At the best of times, there is inevitably minor power-hungry bureaucrats trying to save us from ourselves and so empower themselves. Our current virus has apparently given some of them a sense of license to post dire signs and try to impose closures wherever possible. We are not a species with high primal instincts of self-preservation anymore but really, I do not need to be incessantly reminded to go home, hide in a closet, put my head between my knees and kiss me arse farewell. I get it! OK?
Those who don’t understand by now, never will, so we may as well let the gene pool cleanse itself a bit. I was encouraged to learn that in some places where it comes down to which victim needs a ventilator, a smoker will lose against the non-smoker. Sad, but fair.
Sorry but I’m getting a little fed up. Folks, sick and dying is sick and dying, wherever you are. Don’t give me any crap after what your local infection percentile is. I just spoke with a nurse from tiny little Tahsis, (Population about 248) a village way up on the remote west coast of Vancouver Island, next stop Japan. They’ve had a confirmed case of Covid 19. If you want to having a pissing contest about who has the worst situation, please, walk on by. We’re all in this together. Dead is dead. Got it? Every community I’ve ever lived in has, by someone’s declaimation, the worst hospital ever. So stop it already. Lighten up eh! Look for some light.
Today is a flawless spring day. The sky is cloudless, the breeze is light and warm. It’s a T-shirt day. (16° C /61°F) The air is filled with pollen. Folks will be sneezing, coughing, farting, blowing their noses and all thinking they have the big C. I swear that soon we’ll have officious little-minded people on the street corners in fluorescent space suits, with 2 meter long grabber sticks, leaping out to install a headbag on anyone so cavalier to venture out.
Our premier goes on television to tell the proletariat how to properly wash its hands, to stay indoors but also get outside and enjoy the fresh air. Yep, I’ve broken out into some good old blue collar epithets more than once.
It is Good Friday and struth, usually the weather is cloudy and stormy. My fundamentalist parents used to explain that it was God reminding us of what a terrible day it was when the evil ones executed Christ. That the bad guys were the local religious factions of the time seemed to elude them. “Hurry up, we’re late for church!” But then, which army has not had God on ITS side? I am presently wading though a novel called ‘Stones From The River’ by Ursula Hegi. It is set in Germany during the era leading up to the second world war. I can only read a few pages at a time about the darkness of spiralling self-serving values, terrible behaviour, attitudes and practices of many inspired by Mr. H and the boys. The country had doomed itself before ever marching across any border. My personal cynicism can draw parallels to the mass mindlessness of our present pandemic. The ripple effects of this panic and terror will be far-reaching and with us for a long time. As the Australian man said, “Brace yourself Sheila!”
Our governments are trying to bolster our spirits by throwing money at us. Funds they don’t have and we will pay, and pay. There will be little happiness for a long time. Historically, countries pull themselves out of a crisis by starting yet another war. Pay attention! That’s all I’ll say now that I’ve depressed everyone even lower. While we ponder the extent of our weakness it is also a time to consider our strengths and develop those to a higher level. Kindness has no substitute and even a little has far-reaching implications. Common sense is clearly not common, so it is time to take a breath and think things through before letting someone else’s knee-jerk stupidity dictate the direction of your life. Smile. It’s Easter. Eat chocolate. It’s bad for you!
I understand how I may come across as crass and insensitive. In actual fact, I am an emotional flower and I am saddened when people demean their own god-given potential by refusing to think and feel for themselves. This blog finds me in mourning. Covid-19 took one of my few heroes and human inspirations this week. John Prine, gone. Oddly, a lot of folks don’t know who this incredible singer songwriter is/ was. His music will live on and on. He was of more value to me than any politician. Here’s a link to one of my favourite Prine songs:
And here is a poem I wrote the day after his passing this week.
Bad news travels fast they say
But I didn’t hear Prine was gone
until only yesterday.
I won’t begin to list his works
some may perhaps have saved my life
Certainly they helped me get along
just a postman, but he sure as hell
could write and sing a song.
It ain’t right
that a humble man with
a quiet sparkle in his eye
and a raging fire in his soul
who wrote blue collar eloquence
about the beauty and the tragedy
of the common man
should find himself such a terrible way to die.
You’d expect there would have been a flaming wreck
some stark drama to mark this sad, sad day
but goddamn it, he’s gone
and it never even made the evening news.
Just another victim of a plague
randomly snatching us one by one
that gravel twang silenced forever
his pen lies still
beside a worn guitar
and a book of blank pages
yet to be filled
all those unwritten tunes
he is gone far, far too soon.
I wander the Covid streets
of my deathly quiet little town
there’s no-one around.
Even the accosting God-botherers
handing out road maps to heaven
have abandoned their strategic corner
and stayed home to pray in their closets.
Passing down the broken hill
in the cold early morning light
there is an old hotel with a pub
often filled with blues and country song
a reek of cigarettes and spilled beer
clinging by the battered door
the sort of joint John played
for so very long.
He was one of those guys
with whom you thought
you’d like to share a beer,
sipping pints of rough draft
thinking up something witty
that would have made him laugh.
I don’t much believe in heaven
but if there is
I hope there’s a tavern up there
with a crowded little stage
John steps up and joins their ranks
Rogers, Petty, Cash, Nilsson, Haggard, Williams, Snow,
and all the others standing there.
They make room for John Prine and he begins to sing
“He Was In Heaven Before He Knew He Died.”
I did not know the man
but still I’ve cried.
“Stupid is as stupid does.” …Forest Gump