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“May You Live in Interesting Times”

Photography by Pascal Bernardon

Asheville – December is here with fewer than thirty days left in this deranged year, and most people say 2020’s end can’t come fast enough. I’ve heard that if this year were a dog, we’d need to put it down for having rabies. 

Well, as the old saying—sometimes called a curse—goes: “May you live in interesting times.” It has been an overwhelming year, to say the least, and the last days of 2020 could add to what’s been a historically ridiculous 365 days.

The year started off normal enough, but by February’s end, COVID-19 had a global pandemic looking at countries locking down their economies and their citizens. The government then started allowing states to shut down “non-essential” businesses. It turned out that “non-essential” businesses mean “mom and pop” firms while the big companies rolled on. Tell the families of the owners of those small businesses how those jobs were non-essential.

Then the riots came and lawlessness ensued. We couldn’t go out of our homes unless we needed essentials, had essential jobs, or needed to burn down the town—then masks and social distancing be damned. Now here we are, nearing the end of 2020 and COVID is as bad or worse than before the lockdown—but wear a mask, and everything will be all right. 

I’ll be honest, I haven’t lived my life much different than I would have if the virus hadn’t been around except for taking more vitamin D, K, C, and Zinc. I also am washing my hands more thoroughly and often. Now I may catch the virus next week and die, but I’m not going to fear living or dying as I have a friend on the other side, if you know what I mean.

Oh yes, and mask-wearing. I feel like I know you all well enough to tell you: I think the mask thing is silly, and I’ll probably get some emails and letters about this, but I’m going to say this anyway. I can’t see that a cloth mask is going to stop a virus. Besides, we all touch the stupid things so much with our unsanitized hands while trying to pull them back up over our noses (or not). We have to be spreading the virus onto the mask then breathing the virus in. And tell me, how come you have to stick a swab up to my brain to find the virus, but if I breathe, someone’s going to catch it?

In the early days, I refused to wear a mask. I was not going to conform for the sake of what some believed to be a safer way to be in public. As I asked my kids, “If your friends jumped off a bridge, would you, too?” However, my wife appealed to my sense of conservatism as she knew I was a big private property proponent. “Honey,” she said, “That’s private property and if a store owner asks you to wear a mask on their property, isn’t that their right and shouldn’t you comply?” CRAP—she had me. “No shirt, no shoes, no mask, no service.” 

Then it was election season, and the craziness is still ensuing from those little contests. The news media declares Biden the winner, not sure where that is in the Constitution, but it must be in there somewhere because we all know the news media wouldn’t print fake news. And President Trump is yet to concede as he fights a losing battle in the courts. 

However, I could be persuaded to believe in election fraud given that the state went for Trump and elected a bunch of Republicans to state offices—yet Governor Cooper got back in? I can’t figure that one out.

Well, we are living in interesting times. I’m still not sure that’s actually a Chinese saying, but we do know the virus is Chinese, don’t we?

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