The sad plight of the class of 2020

Back many years ago when I was a senior in high school, my last month in high school was among the best and most memorable month of my life. I felt in some days like I was in heaven. It was a very enjoyable ending to one part of my life as I looked forward to graduating and starting a new chapter in my life. Oh yes, I did get a very serious condition know as senioritis.  That condition seemed to intensify as the weather turned warmer and sunnier in May. Most high school seniors probably can relate to what I just said. The last few months for a high school senior should as memorable and enjoyable as mine.

Unfortunately a certain group of seniors will have a hard time saying that their few months were anything but memorable. Their last few months of high school were spent sitting in front of some computer at home as well as doing homework assignments. There were no seeing your buddies at school in the hallways for the last time, no proms to attend or worrying about the next track meet. Forget about all these school activities and many more. That promising senior year came suddenly crashing down sometime in mid March. It was like all the air getting sucked out of a large balloon. All those potential great memories went up in smoke due to some very contagious virus. And even graduation is being affected. Most seniors will have to go through some virtual ceremony now.

A few weeks ago, I pulled into the parking lot of a local nearby high school and noticed a few high school seniors parked in the lot. They were all sitting in the back of their vehicles facing each other probably trying to observe the 6 foot social distancing rule. Many of these kids miss their friends so this was a great way to hang out and socialize. It really dawned on me the sadness of this situation. These young girls should have been excited about prom and discussing plans for that night. Instead, they were probably talking about their frustrations with online learning and the lack of seeing other friends of theirs. I really felt bad for them. This should be the time of their lives and they are stuck in this just like all of us.

Maybe next year at this time next year, these same girls can get together at some now open coffee shop instead of sitting in the back of a vehicle and discuss how their first year of college went. And they can look back at this spring and laugh about all those hardships with distance learning. But for now, this really sucks for so many high school seniors. Your senior year and this great chapter in your lives is not supposed to end this way. I join many in offering both my congratulations and condolences to the class of 2020. You guys had a lot taken away by some freak pandemic. Several years from now, you will all have many great stories to tell your grandchildren about the spring of 2020 and the great coronavirus pandemic which essentially ended the journey. Having that kind of memory is not how anyone would want their senior year to end. I just want to wish the best of luck to the many senior out there. There will be many more pleasant memories to be captured in the coming years, especially if you attend college.

A couple of valuable lessons from the pandemic

There are a couple of ways to approach a very adverse situation. You can cower down into some corner and feel deeply sorry about your situation or you can evaluate the circumstances and learn. When one can learn and become a better person because of a difficult situation, that person will have demonstrated what their true character is all about. Most successful people are able to take a huge negative and turn it into something very positive and I think we all can learn some valuable lessons from this COVID-19 pandemic. We all will become better people because of it.

There are a couple of huge valuable lessons that I have personally learned from going through these adverse times. First of all, I will never, never take those small things in my life for granted. Many of these smalls things have been taken away from me. For example, how many of us would have ever thought of day when we would worry about buying toilet paper? I walk by the toilet paper aisle at my favorite grocery store and usually I can chose from many different brands. Never in my wildest dreams could I have imagined the day when I would have to get up early just to buy toilet paper. Fortunately, this shortage has yet to extend to regular foods. I have a deeper appreciation now for just buying everyday essential items like food and toilet paper.

Many people have lost their jobs in recent months. You turn on the news and there are always new reports of more people going on unemployment. When I hear those reports, I have a lot more appreciation for my job. My company did not shut down because we are an essential company. I will never take for granted again the fact that I can get up, go to a secure job and make money. A lot of people would die for a job like I have.

I have not been able to see many members of my family for months and now I am so much more grateful for those times when we can gather and enjoy each other’s company. And so many people cannot gather in large group settings and socialize with those special people in our lives. I will never take for granted again being with those people.

Those are just a few lessons about taking many things for granted in our lives and I can list so many more. Another huge lesson from this pandemic that I have learned is the value of staying healthy. Chances are, if you are a very healthy person and catch this virus, it will affect you no worse than catching a common cold.

But suppose you are a heavy smoker and have problems breathing. Imagine catching this virus? It would be safe to say that your chances of surviving are very slim. I cannot imagine a worse scenario to go through than dying without your family at your side. It breaks my heart when I hear stories from nurses about how their patients died alone. A lot of these hospitalizations can be prevented if more people develop good healthy habits into their lives. I have always been a very active and fit person who values exercise. Now I look more into eating healthier so my immune system gets stronger and can handle this awful virus.

And how can I not forget about the lessons of washing your hands and the new awareness of the many germs out there. Funny how we usually take those things for granted. Before this pandemic started, how many of us were washing our  hands after being out in public. I think there is a totally new awareness among millions of the value of that simple 20 second task.

So just maybe. we have learned some very hard life lessons from this pandemic that will help us become more grateful and healthy. I think many people like myself can say that. This pandemic has hurt me in many ways, but it has made me better in so many ways.

