Planet Plague 6: Tunnel at the End of the Tunnel

2020 was fun. There, I said it. I don’t particularly entirely believe that, but I said it anyway. I used to do a lot more of that, saying disagreeable things just to be contrary. Over the years, I’ve found myself doing that less and less. Some might call that a sign of maturity. I call it regrettable. I miss being a fulltime dick.

There’s more to feigning 2020 nostalgia than simply being a dick. Granted, the year sucked, but it sucked to different people in varying degrees. I was pretty lucky. I had to deal with the cramped cabin fever of urban lockdown, but there was no crushing loneliness or financial desperation to endure. I have a job where I get to work from home and Becca and I have each other to share lamenting these strange and terrible times we were living through.

“Lament” may not be the right word. I don’t speak for Becca and wouldn’t want to try, but the insanity that went down last year actually brought me some perverse comfort. Boredom can drive some people to do bad and stupid things. It can drive others to find entertainment in disastrous human folly. I fall into the latter group. I spent much of last year hitting reload on some news site in the hopes it would bring me some nasty tidbit. It wasn’t misanthropy that made me engage in this activity. It certainly wasn’t empathy for my fellow human being either. It was simply that I was in here, COVID was out there, and there was nothing else for me to do.

The pandemic itself isn’t fun. I don’t want to catch it and don’t want to give it to anyone else so I stay home for the most part and don a mask when I need to venture out. The infections and deaths, which began as an abstraction of numbers and geography, became more real when the loved ones of friends were among the sick and dead.

The entertainment value is in how people reacted: the “plandemic” nonsense, the insistence that COVID is no worse than a regular flu season despite all evidence to the contrary, and the belief that there is a vast conspiracy to subjugate us with no offering of what our evil overlords would stand to gain from such an activity.

The conspiracy enthusiasts respond to debunkers by repeating their original claims. You’d think this would be a recipe for failure, but the prevalence of super-spreader events from the biker rally in Sturgis to the Thanksgiving weekend nationwide prove otherwise. Logic, it turns out, is a weak bitch.

In the weeks following these coronavirus meet-and-greets, I would visit this site to see how the statistics played out. They did not disappoint. “Idiots,” I would say, more at those responsible than the victims themselves while being mindful that the two were often one and the same.

The notion of karma didn’t enter into things because I don’t believe in it. Consequence exists, but there is no justice served when bad things happen. Let’s say three people fall off a roof and go splat on the sidewalk. One person was pushed, another was trying to do a handstand on the ledge, and the third slipped on a banana peel. Blame falls on someone else, oneself, and bad luck respectively, but all three are just as dead.

Getting my yuks from human tragedy alone doesn’t work for me. I may engage in such humor to show my contempt for those who wear affected empathy like a codpiece, but it is largely an act. I find stupidity hilarious and sometimes death is the punchline. It doesn’t have to be though. Sometimes nothing bad happens and the reaction is “How are you still alive?” See my life story for details.

Now we find ourselves in the beginning of a new year and the pandemic is far from behind us. There are a lot of people still in denial, some of whom bought the misinformation bundle and stormed Capitol Hill.

There are at least two vaccines available, but a lot of people will die between now and the promised land of herd immunity. Healthcare workers and at-risk seniors are first, which seems only fair. I’m way down on the list and will probably get vaccinated around the same time as someone’s pet goldfish.

Until then, I’ll do as I’ve always done. I shall hunker down and seek out human idiocy like one of Pavlov’s dogs.

2021 is going to be fun.

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