There’s only you and me ... and we just disagree
When Gov. Kate Brown issued her warning Friday that, unless next week’s numbers show a reversal of current COVID-19 trends, as many as a dozen counties — and, although she didn’t name them, she really didn’t have to — could find themselves back under “Extreme” conditions, it was hard not to keep the shoulders from drooping.
Here we go again.
My first reaction was to flash back to a moment earlier in the week, and a visual that crystalized this entire tomfoolery.
I was driving up Riverside on the way to the office (Actually working from the place of business … what a concept!) when it hit me.
No, not a car … although this being Riverside — a three-lane street that more than a few navigate as an excuse to relive their glory days playing Frogger — I understand if you momentarily were concerned about the health of my mode of transportation, if not the driver of same.
What caught my eye was a man, just a regular guy, standing on a corner and holding a handmade sign that was as succinct as it was demoralizing.
Four words, all in caps. Black marker lettering on a white background. Probably took less than a minute to print:
The Frogger game temporarily on pause, I looked about the cabin of my car.
Across the dash and the front seats, there were five masks (three of hers, two of mine) in easy reach when needed.
On the floor in the back seat — next to my golf shoes, an emptied bag of potato chips and few grocery receipts — were a couple of light-blue warriors who had given up their lives over the past few weeks.
Yep, I decided ... as Travis Bickle would say, the guy with the sign was talking to me.
To be honest with you for a moment, I don’t feel much like a Nazi.
What I am is the same thing you are … the same thing, no doubt, that the guy taking time out of his day to stand on a corner with a succinct, demoralizing (not to mention vulgar) sign is.
COVID-19 hit Jackson County a year ago March and, like too many Californians who have made their way here, it has refused to leave.
We’ve been living under Oregon’s restrictions in the “High” category since the end of February and now, as yet another surge has hit the state like a sneaker wave, the handwriting is on the wall.
The best efforts of the medical community, of the media, of our family, friends, neighbors and co-workers look as though they still haven’t been enough.
And so, here we go again.
All the medical and political arguments have been made, so I’m not going to waste my time — and, more importantly, your time — repeating them.
Think of it as an algebra problem … A+B=C.
C, of course, is that about which there is no argument … we want life to return to normal.
How do we do this? Well … A is to get the case numbers and trends down; B is the lowering of the state restriction levels.
A plus B equals C.
What we’re up against — I mean, besides a virus that has killed more than a half-million Americans — is that there remains far too many of our family, friends, neighbors and co-workers who not only want to immediately get to C … but want to go all the way to the end of the alphabet, bypassing all the letters in between.
I sympathize. I empathize. But I’ve always been a step-by-step, show your work, type of guy … well, at least since I stopped being the type who wants what they want when they want it.
You know, since after puberty.
Of all the things in my car that day I saw the guy with the sign, the item I’ve thought about most since is my golf shoes.
Golf, as anyone who plays it will attest, is a silly game which takes forever for you to get better. You improve incrementally as you repeatedly hit a ball with a stick until you get it in a hole.
No matter how frustrated you get wanting to reach your target in the fewest number of strokes possible, you’re never going to do so until you understand that every swing, every stance, every club selection, every shot, matters.
I suppose that’s a fairly obvious analogy. Or is it a metaphor? But as we trudge toward what seems inevitable next Friday, when blame will be cast upon politicians and medical experts by those unable or unwilling to look in the mirror, it’s clear that A plus B is never going to equal Z.
Then again, what do I know? I’m a Mask Nazi.
Mail Tribune news editor Robert Galvin gets 200 points for each fly he eats at firstname.lastname@example.org.