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Thanksgiving In The Time Of COVID

Hopefully, I’ll be granted a little leeway this week as I’ve been paying precious little attention to the “news.” Folks are going to do what folks are going to do, and I can’t do a blasted thing about it.

It’s not that I don’t care what’s going on, nor is it that I don’t know the gist of what’s happening. But staring at cable news when the new season of The Crown has just dropped seems to be a misallocation of time.

To be sure, there are some amusing things among our current events. English majors across the country collectively smirked when Rudy Giuliani confused “opacity” with “transparency,” which is akin to mistaking “wrong” for “right,” and therefore falls into Mr. Giuliani’s bailiwick.

Then there’s the saga of Donald Trump’s hair. I’ve always heard that a trauma can cause one’s hair to go gray overnight, and that could explain what happened to the trademark Trump coiffure.

In any event, I like the change and recommend that Trump slip an Elizabeth Arden consultant into the White House to fix that foundation. Toasty Beige in the Flawless Finish line would provide him with the coverage he needs while giving him a skin tone that actually occurs in nature.

But all of us know the real news of the day isn’t about hair color or vocabulary. Stories about alleged election fraud may ignite the unrealistic hopes of diehard Trump supporters and the fears of those who want him out, but all of that is a below the fold story.

Joe Biden is going about the business of getting ready to take over on January 20 of next year, regardless of whether or not there’s some type of transition in the meantime. The political guessing games related to speculating about the cabinet will take place over the next few weeks as usual.

But the real story is COVID-19 with Thanksgiving coming up next week. The chart of new cases in the United States looks like the kind of returns investors can only dream about, increasing four fold in just over two months.

Meantime, it’s not clear whether the country is going into the holidays with greater resolve to control the increasing spread of disease or is throwing caution to the wind. I suspect there are some whose behavior will be more careful while others will, shall we say, carry on as before.
To be sure, this is a strange place in which to find ourselves, but then here we are. No single reason exists to explain all of this, and no single action will fix it.

One of my little indulgences is the purchase of each year’s datebook. I favor a particular type that I’ve been using for many years. This calendar records the inconsequential details of living—doctor’s appointments, lunches with friends, scheduled deliveries, and the like. 2020 started out that way, followed by cancellations in late March, and then nothing.

On May 22, Texas saw the first decrease in COVID deaths over a two week period, so I started using the evening portion of the calendar to record the percentage by which the numbers were going down. By early June, the number of new cases started going up, so I recorded those, too. Predictably, deaths started rising. To this day, I’ve noted those statistics where I should have written when, where, and with whom Karl and I would be having dinner.

There are still the occasional appointments, zoom calls, and the bookkeeping related to my imaginary online poker winnings. The 2020 datebook isn’t defined by its robin’s egg blue leather binding, but rather by its recording of a very specific period in time, ultimately looking as dated as a World War II ration book.

Ordering the book for 2021 will be an act of faith. The first months will probably look much like these last ones of 2020. As the year progresses, faith allows the later months to be visualized as looking something like 2019. And that one of those days will include an entry for a time and location to get a proven, effective vaccine.

With all due apologies to Maxine Waters, we can only reclaim our future time, but not most of the time we lost. Many of us were taught that sacrifice today reaps future benefits, and lots of folks still believe that. How that translates into specific behavior in this current environment is anyone’s guess.

It’s kind of like the dressing versus stuffing argument. What we do and what we call it has something to do with how we were raised.

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