Shove Your Modest Proposal Where The Sun Don’t Shine

I’ve been thinking about Jonathan Swift’s “A Modest Proposal” today given the current news. Donald Trump and the Lt. Gov. of Texas think that maybe we should let the coronavirus loose in the world to do what it will so that the economy might not fall into a recession. I wonder what would actually happen if they were to have their way. A whole lot of people would die. That’s for sure. But most of them would be the sick and the elderly. I read somewhere on the interwebs the other day that human life expectancy rose quite a bit after the Spanish Flu back in 1918, and that is most likely because it killed off the weak and sick who would have died younger than the average anyway. 

The irony is that the brand of person who thinks this might be a good idea is also the type that doesn’t like talk of evolution. They are big on the whole “survival of the fittest” gag that comes along with capitalism, but aren’t real big on the scientific idea of evolution because it doesn’t fit in with their religious mythology. Would it even actually promote human evolution to let millions die at the hand of a virus we got from bats? (That’s right, President Donnie. You can call it the “Chinese virus” just to be a racist, hateful prick all you want, but it came from bats. So why don’t you call it “the bat virus” instead of the “Chinese virus”?)

Yeah, there would definitely be a “survival of the fittest” aspect to letting the coronavirus run its course without letting the epidemiologists control it. But a lot of the people that would die are people with pre-existing conditions who were either done breeding or were never going to breed anyway. The people that would die would be the ones that crowd churches and Trump rallies when they’ve been told that they should be staying home to slow the disease transmission. They want to save the economy by killing off all their voters.

Like Swift told the poor to sell their children to the rich as food, Trump is telling us to sell out our infirm so we can keep our jobs. What else do we have the military for if not to haul off all the dead bodies from the overcrowded hospitals as hundreds of thousands die in a matter of months? Think of all the money that the government will save on Medicaid, disability payments, Medicare, and social security over the next few years by killing off all these people who are a drag on the system. 

“The cure is worse than the disease.” Spoken by idiots who haven’t even listened to the experts about what to expect. Or if they have listened to the experts, have come away with cold hearts and closed minds. 

I’m sure there must be a line in there somewhere were the cure really is worse than the disease depending on the cure and on the disease, but jumping to that conclusion so quickly reeks. I’m not quite sure how to describe what it reeks of. I’ve lost my sense of smell to my epilepsy so I don’t think about smells much anymore. It reeks of being a corporate stooge. It reeks of someone who cares more about their 401(k) balance than they do about their neighbor who is on chemotherapy. It reeks of a failure to listen to the facts when they differ with your preconceived notions. It reeks of a lack of humanity.

Another Day in the Life

So another day of social distancing has gone by. I left the house twice today. Once for a walk around the block where I didn’t meet a soul, and once for a trip to Quiktrip and McDonald’s for soda and a snack. 

At McDonald’s, I ordered a burger and a Diet Coke through their mobile app and paid online. I went up to the drive thru window and picked it up, managing to stay an arms length away from the lady who gave me my food. 

At Quiktrip, on the other hand, there were probably a dozen people there. I tried to be careful to not touch any of the door handles, and when I used the bathroom, I did the whole 20-seconds of hand-washing, like we’ve been advised. But the other dude in there, just strolled on out behind my back as I was at the sink. He didn’t even glance over at the sinks. I guess he’s one of those people who thinks the advice to wash your hands is some sort of media conspiracy or something. Or maybe he just thought that holding his dick to pee isn’t the sort of thing that’s going to spread the coronavirus. I judged him as a dumbass anyway, because I’m a judgmental prick. 

I grabbed a couple of candy bars and a 12-pack of Diet Coke and headed up to the register. I was a little paranoid about having to touch the debit card reader, but fortunately, I didn’t spend enough that I had to enter my PIN after I swiped my card. I’d have rather gotten a fountain drink while I was there instead of a 12-pack of cans, but apparently, the health department folks consider the fountains a possible infection vector. 

I took my junk food out to the car, ate my McDonald’s hamburger, ate my candy bars while sitting in the car playing FreeCell on my phone. I spend way too much of my time sitting in Quiktrip parking lots these days. I’d probably spend more if the damned heater in my car worked, but I’ve been too lazy to take it up to the dealership to get it fixed. 

