August 24, 2020: Day 168 of the circular firing squad we have accepted as the Wonderland strategy for dealing with a rather stubborn pandemic.
The Genius of a So-So Virus 🦠: Hey, guess’s what? It’s dictionary time (or, actually, Dictionary.com time). What is the definition of So-So? “So-So” is something that is neither very good nor very bad.
A baseball team can win only half their games and people will say they had a So-So season. Some people might think that’s great. Some people might think that’s awful. Same record, different opinions. But, of course, there’s no dying in baseball.
So let’s pretend that the Kung Fu Virus released by those terrible Chinese people was something more like Ebola than Covid. Quick acting and deadly. Turns your insides into clam sauce and makes your eyes melt like that guy in Indiana Jones. Even if some travelers slip out of the country, their symptoms emerge so fast that they are quarantined as soon as they land. People around them don’t just wear masks, they are covered head to toe and washed down with disinfectant after every interaction. There’s no kidding around here. We’re all gonna be hyper-vigilant because this one’s a killer. And so it probably does disappear. Not because it’s magic, but because it’s really scary and no one wants to get it. We’re all on the same page. Ebola’s not a so-so virus.
So maybe the Wuhan thingy is not quite so bad as Ebola. Maybe not clam sauce, just gut wrenching pain. Maybe not melting, just blindness. Maybe not right away, but in a couple of days or so. Travelers will leave and get to where they’re going. And then they’ll get sick. And then most of them will die. We’ll go nuts. Masks, gowns, sprays, quarantines. Fear. Real, honest-to-goodness fear. The if-you-catch-it-you’re-a-gonner fear. No one doubts the things we need to do to keep this thing from spreading. The least little hint that it’s around and we’re diving into fall-out shelters, thinking about the Apocalypse. Once more, we’re all on the same page. Wuhan Thingy #2 is not a so-so virus.
Or, hey, let’s just say that the Oriental thing-a-ma-jig is pretty much like the one we have now, but, sorta, more deadly. Like maybe ten times our Covid. The same number of people will catch it but ten times more are gonna die. So eight million dead in the world and nearly two million here in Wonderland. And, because we’re just pretending, let’s say it tends to kill more younger, healthier people. People in their teens and twenties. Athletes, valedictorians, recent college graduates. And, hey, let’s go even further and say it’s disproportionately young, healthy, white people who are dying (although that never seems to be the case). And let’s pretend that some of us can be symptom free and carriers, but most of us are gonna get real sick and maybe have lasting conditions. Are we doing the Ebola/Wuhan Thingy masks and gowns and quarantines? Do you think all those white gun-toting clowns who stormed state capitals are gonna refuse to wear the masks? Are we gonna be scared? Well, what do you think? I’m guessing, yeah, it’s a pretty big deal. And so maybe we don’t actually have as many dead because most everyone takes it seriously. Don’t want to die. Actually believe they just might die if they get it, so maybe they decide it’s a good idea to follow the rules. So I’m guessing, yeah, we’re all pretty much on the same page. Oriental Thing-A-Ma-Jig #3 is not a so-so virus.
So what is a So-So virus? This one. The one we got. The one that is sort of scary if you’re overweight or a diabetic. Or old. Or if you’re Latino or Black. But not so bad for kids, young adults. Because, hey, it’s more of a flu than Ebola. More like a really bad cold than other Thingys or Thing-A-Ma-Jigs. Lots of very good people can go on their merry way and it’s no big deal. From their perch on the Earth, things seem fine. Certainly not very good, but not very bad either.
The cool thing is, you can have an opinion about a So-So virus. It’s not so bad. It’s horrible. People are dying. But no one I know is dead. We gotta shut it down. What the hell are you talking about? I’m staying inside. Let’s party! It’s a hoax. No, it’s science. You’re f-ing crazy. Well not as crazy as you. Oh yeah? Yeah!
So the weirdest thing is that this not-so killer bug, this bug that’s not near the top of the “world’s deadliest,” this so-so bug is smarter than all the other bugs put together. Those others announce their presence, get us all up in arms and united in defense. But So-So bug just sneaks around. Hell, you don’t even see him most of the time. But he’s out there, stirring up trouble and pissing everybody off. Letting us all act on our own little opinions about how we should respond, pitting us against each other. While So-So bug just just hangs around and keeps killing the weakest of us, those who have fallen behind in the pack.
JACK EVERETT RENAUD is in the house!!!!!