The other pandemic

We’re all about coronavirus for the past year and a half. Something most of us had never heard of or considered before 2020 is now the fulcrum on which everything in our lives turns. Our conversations invariably revolve around the pandemic, the Delta variant, masks, and vaccines. Yet, there is another pandemic sweeping through our land whose effects are equally tragic. I’m talking about…

The Obliviousness Pandemic!

Yes, obliviousness has taken our country, and possibly the entire world, by storm, leaving death, destruction, ignorance, and oppression in its wake. I see the symptoms of this deadly condition everywhere I look.

  • The person who hears “Black lives matter” and scornfully replies “All lives matter!”
  • The one who doesn’t believe in vaccines even though vaccines have effectively wiped out (or at least ameliorated the effects of) some of the most deadly and contagious conditions the world has ever known: smallpox, polio, measles, chickenpox, influenza, tetanus, hepatitis A & B, and many, many more. And yet they suddenly fear the Covid vaccine. Can you spell o-b-l-i-v-i-o-u-s?
  • If you’ve disabled the muffler on your car, motorcycle, SUV, or pickup truck thinking it would make you (1) cooler, (2) safer, and/or (3) more of a man (sexist, yes, but what woman would be foolish enough to do such a thing?), seek professional help right away. You’re a victim of the oblivious epidemic. And everyone else within earshot (i.e. a mile or so) of wherever you drive is a victim of your obliviousness.*
  • Anyone who thinks Donald Trump gives a flying fig about anything but himself and wouldn’t slit their throat if he thought it would add to his bank account and he could get away with it. Or that he’s a conservative.
  • If you never considered the possibility of a pandemic hitting us, as so many have throughout history, you’ve been struck with this condition.
  • Smokers.
  • The billionaire who thanks the people he has exploited for financing his insane space boondoggle. Oh, and the people he exploited who don’t recognize it.
  • Anyone with a “Coexist” bumper sticker who runs red lights and cuts off people in traffic.
  • Me, much of the time.
  • Then there are the obvious, longstanding examples, such as the person hauling a month’s worth of groceries through the 10-items-or-less line, the clown going below (or even at) the speed limit in the left lane of the highway, and the Jeopardy contestants who always start at the top left of the board instead of intentionally trying to find the “Daily Double” by choosing higher value clues early in the game.

There are millions of examples, at least as many as there are people. I’ve expounded on this general topic before but realized I could create a whole new post by repackaging it. ūüôā

Where have you seen obliviousness? Or are you oblivious to it?

*One of the most heinous aspects of this epidemic is that it doesn’t cause the victims any ill effects. It only harms others! Imagine if contracting Covid didn’t hurt you at all? What if only other people, some of whom you might never come in contact with, who might even live half way around the world, had to go on ventilators? (Right now, the oblivious among us are thinking, “That would be great!” sigh)

Pop the thought stack!

think2muchI’ve said it before and I’m likely to say it again. I think too much.

I’d be aware of this fact even if the people around me didn’t regularly remind me. (Yeah, it’s that obvious.) Thinking too much is way-wicked better, though, than the more typical American attitude of thinking too little or the almost pandemic not-thinking-at-all. Thinking is Good.

Still, thinking too much has its own set of drawbacks.

One negative is that I get stacks and stacks of ideas to write about for blogs, articles, fiction, and scripts – more than I’d ever be able to get around to in this lifetime.

pop1To cut down on that pile, allow me to pop the stack with a random dump of topics here. With sufficient thought (of which, as I’ve mentioned, I have an overabundance) and time (of which I have precious little) some of these might justify an entire post of their own. Who’s got time for that? I’m too busy thinkin’.

Have you noticed that, as movies get shorter*, credits get longer? You’d think the equation “shorter movies = less to do = less credit” would apply, but you’d be wrong. There are more people getting credit for doing whatever they do. It bucks the whole business trend of “doing more with less.”

