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.

The Luxury of 85 Percent

A very short post today. Not a day for long reads, as most of my energy was spent elsewhere. Sleeping, mainly. It’s exhausting trying to do nothing while expected to do everything. This isolated, mandated, stay-at-home unproductive shifting around the house drains my ever-loving energy. With that in mind, consider the following brief, Nobel committee submission:

Did some thinkin’ today. What else other than “thinkin” is there to do, right?

This is a peaceful, little, calm discussion.

The pandemic of 1917-1919 took 675,000 US lives, according to the CDC’s own numbers. Based upon the estimated population at the time of 104 Million, that number is 0.65%. There are no stats as to what % of those deaths resulted from pre-existing conditions, so let’s assume all of them were directly related to the pandemic.

We are at 325 Million in 2020. With the above % as a base line, we should expect 2.1 Million deaths. Obviously, current projections (models) don’t even come close. We are, hopefully, not going to be even 15% of that number.

The difference is not only information, but also the speed at which our understanding and knowledge travels. Seems so ordinary, everyday to us.

We can differ significantly about who did what, where this went, and what happened when – all good for our national dialogue. Let’s, also, never forget the 85% margin of grace we enjoy that the folks of 100 years ago never had. Our luxury of advanced technology and medical science is a gift.

Let’s not abuse it by arguing too much.