Speaking of being lazy, I took four naps today! It’s just so easy to wander upstairs when I’m working from home and set a 30-40 minute timer on my phone. Thus one of the reasons that I had been working from the corner booths at fast food restaurants for the last several months. It was my little life-hack for keeping myself from taking mid-day breaks that I really could live without. 

I’m trying to get my shit together. I’m 53 years old, and I still have a slew of terrible habits that I would love to break, and a bunch of good habits that I’d like to form. I’m doing a hell of a lot better than I was doing in my 20s, 30s, and 40s, but I continue to disappoint myself on a daily basis. 

I have a daily checklist I use to manage myself to a certain extent, and one thing I do before I go to bed every night is to think of a few things that I’m grateful for and a few things that could be improved. And it seems like every damned day, I have to remind myself that I shouldn’t have overeaten and that I should have gone to bed earlier. At 53 years old! Self-control is hard. 

Well, it’s 42 minutes after midnight, and I have a 7:30 conference call with some folks in India in the morning, so I should get my stupid ass off to bed.

COVID-19 and being homebound

I’m freezing up as I try to think about writing in my blog instead of in my journal. What’s up with that? I can type non-stop for half-an-hour if I’m not worried about anyone reading it. But as soon as I think that I’m writing for an audience, I start to freak out a little bit. The self-censor is kicking in and trying to tell me what’s appropriate and what’s not appropriate to write about. Well, to hell with that, I’m just going to write as if I were writing in my journal and then go back and edit it later. 

I used to be an actual journalist at one point in my life. I was an editor at the Columbia Missourian and The Maneater. I edited other people’s writing, so I can definitely edit mine. In my current job as a programmer, most of my coding consists of editing other people’s code, and I almost never write anything from scratch. 

So I’ve been trapped at home for days now. Well, not exactly trapped. I still get in the car and go driving around. I just can’t camp out in the corner booth at McDonald’s or Jack In The Box anymore for hours a day like I’ve been doing for the last few months. And it’s making me a little weird, as I’m sure it’s doing to all the other millions of people who are suddenly housebound by social-distancing paradigms and self-quarantine. 

I’ve started sleeping damn near 12 hours a day. Naps have become my good friend. I took one from three this afternoon until six this evening for example. 

I need to find something else to do, so here I am back to blogging again. I’ve been journaling irregularly, but I haven’t blogged in over a month. But what the hell? Why don’t I go ahead and blog some more?

My ex-girlfriend Amy asked me to help set up a WordPress blog for her a few days ago, right after she also suggested that she could come over once in a while and walk my dogs for me. I freaked out immediately. So I didn’t even respond to her suggestions. She wished my Happy St. Patrick’s on the following day, and I wished her the luck of the Irish, but we haven’t talked since. That bothers me a bit. It probably shouldn’t. Although we are still friends, we broke up as a couple back at Thanksgiving, and she’s already got a new boyfriend. I worry that I might have hurt her feelings by not accepting her offer, and not trying to help her start her blog. 

When we were dating, we’d talked a lot about having a pseudonymous blog where we talked about our crazier days that we spent doing things that aren’t widely acceptable in the current culture. We were pretty serious about it, and she was finally ready to start on her part of it, and I blew her off. 

Last time that I saw her in person was a couple of weeks ago when I gave her new boyfriend a ride home from work. I told her that I was trying to get back in the habit of writing again, and she asked me to text her every time that I was going to sit down to write to remind her to go write too. 

So, I reached out to her a few minutes ago as I sat down to write this evening to tell her it was time to write. I guess I’ll find out why she stopped talking to me a few days ago and if it had anything with my failure to respond to her suggestions. 

I don’t communicate well with women. My last several failed relationships are ample evidence of that. I don’t seem to be able to get across what I want out of the relationship, and I don’t seem to understand what they want from me out of the relationship. And when we hit a rough patch, I fail to communicate my issues and become a passive-aggressive jerk instead, which only makes the problem worse. Thus my current decision to be celibate for at least six months and maybe longer if I still don’t feel like I’m capable of a healthy relationship. 

At least my existential crisis has subsided somewhat from my last blog post. It has been replaced by cabin fever. Well, not entirely. I still am trying to figure out the meaning of life and what I ought to be doing with mine in particular, but I’m feeling less obsessive about it. 

Yesterday, I managed to distract myself by rearranging the furniture in my office. We’ll see what distractions tomorrow holds.