This Is Not A Good Time

Mar 12, 2020   //   by bwilber   //   Bob's Blog  //  Add a Comment

This could be my last blog for a while. I don’t know. Maybe, or maybe not. We’ll see. I just know that in the last few weeks a thing that seemed ominous and worrisome, but way out beyond the horizon, has become far more than that. This coronavirus is not a joke. It’s not a hoax. It’s nothing to be trifled with. My blog has, since Day 1 back in August of 2005, almost always been focused on fun, nonsense, uplifting stories, nostalgia, heartfelt relationships, and the love of life. I’ve rarely (if ever) pontificated or preached. I have my opinions, and others have theirs, but I’ve tried valiantly to keep those things outside the realm of the regular “stream of consciousness” that has defined this blog forever.

And now, I just don’t feel like trotting out old photos, or pics of the The Boyz, or anything like that. This is real. Life is already altered, and it’s about to get far worse.

To be honest, when I hear the scientific experts talk about those who are most vulnerable, it hits home with a thud. I’m 63 and not far from 64. I grew up with severe and chronic asthma that has clearly impacted my lungs to this day. In terms of asthma, you may “grow out of it” but the impact of it is never gone. I can deal with my allergies and arthritis with meds, but the effects of the asthma are always there and the damage was done before I was a teenager. So, yes, this whole thing worries me.

Today, I’ve had to walk away from the laptop and social media a number of times already. The myopic views of so many people who are upset (that’s putting it mildly) because their favorite attractions, sports, or events are being disrupted by this pandemic drive me basically up the wall. And look, here I am getting preachy when I hoped I wouldn’t do that. Maybe I can’t help it.

I just don’t get it. I’m not wired that way. I wasn’t raised that way. This is not something I can understand. You are irate because your favorite sports event is cancelled out of an overwhelming need for caution and care? You think this whole thing is overblown and possibly made up? OK. I hope you’re right. More than anything in the world, I hope you are right. But, scientists (as opposed to politicians) tell me different facts. If it all blows over and people stop dying, that would be fantastic. A “Godsend” so to speak. I’ll gladly trade a few months without baseball, hockey, basketball, racing, and concerts if that can be the outcome. But, would I ever say “I don’t think it’s that big of a deal so why try to stop it or mitigate it?” Not for one minute.

After 9/11, our lives all changed for quite a while. It was real. We watched it happen. We absorbed the impact of it and tried to make sense of it.

This thing is different. We are dealing with something involving the whole world. As a country, we seem sadly ill-prepared to handle this and late to react to it. Is that preaching? Maybe, and if it offends you I’m sorry but not sorry. Lives are at stake. Today, things seem to be ramping up as organizations, leagues, and private industries have made their own decisions, because they can’t wait on the powers that be. I’m proud of the sports leagues and other entities who have stepped up to be proactive. Of course, because of the way we are or have become, they’re now the target of about as much hate and mindless vitriol as they are appreciation. To me, people come first. Yes, I’m absolutely going to be lost when flipping channels for the next month or so (I can hope it’s only that long) when I can’t find any of my favorite “sports balls” on my 800 cable channels, but this isn’t about me and my TV habits. It’s about all of us.

And when I say “all of us” I mean that literally. This is about all of us. If all you can think about is elbowing someone out of the way to get the last 32-roll pack of toilet paper at Costco, think about that. There are senior citizens rightfully afraid to leave home right now. This is no time for us to devolve into some “Lord Of The Flies” anarchy. Yes, that’s what we call hyperbole, but the videos of empty shelves where toilet paper used to be back it up. Get a grip. Look out for your neighbors. Care about your community. Take CARE of yourself, and that means washing your hands, covering your mouth, and keeping your distance. Just think about it. Seriously.

People helping people.

I am so proud of my nephew, Del Quentin Wilber. He’s a brilliant journalist who, like many of his colleagues, has to deal with the crap he hears about “the media” in order to do his job the best possible way, but he’s also a wonderful human being. Maybe those two things aren’t separate. Maybe being a careful, talented, and honest journalist and a wonderful person kind of go together? OK, I’m a Wilber and I’m biased. I grew up in a family of writers and journalists. Just moments ago, on Twitter, I saw this:

It’s about all of us. It’s not about the rich, or the poor, or those who still have their heads stuck in the sand. At some point, even the skeptical are going to need help. I believe in science. I believe that when scientific experts say “No, this is not the normal flu or a common cold” they are relying on real data, not hunches or wishful thinking. We are all going to be in this together, and we’ll either help each other out and look out for the greater good or we’ll fracture and wonder what the hell happened to us. It’s our choice.

And here’s the rub… Because why wouldn’t you? As I said earlier, I get incensed by so much of what I read on social media. People who are actually OPPOSED to all of this precaution. OK dude, so maybe you’re right. Maybe this is nothing. I don’t think so, but maybe there’s a chance. I hope there’s a chance. That would be awesome. But, what have you lost by being more careful and more socially health conscious? How hard is that?

So, here I am. We’re trying to go about our lives normally, but that’s not going to be fully possible soon. When sports are a huge part of your life, as they are to me, it’s already not possible for this to be normal. Eating out? Movies? Plane flights? Hotel rooms? It’s going to have to be a new normal. I just hope we all discover the will and conviction to find a way to lessen the impact. It will take all of us. As my dad often said, “Quit your bitchin’ and pitch in.”

I’ll be back when I feel like being fun again… ┬áTake care of yourselves!!!!

If this seemed too preachy to you, maybe you need to look in a mirror. I do that on a daily basis, wondering what the right things to do are rather than the convenient things. This is just what I think, but I didn’t conjure it up on impulse, from propaganda, or for personal convenience. I listen to the science, I listen to facts, from the CDC and the WHO. I don’t take it lightly. I don’t yet know if this is the last blog I’ll write, but if it’s the last one you read because you disagree, well that’s just how it goes. All the best to you. I hope it all works out. Life will go on for me. I hope to be back here again soon with more mischief, nonsense, and merriment. Until then, be careful and look out for each other. And dammit, wash your hands and cover your coughs and sneezes!!!

Bob Wilber

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