Monday, April 13, 2020

Have we gone soft?

"Government overlording" ... "mainstream (or "lamestream") media hysteria" ... "socialism" ... The blogosphere is full of right wing paranoia. Of course, it's their right to share their opinions on their own blogs, just as it's their right to dismiss me as a "libtard."* They can work themselves into a lather about this all they want -- as long as they stay home.

Cool poster from WWII

But I wonder how these rabid right wingers would have behaved during WWII. Would they have been this unpatriotic then? Today these people foam at the mouth about their personal freedoms being restricted. Can you imagine how they would have similarly bitched and moaned about:

•  Being asked to grow their own vegetables in Victory Gardens?
•  Using ration stamps for household staples?
•  Sticking to a national speed limit of 35 mph to preserve tires and gas?

We have it so much easier than our grandparents did. We are asked to sit on our sofas and watch cable, livestream movies, read books, and pick up carryout as we wait for our government stimulus checks. (Which will be direct deposited -- most of us don't even have to fill out a form or go to the bank!)

The United States is now #1 in corona virus deaths. Now is the time for all of us to serve our country as best we can. Perhaps, instead of fixating on one's inability to buy ammo (!), we should channel our inner grandmas. They didn't complain about shortages and restrictions, they proudly collected bacon dripping and made eggless cakes. I imagine that they would be very ashamed of their soft and selfish grandsons/daughters, who moan so mightily at making far fewer sacrifices for the greater good of their nation.

Or, to borrow from that WWII Navy hero who became president, maybe it would be nice if instead of complaining, we ask what we can do for our country.

*Of course, the suffix "tard" is hurtful. Not to me, but to those with learning disabilities. But then, these tend to be the same people who heedlessly call the COVID-19 "the China virus." This willfully insensitive and cruel language makes me so happy to be on this side of the political divide.

24 good minutes

Yesterday, we had our own small Easter miracle. I called Henry, and we managed to get through the entire call without mention of furlough vs. medical leave, or his rage about his hospitalization over New Year's.

I told him I saw him on the Facebook feed from his church. He wore his Sunday best pink shirt and did a reading in Spanish. We laughed when he asked me how he did.

"Honey, I don't speak Spanish."

"Yes! I forget!" He told me he read the Bible verse where Mary Magdalene encounters Christ outside the tomb, and he calls her by her name. It was very important to him to participate in the Sunday service. There were only three of them in church yesterday: the pastor, Henry and his friend Phyllis, who also did a reading and was his wheels to and from.

I worshiped with Henry at that church on Christmas, and there was no Spanish read. I didn't notice any accented English from the parishioners before or after the service. But Henry's condition has deteriorated since Christmas -- I don't know why, but it clearly has -- and I suspect this was a kindness on the part of the pastor. With no job to go to, to help define him, Henry has become less moored to reality. Being assigned this reading on such an important Sunday meant a great deal to my friend. (So good on you, Pastor!)

We compared our Easter menus. Patrick was making a feast for the household -- baked ham, spaghetti squash and a dessert made using a can of pears from the cupboard. I grilled myself a steak and had sides I picked up Boston Market (mashed potatoes and creamed spinach).

He got weepy when he talked about our mothers. Henry recalled that my mother loved decorating her house for Easter -- they met only once, but I swear he remembers everything she said. He still insists the first book he ever read was a gift from his mother -- Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl. When he was in pre-school. I don't see how that is remotely possible, and if it was, I think it shows dubious parenting on the part of his mother. But whatever. Yesterday Henry was sad because that copy, the one Mother presumably placed in his 4-year-old hands, was damaged by mold and mildew.

I knew we were headed to Crazy Town. Tears never precede anything good with my friend. So I told him to preserve the book by wrapping it Saran Wrap* and said I had to go: Jesus Christ, Superstar was about to start on NBC.

I told him to tell Patrick and Reg "hi." I reminded him to eat, eat, eat! We said we loved each other.

I hung up happy. I must remember the lessons of Sunday's call -- keep it short and have an agenda before I dial (or, as if more often the case, pick up) so I can pivot back to it.

*Is that true? I don't know. I just wanted to divert him.