Less than one year ago 19 denoted the previous century and the end to one’s teenage years. If 19 had ever caused me any emotional response at all it was probably nostalgia for the bucolia of high school or, perhaps, of trepidation for adulthood. Otherwise 19 was benign. I do not know why the Corona Virus is called COVID-19. Hey, I changed my major from physics to humanities my freshman year of college after I got my first semester grades. I have long since left science to the upper half accums. Therefore, I, and I suspect most folks, just repeat the current pandemic’s appellation as given to us by those with thick glasses and white lab coats.
But this column is not a lament for a lost opportunity to spend my life watching some Algernon race some Charlie in a maze match. It is an acknowledgement that in spite of ’Ole 19 the world is still turning thanks to a lot of dedicated people. The list is almost endless and so I will not attempt to exhaust it. But every day I am amazed by the appearance of water from the tap, electricity through the lines, groceries on the shelves, education via the Internet and imaginative educators, medical care, police and fire protection, one-click banking, governmental services, road maintenance, trash pick-up, fuel supply, house construction, property repair and, of course, online shopping and delivery. You might have noticed that I have not mentioned cable news.
If I was brought to reality by my experience with college physics, I am absolutely blown away by the way our society has persevered in the face of ’Ole 19. Much as people regrouped after the Crash of 1929 or WWII and Korea or polio, AIDS, Vietnam, Oklahoma City, 9/11, the Gulf War and Iraq we have carried on. As our first cousins the British might say, “We are muddling through”, and it is said with justifiable pride.
Peg and I talk every day about how impressed we are that our lives can continue on due to the courage and sacrifice of so many complete strangers. We know we will eventually all win because so many of you refuse to give up. Thank you!