Monday, April 13, 2020

The Pandemic Gamblers

   Since it’s going to be some time before I venture out for a haircut, I’ve been thinking about possible hair styles and I’ve settled on having Naomi weave it into a long braid that will hang down my back, a sacred seagull feather lashed to the end with rawhide. Then I can pose as an Indian and open a casino on the outskirts of my hometown. I’ll be the last surviving member of the Wannascooter Tribe, known for organizing their grocery raids mounted on antique motorcycles.

   For my initial crowd of gamers, I’ll invite all those people who’ve been ignoring the social distancing and stay-at-home recommendations and orders, because they’re apparently inveterate gamblers.

   The preachers who insist on holding cozy services and funerals. Those who’ve been flocking to the beaches and the national parks. The spring breakers and the Mardi Gras revelers and the unnecessary interstate travelers and the public officials and governors who only reluctantly and recently joined the nationwide movement to suppress the virulent spread of infection with stringent preventive measures. Those who refuse to wear face coverings in public and who flout the minimum six-foot recommendation.

   These people are all great gaming prospects ripe for the picking because, against the obvious odds, they’ve not only chosen to gamble with their own lives but also with exponential numbers of other people’s lives as well. High rollers, indeed.

   I’ll make a fortune.

   Numerous as these gamblers are, though, they are far outnumbered by those stepping up with cooperation, courage, ingenuity, and determination. From the severely stressed health care fighters on the front lines to those working behind the lines to come up with inventions and treatments and badly needed products, and those risking their health daily in all those essential jobs that keep our nation running and keep our people fed.

    MLK Jr. said, “. . . only when it is dark enough can you see the stars.”

   There are thousands upon thousands of stars shining in the current darkness.


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