By Buddy Early, May 2020 Issue.
As I am writing this, I have been quarantined in my apartment due to the Coronavirus pandemic for, oh, I guess about six months. Actually it’s been 13 days. Either way I’m going to need someone to tell me if I’ve lost weight or gained weight when we are done with this. I can’t tell.
Speaking of tangents, it’s impossible at this time to tell when we might be done with this, thanks to young people who think you can have as many as you want over to a house party as long as you know them. (Coronavirus only spreads amongst strangers, apparently.) If you ask me, “social distancing” is a phrase that was never specific enough, and it has led to people interpreting it in some peculiar ways. Words that should have been used instead were quarantine, isolation, and stay the fuck home.
One thing I know is that, despite not knowing when, we will get through this. But who knows what the world will be like when we emerge from quarantining, or even by the time you are reading these words. Maybe everything will be business as usual. Maybe we will be a better society. Maybe we surface into a world greater than anything we’ve ever known before? Perhaps, miraculously, we will have flying cars, pills that taste like an entire meal, and robots that perform sex acts. (“Alexa: give me a hand job.”) That would be cool, huh?
Or maybe we will have entered the apocalypse we’ve all been preparing for. Sure, I’ve watched too much of The Walking Dead and numerous end-of-the-world films — so many that I could give a Top 10 list — so my imagination runs wild at the slightest suggestion of “everything is different from now on.”
Maybe this column is the first of several that will serve to educate the next civilization about what life was like. Maybe it’s my charge to help them understand the former Earth. Maybe I’m the last chance we have to impart wisdom and knowledge to those who come after us.
If that is the case then they are in big trouble. They’d be better off learning about B.C. (Before Corona) from Chrissy Teigen or maybe or one of those TV judges. They all seem pretty smart.
Nonetheless, if it is up to me, I suppose I’m not one to shirk my responsibilities. My words to the next civilization, however, would be brief. The list of things I will not tell them about is much longer than the list of things I will tell them:
I will not tell them about The Bible, or about religion at all.
I will not tell them about Capitalism, borders, or patriotism.
I will not tell them about how two men sitting upright in bed together on thirtysomething was a milestone, and how it led to countless advertisers pulling their commercials.
I will not tell them that Crash beat Brokeback Mountain and Munich in a Best Picture race.
I will not tell them about cancel culture, NASCAR, or podcasts.
Still, there are a few things I will tell them:
I will tell them about Law & Order, but not about Law & Order: Criminal Intent.
I will tell them about rediscovering Little Debbie products in the waning days of the pandemic.
So, if you’re keeping track: I will tell them about Law & Order and Little Debbies. Yep, that’s all.
But that’s all stinkin’ thinkin’ — as Al Franken would say. Maybe it’s the Little Debbies Zebra Cakes talking, but despite my imagination running amok I still choose to think we come out of this as a better society. Not just the same, but better.
I am hopeful that when things return to normal, they won’t be … well, normal. We will transform into a nation that is more kind, more patient, more selfless and understanding. We will achieve perspective and appreciate cultures, leading to less racism, sexism and homophobia. We will come to an agreement that people are worth more than $7.25 an hour and nobody needs, or deserves, a billion dollars. We will be ashamed that it took a crisis like this to accept that healthcare is a right, not a privilege.
This utopia sure seems like pie-in-the-sky given our B.C. point of view. But in A.C., maybe we get smart.