No Fool Like An April Fool? Try The Ones Fooled In March

P.T. Barnum perhaps said it best when he offered up the memorable observation of his circus-hungry audiences:  There’s a sucker born every minute.   The days of that circus are long gone; sadly, the only circus of consequence that seems to exist these days is the one surrounding politics in America.

It has become nearly impossible for anyone–well, at least moi–to attempt to offer anything resembling an opinion that doesn’t fall blindly in line with one side of the aisle or the other.   That’s certainly the case when it comes to our old friend COVID-19.  Especially when one tries to take an objective view of exactly where we all are and why, now a bit more than four years removed from the tragic day when the world as we knew it shut down.

The overwhelming majority of people that I know–or, more correctly, used to know–are squarely on board with the narrative that it’s a deadly pandemic, still raging around us, and heaven forbid you have anything along the lines of any feelings to the contrary.   If you do, you’re as loony as those MAGAs or, worse, RFK, Jr. syncophants.  You obviously want to overthrow democracy, excommunicate anyone with a skin color other than white and believe that January 6th was a leisurely field trip for some patriotic hostages.   And if you offer to those that do support those kind of views that you even consider anyone named Biden worthy of a shred of respect, you’re seen a libtard and worthy of little more than being spit on–or maybe hogtied in the back of a pickup truck speeding down the Meadowbrook Parkway.

Having the kind of mashup beliefs that I do is both exhausting and personally debiliating at times, especially in light of how much all of this has directly impacted my life both then and now.  For the record yet again, I do believe COVID exists, just as the flu or a cold does.  I believe in vaccines; I’ve had six and will consider a seventh when the seasons and my age category change later this year–but not a second sooner.  I also believe in optimizing my personal health and thanks to the good fortune of the folks I have met since said dire day in March 2020, I’m in the best physical shape of my life.  Not that a lot of my onetime friends would know that; far too many of them still are far too afraid to interact in person and do everything possible to continue the practices that were mandated “with the utmost of precaution” more than 48 months ago.

I’ve said a lot of this before and, bluntly, if you haven’t already figured out what I really do think and why, you likely couldn’t care less.  But fortunately for the likes of the weirdos like me, someone like Bill Maher continues to have similar opinions, a pulpit to express it and enough success where he truly doesn’t give a rat’s patootie if you disagree.

So you bet I was paying attention and silently nodding while I watched him on Friday night’s REAL TIME, as has become my habit of late.  As DEADLINE’s Bruce Haring reported:

In his New Rules editorial, Maher decried the standard political question of whether we were better off four years ago, since that marked the start of the pandemic. He pointed out that many bad ideas were put forth on avoiding the virus, and theories were squelched on the pandemic’s origins, the latter now coming to light as not as crazy as originally thought. He suggested that’s why we haven’t had a Covid Commission to study what went right and wrong before the next pandemic.

If you did click on the video link, you’ll see a very balanced, very nuanced, very fact-based narrative.  Maher freely admits that some of it is personal, particularly when his name was sullied early on and was linked to the opines of Steve Bannon–certainly not the only person who harbored such beliefs, but clearly a click-baitable one at a time when a lot more of us were doomscrolling while, as the one-hit wonders Chris Franklin and The Isolators implored on Instagram, we chose to “stay the f*ck at home”.  And indeed, as he points out, those kind of headlines and habits have aged poorly.

Not that you’d readily come to that conclusion on your own even now if you didn’t force yourself into the abyss of the likes of FOX News or its sister sites, because only there will you find any narrative that comes close to offering details, like the ones Joseph Wulfsohn’s story attempted:

“I get it that we didn’t know exactly what was happening at the beginning of COVID and some mistakes were inevitable,” Maher told his audience. “But four years on, I’m tired of hearing ‘Well, we didn’t know.’ No, we didn’t. But some people guessed better than others. And the people who got it wrong don’t seem to want to acknowledge that now.” 

“Some people said closing schools for so long was pointless and would cause much worse collateral damage to kids and they were right,” Maher said.

Right, as in CORRECT.  Not as in alt-.

A good friend of mine was a superintendent of one of the few districts in the country that kept its doors open throughout 2020, in Hillsborough County, Florida.  That district ranked third in the state in test scores that year, far higher than they had in years prior.  Down South, where the higher scores tended to be, the hue and cry for shutdowns was far too vocal.  So folks didn’t go to classes, and more often than not played hooky on beaches with this sort of getup, one that Maher found particularly eye-rolling:

 “(T)he last thing you would want to do when a disease is afoot is get fresh air and sunshine and vitamin D,” Maher sarcastically said. “No, much better to stay locked up, stressed out and day drinking.”

And yet…here’s what it looks like in March 2024 in a store where I am currently getting some much-needed part-time work.  Masks as tightly wound as ever, social distancing, and general uneasiness.  And unlike past Marches, when more welcoming weather allowed local and national governing bodies to loosen whatever mandates and “recommendations” that had been laid down in the wakes of Omicron, Delta and every other Greek letter you can imagine, there’s been radio silence this spring.  It’s a “personal choice”–though if you go to the CDC website, there’s a strong push to get yet another shot if you haven’t had one in six months.   And if your insurance happens not to cover it as was the case in past Marches, well, tough noogies.

Ever try and have a conversation lately with someone masked up, as is my job’s requirement?  You hear a lot of mumbling.  You have no way to accurately judge if they’re remotely interested in what is being offered.  And more often than not, a quick “Heisman” maneuver to walk away because, hey, you’re probably an asymptomatic superspreader.

So, yep, my ability to do my job is being impacted.  Maybe not to the extend that Maher’s was.  But I can relate.

Still, I’m also not quite as indignant as he is, lest you think I’m fully sympatico.  Maher’s clearly got some issues and is holding onto grudges a tad too long, IMHO.  I for one don’t think we need a commission, because, bluntly, it’s likely not to bring about any changes.

But I truly don’t think it’s too much to ask for at least an acknowledgement that perhaps, just maybe, if you did believe that I was the sole fool out there, at least a grudging acceptance that hindsight is actually the best foresight, and rather than avoidance, perhaps you might actually just finally be open to an outdoor cup of coffee.  It’s been waaaaaaaaaaay too long and, bluntly, in spite of what you make think of me, I miss your face.  And it wouldn’t be too much to ask in such an outdoor setting to actually doff that ridiculous, utterly useless paper sheath (I defy you to show me a single credible study where any statistical difference in transmission and infection rates has been conclusively linked to wearing a mask of ANY kind) and show it.

And smile, darn you, smile.

Until next time…




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