By Ken Trainor
Been walking quite a bit lately. You too? It's a gratifying experience. I've never been thanked so often for going out of my way to avoid people.
And I've never been so tempted to use my favorite line from the end of every Lone Ranger episode: "Who was that masked man?" (Or woman)
Feels good to get out, if only to survey the display of seasonal flowers, which seem to thrive in our chilly, not-in-any-hurry spring. The daffodils are dazzling, nodding as if to say, "We're cool." They shine like yellow glow sticks. Even the magnolias, burned by sub-freezing temps and burdened by two snows, have shown real hardiness, struggling through and even thriving.
Flowers aren't fragile. There's a lesson in this.
Sidewalks are a-bloom with chalk pastel bouquets. Hopscotch is making a major comeback. Creative expression abounds. Front windows are full of teddy bears and encouraging messages. My favorite is "April distance means May existence."
And speaking of creativity, I never expected to be singing "What a Wonderful World" on Earth Day to my grandsons on a computer "platform" called Zoom. April has been the cruelest — and kindest — month.
And funniest. With his UVC light and disinfectant injection suggestions, our so-called president has bottomed beyond even his own spectacularly low standards. The confluence of eye-popping ignorance and mind-boggling arrogance produces statements of staggering stupidity. But his base keeps nodding their heads like daffodils saying, "He's cool." Of course, once caught, their fearless leader pleads "sarcasm." We believe you, Mr. President. No, really, we do (P.S. that's sarcasm). As Ron Elving asked Scott Simon on NPR's Weekend Edition last Saturday, "Would your mother have bought that explanation, Scott? I don't think mine would either."
In spite of Mr. Trump's heroic efforts (sarcasm alert!) to find a cure for COVID-19, the quarantine continues. Never have so many had so much time on their hands or walked so many miles of our streets. Who knows what thoughts are rambling through their minds? Well, a few have been going through mine.
Here's a quote I found in an old notebook attributed to Chekhov: "Any fool can get through a crisis. It's this day-to-day that's killing me." But what happens when the day-to-day is part of the crisis?
Another, attributed to Oscar Wilde: "It is because humanity has never known where it is going that it has never been able to find its way."
Or Henry Ford: "Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again more intelligently."
Plenty to think about. Plenty to ponder.
Meanwhile, certain freedom-loving Americans have been congregating in large numbers in close quarters to exercise their constitutional right to act like damn fools — with the full egging-on of our alleged president. They don't want authorities telling them what to do (like staying home for their own good). Which recalls the Ursuline nuns at Ascension School who frequently reminded us that "Following directions is a test of intelligence."
If you need therapy to cope with the madness, go online and find Roy Zimmerman's song, "The Liar Tweets Tonight" (to the tune of "The Lion Sleeps Tonight"). It will do you good and steel your resolve to "Vote him away, Vote him away, Vote him away, Vote him away."
Nothing has ever been so dangerous for the status quo — or the status quo's guardians — as so many people having so much time on their hands to contemplate the flaws and unfairness of the current system.
A revolution is building.
The powers-that-be desperately want the economic engine restarted — purely as a distraction — because the longer this goes, the more clearly the inequities come into focus. No wonder the privileged are in such a hurry.
In the White House, the mighty White House, the Liar tweets tonight …
Never before have so many families spent so much time together. Kids today will be telling stories about this extended recess when they are grandparents themselves.
As Scott Simon said in his commentary on Weekend Edition, April 25:
"I hope that when both our daughters think back on this time, they'll remember how many good people worked so hard to keep the world running, often at risk to themselves. They're often people we take for granted and identify just by a job title — a nurse, a driver, a cop, a sanitation worker or a clerk. I hope our daughters will know their names and remember how much we owe them. … I hope they'll appreciate the ingenuity of their teachers, who've tried to devise new ways to fire their young minds. And I know they'll remember how their mother has held, nourished and cared for all of us in all ways."
We shouldn't be in too much of a hurry to reopen. As they say, "Never let a good crisis go to waste." We're building our immunity to Trump's impunity, in community, which reinforces unity. And strengthens our resolve to:
Vote him away, vote him away, vote him away, vote him away …
Never underestimate the power of a pandemic to reorder priorities. What's important … and what isn't? We've been given a great gift: slowing down so we have time to think … about the world we want to live in, a world where the economy and the powers-that-be serve us instead of the other way around.
April social distance means May co-existence.
Maybe the lockdown will set us free.
Pollution is fading. Gas prices falling.
Justice calls for system overhauling.
We're all in eLearning.
Is fairness returning?
A revolution is brewing, a revolution of conscious awareness that begins with revelations. Think about it. You have the time.
Who are all those masked men and women?
It's us, the Lone Rangers.
Just keep thinking:
What a wonderful world this could be.
Answer Book 2019
To view the full print edition of the Wednesday Journal 2019 Answer Book, please click here.
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