I’ve always believed that if you want to know a person’s real character, give them a lot of money, power, or alcohol, and you really see what they are like. I now need to add one other item to that list, COVID-19, otherwise known as the coronavirus.
And because of that virus, the true nature of people is showing.
Just a quick note before we get started, I don’t worry too much about contracting COVID-19. I practice good hygiene. Despite what I do for a living, I’ve made it a point to minimize my contact with others as much as possible. And to be frank, there’s probably so much alcohol, tobacco, and “other stuff” (which I will neither confirm nor deny) in my bloodstream that the coronavirus trying to infect me would be like trying to find a cheap place to stay in Speedway during the Indy 500.
But I digress.
Over the past week, I’ve had the opportunity to see people at the very best. I’ve seen examples that remind me that when it comes to humanity as a whole, my cynicism is well-earned.
Let’s start with the good. You have folks checking up on their elderly neighbors, you’ve got employers deciding to pay their employees for their involuntary time away from work, you’ve got customers stepping up and patronizing their local eatery establishments, even if it is a drive-thru. And even one of my favorite cigar bars is doing curbside service. Noblesville teachers had a car parade so they could see their students. And Eli Lilly and Roche stepped up to help speed up testing for COVID-19, which gets us that much closer to getting things under control.
But unfortunately, for every flower of humanity, there are some weeds in the garden as well.
Who are they? Where do I begin? Well, for starters, they are the people who’ve been hoarding toilet paper. Most people use between one and two rolls of TP each week. The way these folks grabbing it off the shelves, you’d think they were going to be indoors until 2025. If they’re that worried, maybe they should use less fiber in their diets. But then again, these are the same people who, when they ran to the grocery stores, left anything on the shelves that were labeled “organic,” “gluten-free,” or “natural.”
The next group that could use a whack upside the head were the idiots in Florida who all ran to the beach for spring break. You may have seen the photos on social media. Don’t worry because if you missed it. I’m sure you’ll be reading about some of them soon, probably on the obituary pages. What is so hard about understanding that you can have the coronavirus for up to two weeks before showing symptoms, and you can pass that along to others? If it wasn’t for the fact that these idiots are a danger to the rest of society, I’d throw in a line about Darwin at work here.
But perhaps the biggest group of knuckleheads in all this have been the members of the political and chatter classes, particularly who called the coronavirus a hoax and an effort to bring down the president. It’s been a while since I’ve seen so many chronic cases of foot-in-mouth disease. Luckily, there is a cure for that going forward. I call it thinking before speaking. Maybe they should try to social distance themselves from the rest of us for a while.
As I said, the coronavirus is like alcohol, money, and power. It shows who among us are flowers and who could use some Roundup.