In Praise of Social Distancing

So how bad can it get? The phrase “you ain’t seen nuthin’ yet” comes to mind. When the whole world is in social distancing, what then? I’ll tell you how bad it’s getting. At our house, Pat put a handwritten sign outside: “HELP. I’m an extrovert all alone in a house with an introvert.”

Apparently, the coronavirus isn’t really dangerous to young people, and the younger the young person, the less the danger. So I have this theory.

Like our president, who is exactly my age, I know nothing about the complexities of the corona virus, but I feel free to make up whatever lies I want, because, like our president, nobody believes anything I say anymore.

So here is my theory, and I’m sticking to it until Pat reads this. Young people are in little danger because they are already pros at social distancing. They do all communication through their little screens rather than speaking to human beings. This virus is all about keeping people from face-to-face contact. That is the purpose, the raison d’ĂȘtre of the virus.

Yes, there are some downsides, like lots of sickness and deaths, the overwhelming of health systems, and the crash of the world economy with the resulting devastation of all that entails. But look on the bright side. The universe is sending us a signal because this virus has some clear preferences.

1. The virus favors young people. Most of the deaths will be of old people who created a political system that has led to complete dysfunction in this country, and authoritarian impulses in almost every other democracy. Who doesn’t believe in science or climate change? Old people. Who doesn’t believe there is anything wrong with racism or homophobia or a system that deliberately rewards the already rich and punishes the poor? Old people. Who voted for Donald Trump and his minions? Ye Olde people. The virus favors the young and is dooming us boomers to make room for them.

2. The virus favors introverts. Admit it, extroverts, your best chance is to behave like an introvert. Read, watch tv, write, listen to music, but don’t go talk to people in person. One of the biggest upsides of all this will be a reduction in the world’s population, less by deaths than by people not getting together face to face, if you get my drift.

3. The virus doesn’t like team sports or music from bands, symphonies, or choirs. It likes one person with one instrument, or one athlete competing against him- or herself for time or distance or whatever measurement. The upside of that is that introverts can spend more time honing their skills without having to take breaks to talk to somebody.

4. The virus doesn’t like lies, neither people who tell them nor people who believe them. Donald Trump’s lies (The virus is no different from the flu — The virus will disappear in April like magic — The virus is a hoax made up by Democrats) led to the US being less prepared and slower to react than virtually any other industrial democracy. And the virus has spread faster than it would have if, for example, Joe Biden had been president, because of the risky behavior by people who believed Trump’s lies. The virus favors the truth.

So I’m personally in good shape because I’m an introvert and our band, the Montana Logging and Ballet Company, is dead and can only make a comeback as a zombie group that doesn’t get together in person. I’m not in good shape about being old. Maybe I can lie about my age, but then I’d be in trouble for the lie, not to mention all the whoppers I have told in this Friday Good News. In fact, that title is a whopper in itself.

OK, I’ll start writing my own obituary. Just because I made up this stuff, that doesn’t mean it won’t prove to be exactly right in a world that has gone crazy. Enjoy, all of you young, introverted, truth-telling loners. The world is your oyster. Hope you like oysters.

About admin

Rusty Harper is outrageously happy because he is retired and living with the love of his life, Pat Callbeck Harper in Helena, Montana. So why does he inflict these ramblings on the rest of us, you ask? Because you deserve it. If you aren't smart enough not to read this stuff, then you have to suffer through it. Maybe that builds character, though I doubt it. Think of all the positive things you could do with the time you are wasting on things that occur to me in the night and then sound strange even to me when I write them down in the morning. Bake a cake. Complain to your Senator. Run for Congress. Do something.
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