There’s nothing wrong with a little patience

There’s nothing wrong with a little patience

It’s beginning to look a lot like normal.

Whether it’s the result of trusting the science, social teamwork or just plain dumb luck, all signs seem to be pointing to a welcome and decisive victory over the coronavirus.

To which I say, call me skeptical.

It’s not that I don’t want the thing to be over.

Oh, wait.

No, that’s exactly what I don’t want.

Aside from the tragic death toll, life in the time of COVID-19 hasn’t been all that bad; to me, anyway, being forced to stay away from people has been kind of a blessing in disguise.

Maybe it’s because I’ve always suspected a lot of people are just nasty. Perhaps it’s social interaction has never been my cup of tea, or rather, simply put, I am a rock, I am an island.

Oh, wait.

Paul Simon wrote those words nearly 60 years ago, and there I was trying to take credit for them, just another rotten human in a sleazy, skeezy race filled with them.

If the last 15 months have taught us anything, it’s that less exposure to homo sapiens is a good thing, not only for purposes of avoiding a life-threatening illness that can result in a painful death, most often involving suffocation in one’s own body.

And the worst part is having to die alone, so the experts say, not even with the comforting presence of family and friends allowed.

Again, I’m not sure this is necessarily a bad thing.

Death — as performance art — has its appeal to self-centered, egomaniacal scofflaws like me, but that’s hardly the norm.

I think most of us are rather like those old elephants who, when their expiration date comes due, shuffle off on their own and find a quiet place in the wild where they can just … be … alone.

I’ve experienced death first-hand, and it struck me as an intrusion.

We were playing in the winner’s bracket of a softball tournament about 30 years ago when a guy on the opposing team collapsed while running in from center field after the top of the first inning.

There followed a frenzy of life-saving activity and then a seemingly interminable wait for the EMTs to arrive before he was taken away. He passed away in the hospital, we were later told.

“Dude was dead before he hit the ground,” a guy on my team said.

He didn’t mean it in an unfeeling way. He was just stating a fact.

The upshot was both teams had to decide whether or not to continue playing, postpone the thing or say to hell with it and go home. That third option was the one that appealed to me.

But the other team voted to carry on, and they promptly whipped us.

I don’t think anyone’s heart was really in it, though. When you’re standing that close when death makes a house call, you’d rather not wait around for an encore. Besides — and I know you’ll think I’m just adding ghoulish insult to injury — the ball diamond stood immediately adjacent to a graveyard, where foul balls often fell.

My ball-playing days ended right around the turn of the century, and I’ve missed them, mostly because I really like winning and we did a lot of it. And then there’s the whole social-kinship-camaraderie-brothers-in-arms aspect, which was very special.

But the pandemic has pretty much put the kibosh on such dangerous and trivial pursuits, leaving gyms empty, ball fields abandoned and asphalt courts vacant.

Oh, wait.

I’m being told cities and states are beginning to loosen their COVID-19 protocols with an eye on the economic bottom line and proud tip of the cap to all of us plucky survivors who are now free to resume their home movies after they were so rudely interrupted.


Not so much.

I think I’ll remain in lockdown for the foreseeable future. It’s not that I don’t trust politicians — but I don’t — and it’s not because I want to be a stick in the mud, a Dewey Downer.

It’s just I don’t like being around most people these days. I kind of feel like the Grinch, stuck up there on Mount Crumpit, hating the Whos down below in their lighted, festive village.

Oh, wait.

Haven’t our insipid, stupid culture wars canceled Dr. Seuss?

It makes no difference to me, you understand. After the hideous and deadly events of Jan. 6, I have exiled myself from everything.

But I know I’m in the minority and that most folks are fairly giddy with the possibility of a return to normalcy quite soon. They cite proms and graduations near the top of their wish lists, lamenting all those precious memories that were lost in 2020.

My own high school graduation was cluelessly moved into a hot, stuffy, overcrowded gymnasium rather than held on a most beautifully cool and sunny spring evening at the football stadium.

Seems there was a chance of showers, and our elders chose caution.

And the prom? Puh-lease.

I stayed home and watched “A Hard Day’s Night” followed by “Gimme Shelter” on our black-and-white TV and had a great time.

Oh, wait.

You think I robbed myself of scrapbook keepsakes and deprived my threadbare back story of romantic derring-do because I couldn’t get a date to the prom? Just because I didn’t ask anyone doesn’t mean no one would have accepted. But I’ll never know.

And I’m fine with that. Besides, my brother went to four proms, which means we averaged two apiece. Gotta love modern math.

Speaking of hopeful calculations and encouraging formulas, we’re being told if we just hold on a little bit longer and drag this anti-virus carcass over the spring finish line, summer’s gonna rock.

Oh, wait.

Wake me up around Christmas. Until then, answer this simple question ... Do you fear what I fear?

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