I’m working on this fine Thanksgiving Day. That means that I’m often perusing the depths of my phone as I wait for the bat phone to ring. Like most stories I read of late, the content of today’s entries keep mentioning restrictions and cancellations of typical events. The mention that spurred me to offer my own volley into the bloggy battle was that some the parades have been canceled.
I haven’t watched a parade in years—maybe 20 years. I remember watching them as children. I cared about every part of them. I loved the floats. I wanted my group to perform. And when I was around 18, my family even went to the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in NYC.
But then I became an adult and went off to the Air Force to be a hero pilot. Something changed in me. I just stopped caring about the parade. Music preferences had changed. Lots of things felt different. Maybe it was my mental attitude, more concerned with war and the inner conflict of wanting to distinguish myself through one but not actually wanting to participate in one, but what I know is that it became difficult to care about what I considered to be small potatoes
I think I might even say that because of the gravity inherent to flying, I found myself wanting more and more to entertain myself precisely as I chose, and not with some other person’s method. A bit dramatic and morbid, but I could admit that my opinion became, “If I could die any day, I don’t want to have lived someone else’s life.”
Skip to the pandemic. I can’t see Metallica. I can’t go to the symphony. I can’t attend church (in a meaningful way). That’s no fun. But now I don’t have to have an excuse to stay home. Now, I can shut myself off from the world without an excuse. I can use my phone. I can use my laptop. Most importantly, I can use my books. I can sit around reading or texting all day long, and never feel guilty for being fairly anti-social. Hear me clearly: through the pandemic, I have not been terribly inconvenienced, but I have been relieved of a terrible feeling (guilt).
“With COVID-19 out there, we could die any day,” we now say. Then we hunker down and pretend to be making sacrifices for the good of each other, for the good of our nation, for the good of our children, hell, for the good of the world.
“We are heroes!” we allow, silently.
But the dark truth is this: we like our new way of life. It’s easy. It’s without guilt. And it’s how we’ve kinda always wanted life to be—alone, undisturbed, and free from responsibility.
And it’s all because we believe that we could die any day.