Sometimes All You Can Do Is Rock With The Storm

Sometimes All You Can Do Is Rock With The Storm

A while back, I was having a very bad Monday, and wrote a blog post called Roll With The Punches, Baby! The idea was that sometimes you win, sometimes you lose; sometimes life hands you a bouquet of flowers, other times, a punch in the mouth.

On that particular Monday, the IRS had just screwed me out of a tiny refund and my modest retirement account was down. It’s down lower than a year ago today, thanks to the coronavirus, worldwide panic, and all sorts of other factors.

The difference? That day, I was having a tough go of it. Today, everyone seems to be having a tough go of it. If I’m having a bad day, I’m in good company.

 

So What The Hell Am I Supposed to Do?

Pandemics cause massive turmoil, and looking for calm and reassurance is natural. We all want safety, security, and of course, reassuring words that it will get better.

In fact, as I wrote in my last novel, Whizzers, that’s all pretty much an illusion. Safety? What does it even mean? Security? As in financial? Physical? How long does that last, if you ever have it in the first place?

Here’s the quote from Whizzers that came to mind as I pondered these things today:

Control—an illusion. Security—illusion. Even danger, really—another illusion.

A hundred years from now, I’ll be gone. Hell, probably fifty years from now. The idea that I have any kind of security or control is ridiculous. The one thing I can truly cling to, the one thing I can be secure in, is the knowledge that I am going to die, my brother and wife and friends and neighbors, and everyone I’ve ever known—every single one of us will be gone someday.

 

You Call That Inspirational?

Kind of a downer, right? But then, here’s the thing: faced with the knowledge that we’re all going to die some day, the question becomes, How shall we live?

Maybe you call a friend todaysomeone you haven’t talked to in a while. Maybe call your mom. Better yet, your Dad. I bet he doesn’t get as many calls. Maybe you just do something productive. Treat yourself well, if you’re not good at that.

Life is very short. But whether things are better or worse next Monday at this time, we can make it better. Better for ourselves, our spouses, our kids. It’s up to us now.

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Racism In The Time Of Corona

Racism In The Time Of Corona

Yesterday I was going to write my usual Monday blog post, but with the coronavirus pandemic, the fact that I’m just getting over a sinus infection, and much-needed appointments with my CPA and chiropractor before we all have to “shelter in place,” I simply didn’t have the time.

So I’m doing it today, and it’s not just a writing blog—it’s a blog about the fact that words matter, and how we choose them matters.

I suppose we’ve all grown numb to the constant barrage of garbage spewing from the mouth of Triumph The Insult Comic President. After all, he regularly uses demeaning language to refer to anyone he views as an opponent, even within his own party (Lyin’ Ted Cruz, Little Marco Rubio, Low Energy Jeb Bush, etc.). I won’t even try to enumerate the list on the other side of the fence, although Pocahontas would no doubt be near the top.

But yesterday Twitter absolutely blew up in furious arguments about the casual racism of referring to the coronavirus—which also has another easy-to-remember name, COVID-19—as the “Chinese virus.”

 

Dear White People

Let me give you a singular perspective on this.

My wife is from Thailand, and has lived as a permanent resident here in the US since 2014. When I saw all the online uproar last night about #ChineseVirus, I asked her the following:

Q: “If the coronavirus originated in Thailand and someone called it a Thai virus, what are you going to say?”

And here is my lovely, kind, brilliant, and very succinct wife’s response.

A: “Bully.”

There you go. Without even mentioning the obvious racist aspect, with a single word, she defined our POS president.

I mean, seriously: does the virus wear a bamboo hat? Does it have slanted eyes? And yet, people of all races are defending this, with snarky phrases like “virtue signaling.” Come on, folks. We can be better. We have to.

 

A Look Ahead

This casual racism has awful repercussions, just as it did when Il Douche referred to Mexicans coming across the borders by generalizing, “They’re bringing drugs. They’re rapists.”

How long will it take before children on a playground are heard to say things like, “Your parents made everyone sick,” once schools are all back in session? Not necessarily to a Chinese-American child, either, but to any Asian child. I mean, how many of us Caucasian (or black or Latino) Americans can even look at a Korean guy, a Japanese guy, a Thai guy, a Chinese guy, and a Vietnamese guy, and tell who’s what?

I’ll tell you: almost no one.

I bring my black and Latino brothers and sisters into the conversation because it’s not just us white people who make grave racial errors here in good ol’ America. Spanish-speaking customers have walked into my wife’s workplace and immediately launched into Spanish—not because they didn’t speak English, but because they thought she looked Latino! Imagine the confusion in the mind of a person who speaks English as a second language, but whose first language is Thai. Uh, no hablo?

I’m trying to keep it light here, but the crass, casual racism and xenophobia we are seeing today—not to mention misogyny and, yes, misandry—really makes my blood boil.

Because I still seek humor in even the harshest topics, this all made me think of a conversation between characters in my work-in-progress, tentatively titled Jihad Insurance. (Trigger warning: language and racial bias aplenty in this dialogue.)

“You know who’s really fucking prejudiced? Spanish people.”

“You’re joking.”

“No, man. The Cubans hate the Mexicans, the Mexicans hate the Guatemalans, the Puerto Ricans hate the Chileans…it goes on and on.”

“What about Asian people?”

“Same thing: the Thais hate the Indians, the Indians and Pakistanis hate each other…and everybody hates the fucking Chinese.”

Yes, that novel will examine 21st century America in all its dark, demented glory.

That’s it for this week’s blog—a day late, and a dollar short, but there you have it. Stay safe, sane, and please dial up your empathy level. We all need it now more than ever.

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Nobody Likes Being Sick—But The Coronavirus Is Making People Scared Of Even Getting Sick

Nobody Likes Being Sick—But The Coronavirus Is Making People Scared Of Even Getting Sick

Readers of this blog undoubtedly know I sometimes create Monday posts geared toward providing helpful info, but also sometimes use it as my personal ranting space. Today’s post is the latter, but it’s going to be a short one. No, I don’t have the coronavirus, but yes, I am under the weather.

In fact, I’ve been laid up with a sinus infection for over a week nowantibiotics, fluids, rest…the whole nine yards.

I actually considered re-posting an old entry from another day when I was sick, but it was too specific to that timeframe. It’s pretty funny, too, now that it’s no longer new. It sure was unfunny at the time.

It’s been a whopping two months since I got sick like this, so I’m not thrilled to be on antibiotics again. I’m one of those guys who believes taking antibiotics pretty much guarantees I’ll get sick again in another six months or a year. Taking probiotics helps, but I dunno.

The reason this happens to meand I can’t prove this, it’s just my thinkingis that I had one of my parotid glands surgically removed in 2012. That lovely surgery, called a parotidectomy, became necessary because I had a nonmalignant mass growing in it. (Don’t Google the procedure if you’re squeamish, by the way. Yikes.)

The parotids are actually salivary glands, and they’re part of your immune system. Having one permanently missing means a subpar immune system for the rest of your life, in my opinion. My experience since 2012 would seem to bear it out, too.

I write all this partly to vent, but also to try to head off the “helpful” advice people like to give when they learn you get sick one or more times per year. (My mother is a great one for this. “Are you taking a multivitamin?” “Yes, Mom, I take a multivitamin every day.”)

And this post is now already twice as long as I’d planned to write. That means it’s time to say, Happy Monday. I’m going to rest. Stay safe out there, people!

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