A heads-up on this one, folks. I’m not going to pull any punches here today. The gravity of the situation precludes it.

As a general rule, we all suffer from a significant normalcy bias. The sun rises, it rains, the mail comes and it all looks like just another day. That makes it easy to just trundle along on auto-pilot. Nothing out there in the world looks like slimy green toxic waste or pulse-glowing objects shimmering with blue radiation. But that stuff isn’t real. It’s pure Hollywood. Understandable, I guess that these should be our points of reference because movies and television have inexorably trained us that way. In the end, just before the credits roll, everything resolves to a nice, tidy happy ending. Yeah, there’s a lot of smoking debris in the background, and a lot of “extras” lying in cooling heaps, but it doesn’t matter because they were expendable anyway, and the hero and the significant love interest can walk or limp away, to become healed and happy in short order.

Pardon my French, but that’s all bull biscuits. Reality is a far more treacherous animal. Viruses are too small to see, you can’t hear ominous music in the background, and the bodies that end up on the floor don’t get up again. You have to bury them. And they were far from expendable.

As we were all hunkering down and businesses were closing their doors, news dribbled in about college students ignoring warnings and gathering on Florida beaches and other spring break favorites as if nothing was happening. Several bragged and dismissed warnings — on camera — saying it was not likely to hurt them. They are young and strong. It’s only dangerous for old people. Besides, they came to party, and they deserve it.

Yeah. About that. Does the term Typhoid Mary mean anything to them? Probably not. In fact, it’s an even money bet they were never actually taught about that in school. Me and mine fitting within multiple elements of the most at-risk demographic, it was difficult remaining particularly charitable when I heard several of these college students who ignored multiple warnings about non-symptomatic transmission of this particular coronavirus returned to college from Spring Break well infected and testing positive for COVID-19. Several are now in hospitals attempting to recover from it. No, I can’t say I’m feeling any too sorry for them. The whole short-run hedonistic passel of spoiled brats pooh-poohed the idea of social distancing in favor of getting drunk and exploring all the niches, pockets and corners of their “deserved” debauchery.

Now we have reports of “virus protesters” and some other kids who also presume they are invulnerable deliberately going into stores and coughing on the merchandise and fruits and vegetables. To my way of thinking that should be immediately followed by arrest and mandatory testing for the COVID-19 virus. That shouldn’t be too much of an inconvenience because if they do it here in Northeast Texas — and get caught at it — I suspect they’ll soon be on their way to the ER anyway. This stuff is deadly serious. Play stupid games, win stupid prizes. Those are called consequences.

Modern medicine and skillful and talented doctors can do a lot of things, but the reality is, they just can’t fix stupid, and you’d have to be living in a very deep hole indeed to claim ignorance.

Speaking of supreme arrogance and just plain evil, as of this afternoon, (Tuesday) any possible federal economic relief has been repeatedly torpedoed by the speaker of the House and Senate minority Democrats by means of reneging on a previously agreed compromise and inserting a double handful of untenable Green New Deal elements. These are just a few known and guaranteed poison pills. Not much I can say about that here in print. Most of the contents of my opinion of them involve severe and strong language. Some of the more pronounced sticking points are A: increased labor union powers; B: same day voter registration C: phone-in voting.

Yeah. you read that correctly. What could possibly go wrong? I’ll let you react as you feel the need, but letting your representatives immediately and loudly know exactly how you feel about that would be advised and encouraged.

About the most recent infection/dose of politically correct hand wringing regarding those, “uncomfortable with calling this a Chinese virus,” you might as well put on the symbolic diaper pin and seek out a puppy to pet. From this point on, and henceforth — here at The Paper Radio — the Chinese/Wuhan/coronavirus illness shall be known as the “Kung Flu.” If that makes your nose wrinkle, dang. I recommend a weep tissue from your hoarded stock of toilet paper and a dose of prescription strength “get over it.” If my Aunt Masako can deal with it, so can you.

Color me feeling pretty well disgusted with some of my viciously manipulative fellow men. The industrial level seething hatred — harbored, nurtured and indulged, then paraded on display with resulting bad behavior — is not only unbecoming, it’s self-injurious and unforgivably destructive to your community.

From the PPE locker here at The Paper Radio, standing around a freshly dug hole in the ground is a poor time to realize you should have jettisoned the head games and taken this thing a lot more seriously.

Dan Beard is an 12-year Paris import who dabbles in Linux and photography. He has a 30-year history of writing content and columns for newspapers and magazines. His columns are published every Wednesday.

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