Tag Archives: COVID-19

Death in place of pain

“Sometimes a scream is better than a thesis.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

Thrust into a modified global reality where the skyrocketing daily death rate has become a TV screen graphic as commonplace and mundane as lotto numbers, it’s hard not to pull that handheld mirror in for a closer look.

As a general rule, I have spent much of my adult life sprinting from pain, but standing steady for death.

With a bevy of nutritional supplements, a crippling need for exercise, and a diet that has become so limited it’s nearly impossible for any average human to follow, a meticulously constructed system has been designed to maximize health and eradicate weakness or deficiency. 

I’m smart enough to realize it’s most likely the result of pure insanity, but convincing myself of its necessity reinforces its strict adherence…and the loop spins round and round.

For some wholly inexplicable reason, colds, viruses, sore muscles, mental fatigue, any decline of joint function/mobility, headaches, reduced energy levels, etc. are avoided like the plague. But the threat of death is embraced with almost zero care or concern.

There is definitely some mixed brain wiring to blame for a deleteriously inverted fight-or-flight response, but this black-and-white laissez-faire perspective with regard to mortality has probably been rattling around in this head for longer than I’d like to acknowledge.   

To confess that a torn ACL ranks higher on a list of fears than a fatal plane crash is pretty vulnerable stuff. But this blog has repeatedly been a platform for naked testimony, and there’s no point in trying to pull up the covers now.

As always, there’s a focus here on sharing, not solutions. Catharsis takes many forms, and if an online diary is simply a means to wipe away some mud from the surface of the madness, so be it.

Introspection can be a nauseating teacup spin into the most baffling recesses of the psyche, but the fun is following the breadcrumbs back to the beginning…unless some hungry crows have already had their way with your exit strategy. 

Adolescence Interrupted

Life and Loss

A terrifying concept of personal psychological hell states, “On your last day on Earth, the person you became will meet the person you could have become.”  —Anonymous

This could be read as a simple warning to keep carpe diem on the top of the list, or a friendly injunction not to squander talents or time.

But in this moment of global uncertainty and personal panic, perhaps the message is much simpler at its base. The clock on the wall that seemed to run on solar power is really just a parasitic imposter, suckling at the teat of a couple of old Duracells.

The days, weeks, and months are disappearing at an alarmingly unsettling rate. We are relinquishing the reins precisely when the horse needs our help to find his footing. But this is not a roller coaster that ends when our eyes finally open, and there is no waiting on the sidelines until things return to “normal.”

People are going to continue to die, and we need to prepare for the weight of that loss. There is an emotional heft in the acknowledgment that so much could have been prevented and so many lives could have been saved.

We are a selfish, shortsighted, and dangerously myopic society. Unwilling to sacrifice our petty personal “freedoms” for the greater good of our most vulnerable citizens will ceaselessly drive these infection rates and further delay any notion of achieving even a remotely flattened curve.

We’ll keep striding into crowded restaurants and bars without masks, and pretend this is all some overblown hoax designed by imaginary foreign foes (or local liberals) to keep us incarcerated in some oppressive fairytale prison of our own creation.

Wake up. Mask up. Shut up.

You’re ridiculous and ignorant to believe your life has any more value than another’s. Putting your foot down in refusal is merely flattening the gravesite soil.

Adolescence Interrupted

A Generation Modified

“It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society.”    —Jiddu Krishnamurti

Life locked behind windows and doors.

A new reality. A new planet. A new challenge.

An opportunity to do it right this time.

Developing minds are being asked to trade outside stimuli and ordinary social interactions for a brief glimpse at grandma on a small, shaking screen or distracted learning from remote educators saddled with unfair expectations and dwindling patience for throwing blindfolded darts at moving targets.

Still, the anti-quarantine protests and a deadly desire to dive back into “normal” life dominate the headlines. If we were all in mutual agreement with some widely accepted notion that the world we constructed was normal, I think it’s time for a better blueprint.

The growing chasm of wealth disparity is threatening to hobble established empires, the planet’s resources are irresponsibly plundered to fill the coffers of selfishly shortsighted puppet masters of profit, and we remain numb to the impending downfall by affixing our eyeballs to screens that constantly, cleverly administer just enough dope (and dopamine) to keep us begging for the chance to be repeat customers.

But there is hope. The next generation has a bullshit detector the likes of which we’ve never seen, and it won’t bow at the altar of blind acquiescence. It is deeply feeling the effects of this pandemic, and that code is being imprinted and branded on impressionable, malleable mental motherboards. Lessons for the future are being ingested in the present.

Those in power better seize this final opportunity to blatantly misallocate vital financial resources, sacrifice the sick who are too scared, too poor, or too alone to save themselves, and take one last lap around that privileged scotch circle. Your cigar-stained fingers are raising a glass in celebration of your own demise.

Adolescence Interrupted

My World Never Feels Safe…And Now I’m Right

The roads are all lined with eggshells. Tiptoes and feather steps, thinking back to a time when sidewalk cracks were the only items on a list of things to avoid.

Leaving a house full of physical walls to venture outside into a world of imaginary ones is a nasty little mind trick to navigate.

For many years I have maintained some semblance of sanity by following a specific series of patterns, habits, and concocted restrictive rules to live among the “normals,” and do my best to blend. Now, everyone else has systems, and there’s just too much competing static to cut clean s-curves without a face full of powder.

Monkey bar-swinging from one brain surgery to the next has saddled this lanky lad with a backpack full of trauma, and it’s a daily challenge to keep those shoulders back. But when that carefully calibrated balance is disrupted, and uncontrollable variables are added to the recipe, the already-crispy cookies in the oven tend to emerge blackened and burned.

If the personal side effects of this historic snapshot are nothing more than increased worry, discomfort, and agitation, I will consider myself incredibly lucky. Countless victims of this global tidal wave would gladly trade everything for a little increased anxiety.

Nervousness is temporary. Asphyxiation is not.

This is Chapter One. We are wading into dangerous waters, and we’re not even waist-deep. Stay vigilant. Stay clean. Stay supported.

Stay safe.

Adolescence Interrupted