Interesting Times

There is a Chinese curse which, when translated, states “May you live in Interesting Times!”  I think I’ve been cursed.

I passed a milestone recently.  My website informed me that I had just completed my 50th blog.  I started writing these blogs in order to explain my thoughts behind some of my “palzewisms”.

A palzewism is a one-liner that I, Ken Palzewicz, use on a regular basis, usually in an attempt to elicit a laugh.  I have several of them and when I started writing, I would assign them a random number in order to perpetuate a myth that I had them all written down somewhere.  

Today, especially in this COVID-19 climate, I have decided that it is finally time to unveil my #1 Palzewism.  

Palzewism #1 – Everybody has the right to be STUPID.  Some people are abusing their privileges!

Now, before we go any further, I think it might be a good idea to present my definition of stupid.  

People make decisions and then act on those decisions.  Those actions then have consequences, either good or bad.  We make these decision/action/consequence choices all day every day.  Some work out to our advantage and we call them good.  Some make things worse and we chalk them off as bad.

Now, normally we factor in the potential consequence of an action before making a decision.  For example, I know that a pan coming out of the over will be hot and I decide to use hot pads.

STUPID is being unaware of potential consequences.  A stupid person would grab the pan and burn themself.  They were unable (or unwilling) to think through the decision/action/consequence line before committing to a task.  A STUPID action is usually followed up by an outside party inquiring “What were you thinking?”  The most common answer to that query?   “I don’t know” (usually mumbled with the person’s eyes glued to the floor and gingerly holding whatever body part they damaged).

Now, I believe that being STUPID is usually a temporary condition, not a terminal one.  I actually like to think of STUPID as job security, being a teacher.  I have no problem with people being stupid.  The problem I have is when their decision/action/consequence behavior endangers my life.

COVID-19 responses have run the spectrum from those practically living in a hermetically sealed bubble to those who are licking every doorknob they see.  I fall somewhere in the middle.  Yes, I wash my hands more frequently than I have in the past but I don’t scrub in for surgery before every meal.  Yes, I wear a mask when I go to a store but I don’t wear one in my house or car.  Yes, I stand six feet apart from people who don’t live in my house but I don’t run away from people who want to shake my hand ( I offer an elbow).  These are truly Interesting Times!

The other day I went to Walmart to pick up some supplies for the food pantry I volunteer at.  My wife was ahead of me in the checkout line with a cart of items we needed for home and I had the cart of supplies. We both had our masks on, stayed six feet away from each other, wiped off the carts before we started, and followed the suggested arrows on the floor on how to safely navigate the store. As she was checking out, I began to place my items on the conveyor belt.

At that moment, my “spidey-sense” alerted me.  I turned around and I was standing face to face with a woman.  She was NOT six feet away!  She was NOT wearing a mask!  She was reaching over my food to grab a snickers bar from the candy display.

I have to admit that I almost screamed.  I quickly put the rest of my stuff up on the belt and asked my wife to let me by.  I stood away as the cashier rang up my purchases.  I went back when it was time to input my card and I was relieved that the woman was still at the end of the belt.

Now in the above scenario, I was okay with some of the stupid decisions made by the woman up to that point.  Ignoring recommendations of wearing a mask and proper social distancing are, in my opinion, STUPID.  But it is her right to embrace her stupidity.

What I was not okay with was that her STUPID had the potential to impact me!  She (and others) may not believe that this virus is as bad as the media reports.  I (as others) believe that the facts are being accurately reported.  Her ignoring the recommendations put me in jeopardy! 

The flip side of STUPID is CRAZY.  CRAZY is different because these people acknowledge the consequences of certain actions but believe that they are SPECIAL and those consequences cannot possibly happen to them.  They rationalize their behavior based on nothing bad happening the last time.  These people use phrases like “Survival Rate”, “Herd Immunity” and “Natural Immune System”. 

Yes, I agree that the survival rate of COVID-19 is pretty high.  I still don’t want to catch it!  At least, not until the medical community has a better handle on how to detect, treat, and cure this.  This will come through time, patience, and treating those who already have it. Yes, most will get over this but people have DIED from this.  

The argument that I have heard lately is that I should expose myself to this to teach my body how to fight this in the future.  This seems like a new version of Russian Roulette.  Yes, the odds are in my favor (did you just think of the “Hunger Games” too?) but a chance of death? No thank you, I pass.

I know people are frustrated that everything is closed.  Believe me, I totally understand.  For the last six weeks, I have been staying at home with my wife, three sons on the autism spectrum, and a cat.  Sometimes, I can only tolerate being around the cat!  It’s hard not doing things, going places, having a purpose.  People want things to open back up.  This is STUPID! The decision/action/consequence track is pretty clear on this.  If we go back to normal, more people will get this virus.  The more people who get this virus, the more people will die.  It seems like some people are OK with that scenario, as long as it is not them.

The Bible has many stories of a group of people who demanded something to be done without considering the consequences.  The Israelites demanded Aaron build a “god” in the shape of a golden calf when it appeared that Moses had abandoned them (Exodus 32).  People thought it would be a good idea to build the Tower of Babel.  

Paul, in the New Testament, gives all of us the perfect answer when we question Stay at Home orders.  In Romans 13:1-2, he writes “Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.  Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves.

This is more difficult to hear when you realize that he wrote this when Christians were being killed daily for their beliefs by the very governments he is defending. Paul is telling us that the people in charge right now, the ones who are making the decisions that affect our daily lives, have been put there by God for this exact time and place.  Does this mean we blindly follow? No, but we obey.  We can question and complain but when all is said and done, we obey.  We obey because God tells us to obey.

Consider the following scenario.  I go out and contract for the COVID-19 virus.  Now, according to SCIENCE (which is the archnemesis for STUPID), I will be fine for anywhere between 2 and 14 days.  I will still be interacting with others at that time, passing the virus to them.  When I do get the symptoms, I quarantine, but the damage is already done.  I will probably survive, but I can’t guarantee that everyone I passed it to will do so as well.

I am not afraid of catching COVID-19.  I am afraid of passing it on.  Because if I pass it on to you and you die,  I would be STUPID.  And I will never forgive myself!


Prayer: Lord Jesus!  We are living in interesting times!.  Things are uncertain and scary.  We ask that you send a spirit of discernment to those in charge so they can navigate all through this.  We also ask you to allow people to fully understand the potential consequences of their actions.

I usually ask you to leave a comment and share this post.  I know that this will upset some of you and, to be quite honest, that is the purpose. If you agree with the words above, feel free to share them with your friends and family, along with your comments.  If you disagree, as is your right, please just move along.  I’m not here to start a debate.  I just want to add my thoughts to the dialog.

God Bless you and your family during these interesting times.

2 thoughts on “Interesting Times

  1. Thanks Ken for giving us yet another way to look at this pandemic and the ensuing restrictions on our “New Normal”. In my surprisingly long life I have seen many changes and this is just one more change to which I must become accustomed. Remember, this too will pass and we will be on to the next crisis.

    Like

  2. 👍🙏👍

    Like

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