Welcome again, ladies and gentlemen, to the No. 1 game show in the world, “What If!”
Let’s meet our contestants:
First, our returning champion, Jean Henderson, who has set a world record in wins in every category of “What If!,” including “What If This Happens” and “What If That Happens.” No one has come close to unseating her, even in the lightning rounds of “What If None of It Happens.”
Her challenger today is … umm … her challenger is … er … well … apparently she has no challenger today.
So, congratulations, Miz Henderson, for another win of “What If!” Sponsored by Scudzo, the mouthwash that will really scroll yer nerd, available in all fine retailers and some with some shady business practices.
That’s right, children, I am the reigning champeen. I’m one of a kind, part of the last generation of people raised around older generations who remembered what it was like to do without, do because of, and do because you had to – or perish.
Admittedly, I have an upper hand: I was raised by two sets of grandparents who survived the Great Depression, World War II, life challenges and losses and understood all too well it is better to be prepared for the unexpected rather than hoping for the best and throwing caution to the wind.
These were farmers who lost too many crops to weather or blight. These were railroad workers who lost an eye in a work accident. These were licensed practical nurses, yesterday’s versions of today’s certified nursing assistants. These are people who struggled for every penny in their pocket and they were never too eager to part with one red cent they didn’t have to.
They were people who raised their own children, and for a myriad of reasons, were suddenly burdened with raising another generation. Yet, they made it work. Fed, clothed, educated and cared for these foundlings on their doorstep without any complaint, at least in front of the foundlings.
I say all that to say this: I remember those lessons. I admit I lost touch with some of them, but the core values instilled all those years ago of waste not, want not and do for your neighbors while taking care of yourself and being as good as your word, making those words honest and earnest without falsehood.
And right now every one of those lessons are being reviewed and tested.
We are living in a time of mass chaos and it doesn’t look to be alleviated any time soon.
So, what if the coronavirus scourge continues on for months longer than anticipated? We were promised 30 days, 60 days, 90 days of recovery after the virus prime began abating. We’re looking at the 90 days in the rear view mirror now. The officials who gave the earlier predictions have learned to finally shut their collective mouths on any potential future relief.
What if the surge we’re experiencing now was just a postponement of an earlier spread? There was the “flatten the curve” encouragement early on which was credited with dampening the contagion. Turns out we could flatten only as long as a fat man can hold in his stomach at the beach as a pretty girl walks by, meaning not long enough to matter much.
What if it’s only going to get worse? We shut down the economy, isolated from family and friends, cancelled school, shuttered events, began a search for a new normal (which still drives me crazy that this all could be forever). What if what we saw just weeks ago ratchets up to levels completely off the charts and we are crushed in ways no Depression, world war or famine ever did before?
What if no vaccine is found? What if we can’t find successful treatments which allows for recovery of all patients infected?
I ask what if because I’m asking, I suppose, what if all this happens, then what are you doing to do in response?
Yeah. Me, neither. Don’t have an absolute answer to any of it. But I’m still the champion for “What If!”
I can say this: I will continue to social distance (let’s face it, I’m anti-social so this is not a stretch for me). I will continue to wear a mask in public. I respect the governor, our county mayor and our city mayor, respect all the officials who are trying to do their best in an awful situation, but I’m not going to wear a mask because I’m told to do so (which here in Morristown and Hamblen County hasn’t happened). I’m going to wear a mask because I don’t want your germs and I don’t want you to have my germs. I know there’s a thousand ways to share germs but at least with a mask on, I’m cutting the likelihood just a little. I will continue to wash my hands until they are raw.
I’m also going look on down the road just a bit, maybe a few months, and plan accordingly, or at least plan to what I believe to be a pretty good bet on what to expect.
School will begin soon, but we don’t know for how long.
The economy is still on shaky ground. It may get much worse before we see any lasting improvement.
The virus continues to spread and it’s not likely to suddenly stop or show a marked drop any time soon.
What if, dear God, what if?