Friday, March 13, 2020

March 10, 11, 12: God Save the King, Anger, Coronavirus

Merton gets in an argument . . .

In the hotel at Lucerne, John Paul and I nearly came to blows (Bonnemaman being on John Paul's side) over the question as to whether the English had stolen the tune of God Save the King from My Country 'Tis of Thee or whether the Americans had cribbed My Country 'Tis of Thee from God Sae the King.  By this time, since I was on Father's British passport, I considered myself English.

This little passage from The Seven Storey Mountain simply proves two things to me: 1)  people get angry and argue over the stupidest things, and 2) anger only makes people do and say things that they later regret.  I am at a point in my life where I have no energy for either argument or anger.  I simply won't accept them any more.  (Or I will TRY not to accept them.)

Since my last post, much has happened in the world, including a declaration of a worldwide pandemic of the coronavirus by the World Health Organization and the shutting down of practically all the universities in the state of Michigan (and around the country).  Yes, that's right folks.  I am now, and at least for the next three weeks, an online, distance-learning professor.  There's no arguing about that.  It's just simply happening.

Another thing there's no arguing about:  the coronavirus is causing a kind of mass hysteria in the United States.  Companies are price-gouging hand sanitizer and toilet paper (of all things!).  There's not a roll of TP to be found at our local Walmart right now.  Ditto, bottles of Purell and the like.  Go on Amazon, and most TP brands are currently out-of-stock.  Ditto, Purell. 

First, the coronavirus has nothing to do with gastrointestinal issues.  It's a respiratory infection.  Kleenex should be the paper product that is out-of-stock.  Second, the fact that large corporations are taking advantage of people at a time of heightened fears is disgraceful, but not surprising.  Big business will always take advantage of customers, given the opportunity.  Cant's argue with that.

Now, don't get me wrong.  Coronavirus is not something to be taken lightly.  It's serious business.  It was right to cancel all the major sporting events--basketball (NBA and NCAA), baseball (MLB), hockey (NHL), and the like.  Right now, the powers-the-be are attempting to control the spread of the virus, and thus reduce the threat of an uncontrolled outbreak.  That's smart.  Can't argue with that. 

However, in the cardiology office where I work, I spoke to patients today who were cancelling life-saving procedures because of the threat of coronavirus.  That makes no sense.  Heart problems can sort of kill people a lot faster than the coronavirus.  It feels as though people think we're going to go through another Spanish flu epidemic of 1918, which infected 500 million people worldwide and killed an estimated 20 to 50 million people.  Let me point out something that people seem to be missing:  IT WAS IN 1918!!  Medicine has sort of made a few advancements since then.

So, there's a lot of hysterical people out there, frightened out of their minds.  Fact.  There's nothing that anybody can do to calm people's anxieties.  That will come with time.  Fact.  It's not the end of the world.  It's a badly handled health crisis that will, eventually, be controlled.

Here's Saint Marty's wisdom for now: 

  1. Calm the fuck down.
  2. Wash your hands.  A lot.
  3. If you are sick, stay home.
  4. If you are really sick, go to the doctor.
  5. Don't get angry.
  6. Don't accept anger from anyone.
  7. Don't argue with stupid people (it only raises your blood pressure).
  8. Don't be a stupid person.

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