Monday, March 16, 2020

We're ALL essential

When I heard our duly elected leaders are asking only essential workers report to work, like many of you, I looked myself in the mirror and asked myself an existential question:

“Are you essential?”

I thought about what I’ve been doing for the last 30 years and if any of it would have any positive impact on this COVID-19 crisis. Would it save lives? Ease fears? Promote humanity?

There was!

I could blog!

I am essential!

I’m kidding. I concluded, c’mon, I’m perfectly non-essential — nearly useless — and climbed back in bed for an hour-long doze.

I did this knowing armies of essential doctors, nurses, researchers and federal, state and local decision makers are on a mortal deadline to save asses like mine. Or is it more accurate to say asses like me. 

These professionals don’t have time to look in the mirror and ask themselves precious questions about whether they matter or not.

I doubt they even have necessary time to pray or be scared.

Well, allow me: “Please, God, help and protect the all the people who are helping and protecting all the people.”

See, I’m not among those who think this is a media-driven hoax. I don’t believe it’ssomething you can belittle with a pejorative nickname or a clever tweet.

It’s a germ. You can’t hurt its feelings.

How about you? Are you essential?

You are to me.

I hear from so many people who say they enjoy reading my stuff it makes me feel, — uh, what’s the word? — grateful?

That’s my friend Jim Gregory up there who said he turned to my book for inspiration Sunday before returning today to Harrisburg where Jim, a Republican, serves the people of the 80th Diistrict in the state legislature.

He said: “This book gave me what I needed today. Your words help keep perspective of what's important during this crisis.”

Thank you, Jim. You’re essential.

Police and other first responders are essential, but so are truck drivers. And I can find something essential about every baker, brewer and banker, too. And librarians,, florists, newspaper reporters, etc.

Should the gizmos that link our TV’s access to things like NetFlix, the man or woman on duty to carry out repairs will become to my family in that instant the most essential person on the planet.

They’re closing down the bars and restaurants. I understand the preventative rationale for the move, but I’m losing access to people and places that are essential to my happiness. 

I really enjoy my life and all the people who populate it.

I suspect some of them are going to go away for a while and some, sadly, forever.

But of this I’m confident: There’s going to one day be a headline that says in big, bold type: “CORONAVIUS CURE FOUND!”

I hope it hits like a gloom-obliterating bolt of lightning. I hope it not only cures the disease it ends doubt and hopelessness; side effects may include increased tolerance and acceptance if those with whom we disagree.

And I hope it comes in a liquid form and that for some crazy reason the first cases of cure all get shipped right here to the ol’ Tin Lizzy.


Oh, what a party it’ll be.

Until that happy day, I’m going to try and do my part. I’m going to blog, just so you can have one slim corner of the internet that won’t be all doom and gloom.

If blogging is all I can do then all I’ll do is blog.

Sure, it’s not exactly Dr. Jonas Salk (Pittsburgher!) and the cure for polio, but it’s all I got.

It’s too late for me to enroll in med school and begin actually saving lives. I’ll leave that essential stuff to the doctors and scientists dedicated to finding a cure. 

It’s up to them to prolong our lives.

It’s essentially up to you and me to make our lives worth living.

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