IAWLcreditsLook at a classic film like the seasonally appropriate “It’s a Wonderful Life”. The credits list only the major acting roles, director, screenwriter, costume designer, and a few others. Buried in the eight or nine minutes of credits today, you’ll find the insurance company underwriting the movie, five drivers, the caterer(s), several assistant background colorists, and a seemingly infinite number of other obscure jobs. (Key grip, lock grip, best boy, worst girl, mediocre pet.) No exaggeration: Today’s trailers list more credits than did entire films from the 40’s.

[*They are getting shorter in general, with the obvious exception of “Interstellar“. If movie length affected credit length, the credits for that epic-in-its-own-mind would roll longer than an average romantic comedy runs in its entirety.]

Speaking of classic movies, does anyone else see a problem with the current practice of labeling a newly released film an “instant classic”? Is that legit? It seems to me that a little passing of time is required to test whether something is truly classic. Otherwise, why not have brand new antiques? Anyone who can explain all this will become an instant legend.

gershwinWhen Robin Williams died before his time, it reminded me how much I grieve when an artist dies, not only for the loss of life, but at the loss of the great works that will never be. My most painful example is George Gershwin, possibly the greatest musical genius in American history, who died at age 38. Those first 38 years produced a wealth of memorable music. How many more great musical creations went to his grave with him? Another “Porgy and Bess” perhaps? An entire rainbow of Rhapsody’s? That’s something to mourn.

I called the doctor the other day and was greeted with a recording that said, “If this is a life-threatening medical emergency, hang up and dial 911.” I don’t even know where to begin on that one. First of all, do we need to say “hang up”? That would seem obvious. Anyone who calls the main switchboard of a hospital during a “life-threatening emergency” does indeed have serious problems, but even 911 won’t help. I seem to get this same message no matter what kind of medical practice I call. Do you suppose there are a lot of people with life-threatening emergencies calling their optometrist?

The good news: Black Friday sales were down 7%. The bad (actually, tragic) news: Sales on Thanksgiving Day were up 24%. It’s official. America has completely lost its sense and moral compass.

watchesThere’s a watch store at the mall. Are enough people still buying watches to justify dedicated stores? Why is anyone buying a watch? Everyone and their pets carry cell phones that prominently display the time. Besides, clocks are everywhere now, in everything. From where I sit, I can see the time on a radio, cable box, toaster, TV, DVD player, microwave, and phone. The bathroom is the only safe place from the invasion of the timepieces. Maybe that’s where people need their watches. I hope not. To paraphrase Brian Regan, if you gotta check your watch in the john, you’re booking yourself too tight.

And in spite of all those clocks, most people are still late.

I keep hearing people complain about getting phone spam even though they’re on the do-not-call list. What do these folks think, criminals check the DNC list before making their illegal robo-calls? Do they suppose murders would cease overnight if we had a do-not-kill list? Heck, let’s give it a try. I’d sign up.

Have you been in a sporting goods store lately? The floor space in these places is taken up by about 5% sports equipment and 95% clothes. It appears that no one is actually playing any sports these days, but if one breaks out, we’ll be ready.

Back here, I listed some things that have disappeared in my lifetime. I keep thinking of new ones:

  • searsCRTs
  • Fotomat (Remember those short-lived dinosaurs?)
  • film
  • All-encompassing catalogs such as Sears, JC Penney, and Montgomery Wards

Actually, all catalogs have outlived their usefulness as much as slide rules, Yellow Pages, and unfoldable road maps, but the individual retailers keep sending them out, especially around Christmas. I’m getting catalogs from companies I last did business with over ten years ago. Others are from companies I never even heard of. My recycling bin could have a field day if it had an internet connection.

Driving down the road recently, I was cut off by a guy whose car sported a “coexist” bumper sticker. He wants all races and religions to coexist peacefully but he can’t even coexist with the next car.

That’s a load off…