common, acceptable ground upon which to stand.

The mask hanging in the picture belongs to someone who cares.

Be that someone, please. If you are outside and can social distance, don’t wear your mask if you don’t want to. I don’t. (Caveat: I work outside behind a grill – and it’s hot – so, there’s that … also, inside every business I do wear a mask). Inside? I’d recommend it because that’s what the experts want us to do. Avoid large crowds, wash your hands, and if you’re not feeling well at all … stay home.

I don’t need to be right about anything. I’ve been wrong about more things than the Inspector has gadgets. This virus has confirmed my suspicions, however, about too many needing to be right at the cost of possibly being wrong in the long run.

That cost is too much for me to pay. I’ll continue to mask. Maybe 299,999,999 other Americans will join me and we’ll meet up again August 31st, 2020 to celebrate a ZERO on the ping-pong pandemic scoreboard.

Has It Been That Long?

Where does the time go?

Two weeks ago – if you asked me – I would have replied, “Not a chance.” to the question, “Do you believe there would come a time when writing every day, or every other day, on your blog would be difficult?”

This is a (minor) tragedy of this isolation. It is also my timely obituary of same. The bell has rung. Time to put the ‘ole boy down. Just about out of patience with an eely, slithery, invisible, politically-leeched, internationally famous infection known as coronavirus, the ‘rona, “Covid-19”, or whatever moniker you choose to slap on it.

It’s a constant of insolent data through mindless Coronavirus task force briefings, internet sloth and blather, hours of staring down into the same group of dirty dishes, opening cans of reasonably low sodium soup, and shuffling paperwork. Masking while asking, distancing and whincing, peering at my peers through little social media screens … these are the supposed normals to be accepted. They are also among little beat-downs in the heavy bag tied around my waste of time. Thus, almost two weeks of empty screens … no words to share.

I don’t feel alone, however. Most of us are really off any regular schedule. It’s 3:50 a.m. and not too uncommon for me to be up, but over on the Facebook side of my life, life is vibrant, colorful and very active. The friendly zoo cages of likes and opinions are happily unlocked which has been the case since the lockdowns started. It also reflects a time when crumb-critters-kiddos are in bed, dogs, cats and gerbils are nose-nestled in their torsos, and adults aren’t quite awake enough to spaddle each other (I’ll let you define that term). So, social media it is.

The problem before me has been experiences. I’m limited in my “Hey, you’s!”, and “Waz’ ups?”. Five to ten seems to be the magic number of humans the universe is allowing me to wallow with on a daily basis. Now, either I am a not worthy a higher number as determined by a supreme people-power-purveyor, or my lack of a regular shower schedule precedes me. I need interaction to create words. Imagination is wonderful to a degree, but when the heat is turned up from boredom and lack of human contact, interest burns as quickly as people run when you cough these days.

No disrespect to what we’re trying to do here. I get all of it. My blog is so insignificant to the bigger universe of ideas, models, testings, procedures, lives, businesses, countries, states, politics, finances, … all of the nouns we can assign to the times in which we live. This has been – and will continue to be – a big deal throughout 2020.

I’m not assigning blame to anyone for my current state of malaise. Ennui, unfortunately, is an intended consequence of isolation-idleness and I’m, quite simply, not happy about it. For example, “blah” and “whatever” should not be used in more than fourteen sentences daily …. but I do, and this is not good. I’ve organized throws and blankets by colors and size, rearranged my hoards of piano music eighty-eight times, flicked through Netflix until my thumb was numb, played enough hands of free internet poker to poke my eyes out, and have dishpan-man hands. All if this to, apparently, avoid writing on this blog – without knowing it.

Now, I don’t want to sell myself short here. In the midst of all, I have been keeping up to date with my dad’s grocery order and calling him every day. He has the same dozen-or-so items keeping him alive and I’m grateful for his dietary consistency. This makes my masked grocery trips for him quick and easy. His attention to necessary isolation has been a wonderful opportunity for us to connect as father and son.

As well, I have connected with my pianistic past by recording daily pieces … uploading them to Facebook for perusal. So, I can’t say all has been a complete waste bin of idleness. I have enjoyed some of the moments spent.

It’s now 4:50 .. Where does the time go? Well, today will be another day pretty much like the past forty-five. I’ll eat a Clif-bar, drink some hot tea, and scurry atop my fifty-ish feet, wearing out the path in the carpet I’ve worn down through many trips to the sad refrigerator.

All is not lost, however. May 1st I am opening up my business. After almost six months – four normal for winter break and two from mandatory shutdown – the community will once again have Doug’s Dawgs at their service for lunch. I am so opening up my world.

Experiences I need in a way only my idleness and eye-rolling can understand. There will be masking and social distancing because, because,….. those are the normals now. For how long? Who really knows. All I know is … there’s not a chance of ever saying, “never” when asked about anything because we don’t know what’s in our future. Ever. Just ask me. Maybe two weeks from now I’ll write about it? Hopefully sooner if I don’t have anything else to do.