Based on the title of this blog post, it’s probably best if I address the timely elephant in the room: yes, I admit it, I am old enough to have watched, loved, and (oh, so fully) appreciated The Ren & Stimpy Show when it originally aired in the early- to mid-1990s. If you’ve seen it and have the same 12-year-old boy sense of humor I have, I’m sure you’ll agree with me that it was one of the greatest shows ever. If you’ve not seen it, do yourself a favor and try to find and watch episodes. If you’ve seen it and don’t like it . . . well, we can still be friends. I think.
Oh, and I suppose it’s probably also worth noting that we’re headlong into the crisis stemming from the novel coronavirus (which I like to call the “Corona Fires,” and cuz’ I get a chuckle every time I think of that, I’ll continue to use that term in this post*) that causes COVID-19. That’s the 800-lb. gorilla in the room. Not the elephant, silly.
As I write this, people the world over are freaking out. Our scope of movement is quickly being curtailed due to closures of workplaces, entertainment establishments, schools, houses of worship,
my bathroom, etc. The stock market is tanking, with no end (except, I think, possibly 0) in sight. People are hoarding “essentials,” like toilet paper, hand sanitizer, potatoes, and apparently fish sticks as I discovered yesterday. The short-term prognosis for the United States and the world is at best bad. The medium-prognosis is questionable.
But I think that most rational people — even those highly alarmed by the short-term prognosis — think that the world’s long-term prognosis is positive, even if currently it’s very hard to focus on it, much less see it. Although my inclusion in the ranks of the rational can be questioned, count me as someone who thinks the long-term prospects of America and humanity are bright.
While I acknowledge that in the short-term things are going to be ugly, and in the medium-term (however you want to define that) things may not be all roses, I can’t but think how grateful I am for so many things. Assuming the Corona Fires don’t kill me, this gratitude will stay with me. Here are some things for which I am grateful.
While there’s a chance the Corona Fires might fell me, so far it hasn’t. Should I contract the virus, I’ll do all I can to combat it. If I fail, it won’t be for lack of trying.
And outside of that, this old geezer is in pretty rude health, all things considered. I have no chronic illness or pain. I can still amble about pretty nimbly. My mental faculties — while never anything to write home about — remain as poor as ever, tho no worse than in the past. And tho me heart be made of stone, aye, she still be ticking.
The Missus, as well as Thing One (the Elder) and Thing Two (the Younger) and my extended family also remain free of the Corona Fires and, for the most part, any serious life-limiting ailments. I don’t want to think about the worst that could happen, but we’ll do all we can to prevent or mitigate the ultimate effects.
Outside of that, while the Missus holds divorce papers over my head like a sword of Damocles, she’s yet to file them. And while the kids quickly tire of me and seem so attentive to my faculties as to give me pause that they’re looking for an excuse — any excuse — to ship me off to a long-term care facility, they are yet to mount an armed insurrection. They, The Missus, and our extended family also remain exceptionally decent human beings and solid members of our mutual support network.
To my knowledge, all my friends are unscathed by the Corona Fires. And most of them are in good or goodish health. Any ailments are being dealt with and, so far appear not to be life-threatening or debilitating. And they remained as concerned about us as we of them. I’m confident that if any of us needed help, we’d all offer to help, no questions asked.
Our financial situation
To date, The Missus remains gainfully employed, with no immediate threat of any change. I still have my clients, and while I’d be lying if I said that I wasn’t concerned about a negative change, my situation doesn’t appear to be in immediate jeopardy. So we are able to meet our expenses from income alone.
Having discovered FIRE, we also remain relatively blessed in the finances department, even if we’ve taken a massive hit in the last few weeks and likely will be further battered in the coming days, weeks, and months. Given the already-felt effects of the Corona Fires on workers — employees and gig workers — and business owners, I appreciate how much has already been felt and how much remains to be be. Given how many people were teetering on the edge or already well off it before the Corona Fires arrived on the scene, I can only imagine how much the average Joe’s or Jane’s stress level has skyrocketed. I don’t pretend for a second that we’re not exceptionally fortunate.
Our city, state and country
I stepped outside this morning to an impossibly blue sky, the faintest hint of a breeze, and sunshine-fueled warmth on my skin. Then I walked half a block down the street, where I enjoyed a crystal-clear view of some of the most beautiful mountains on earth, to which I have easy and free access. Mother nature may be wreaking havoc on humanity with one hand. But with the other she’s a bit more benevolent.
Our city and state are taking the Corona Fires seriously. Measures taken to date are sound and communication generally has been clear, clear-headed, and effective. As for the federal government’s response, while it’s been rightly vilified to date, things seem to be heading in the right direction. And while I have my own thoughts on the state of the country otherwise, I am confident that the republic will go on and that good days are ahead for those fortunate enough to call the United States home. At the very least, between city, state, and country, we remain relatively physically safe and have access to, or otherwise benefit from, various government programs and provisions.
While not-so-affectionately call the first place we lived in when we moved to the Mountain West “The Stupid House,” we love the house we’ve since moved to. If we have to self-quarantine somewhere, this is a great place to be holed up. We enjoy lots of space inside the house; an outdoor patio; plenty of natural light to let us know that the world still turns; and proximity to various places where we can access essentials, like groceries, medicine, and health care. We could do a lot worse.
Many workplaces have closed their doors to all or most employees but have instituted work-from-home policies. While not ideal in all situations, the ability to work and study from home via computer and/or other technology will save innumerable jobs, keep many of the world economy’s gears going, and allow students to continue their education, just to name a few positive benefits.
And not just a few side hustles and additional learning that otherwise may not have occurred will result. Just the other day, Thing Two told me that he started getting into coding and wanted to use some of his unplanned time at home increasing his knowledge and skills. Bully for him!
My sense of humor
A great many people are running around like their hair’s on fire. Me? Not so much. I’m looking at things with a humorous eye.** While I’m concerned what the near-term future holds, I figure I might as well have a laugh or two along the way? It sure makes life — and this moment — easier to deal with.
An attitude of gratitude
Dear Reader, I hope I’ve inspired you to look at the good things in your life, even if things otherwise are bleak. Maybe especially if they’re bleak. Happy, happy, joy, joy, people!
* This term of mine may furrow the brows of the good folks who manufacture and sell Corona beer. I mean no offense to the company or the beer, of which I am a big fan!
** Dear Reader, you are not wrong in thinking that the only thing humorous about my eye is the way it looks.