 

Great advice from my mother

Mother’s Day is a great day to honor those wonderful people in our lives and what they have done for us. Behind every good person in our society is probably a great mother who raised that person the right and proper way. We all probably have stories about certain things that our mothers taught us or even better yet, words of advice. So what are some words of advice that your mother gave you and those words of advice have proven to be very helpful in your life? I would like to share one big piece of advice that mom gave me as a youngster that has proven to be extremely helpful in these times.

For the past few months, there have been numerous public service announcements on television on the proper techniques of washing your hands. When I see those commercials, I smile and think about growing up with my mother lecturing me about washing my hands before I set foot at the dinner table. It was a nightly thing at our household. Before my sisters and I sat down and ate, we were instructed to wash our hands thoroughly. Not just sprinkling a little water and drying off our hands. No, that just did not cut it with my mom. She made sure we washed our hands correctly.

Those lessons have really paid off in my life because I religiously wash my hands, not only before I eat, but several times throughout the day. As a result of those good habits instilled into me, I very rarely get sick or catch a cold. I credit a lot of that to those lectures from my mother about the value of washing my hands.

In this age of coronavirus, those words of advice from my mother might just help me end up being safe and healthy. I know many people wish they got the same words of advice from their mothers. Images of my mother always come up when I see some public official lecturing us on the value of washing your hands. It has been drilled into me since I was 5 years old.

The often forgotten casualties of this pandemic

Many news outlets love to hype up this pandemic by showing stories of people who have survived the misfortune of contracting the corna virus. I have seen numerous stories during the past week of people who endured countless hours in some hospital ICU only to dramatically survive and return home. My heart goes out to those folks who had to go through that. You would think from watching the stories about these stricken folks that anyone who catches this virus will automatically end up in some hospital fighting for their lives. The truth is, only a small fraction of people will end up in that horrible situation. Most people who catch the virus will recover within a few weeks and be perfectly fine. I personally know 5 people who are just fine after having contracted the virus. The media is doing their best to over-hype the pandemic with these stories. Maybe they are trying to scare people into staying home for the next year. Regardless, there is another group of people which the media seems to totally forget during this pandemic. How about the people who have lost their jobs or businesses because of the tight restrictions? Maybe we could have a few more stories about those folks as well? Just a thought.

The other morning, the jobs report came out and it was not a pretty picture. Unemployment claims are now near 33 million. Yes people, 33 million people are out of work. And the unemployment rate is now around 15 percent. The last time we saw numbers like that was during the Great Depression. The current trend of people seeking unemployment claims is just not sustainable and I fear things will only get worse before they get better.

There are numerous casualties in these trying economic times. The people that I really feel for are the small business owners who risked nearly everything to start up their own businesses. For many, it was their lifetime dream to start and own a business. A lot of time was spent planning and trying to come up with the funds to begin. I know a lot of owners have wisely invested in their businesses and have seen a lot of growth in the past few years. Things seemed to be going well, then something they could not control took place. Now their dreams are ruined as well as their lives.

You don’t even have to be a business owner to feel the pain of what is going on. So many people have lost their jobs recently and there are a lot of desperate people out there. I have never personally lost my job due to a layoff, but I cannot imagine what these poor people are going through. Everyone has bills to pay and food to buy. Not having money to pay those bills and put food on your table is the worst feeling in the world. There are thousands of people in that situation right now. Not everyone qualifies for unemployment too.

I totally understand the rationale of telling sad stories of so many people losing their lives because of this pandemic. But the number of people who have had their lives turned upside down because of these hard economic times is staggering and must be addressed as quickly as possible. 15 percent unemployment is down right scary! It is no wonder why so many people are angry and protesting in the streets. There are a number of casualties that do not show up in those daily coronavirus updates. People are losing their jobs and businesses at a high rate and I find that just as sad.

When will sports come back?

Nothing will more signify that we are back to normal than having sports return and stadiums and arenas filled with fans. As a huge sports fan, I greatly long for that day to arrive. This is like the worst nightmare ever for us sports fans. Who would have ever imagined this current scenario where all sports are put on hold? The big question on everyone’s mind right now is when will sports return and under what conditions. I have a few takes on this that I would like to share.

There has been a lot of discussion about possibly resuming the NBA and NHL season along with starting the Major League Baseball season shortly. The big stipulation in all of these discussions in not having any fans in the stands and just having essential personal at the games. On the surface, this sounds like a very logical way to resume the games. Not having a lot of people in such a compact small area will likely diminish the threat of having a bunch of people become infected. Fans can just tune in on television and watch the game. Problem solved, right? Well not so fast.

What about the safety of the players involved? Anyone who has played a lot of basketball like myself knows that the players risk of becoming infected will greatly increase with all the heavy breathing that occurs during a course of a game. Players are close to each other on the court and keeping players safe in that setting is totally impossible. If I were an NBA player, I would be deeply concerned about my safety. All the hand washing in the world is useless when you have some tired winded players standing next to you and spreading his germs and the possibility that some of the germs could contain the virus. The same goes with the NHL. Hockey is another sport where there is a great threat of the virus spreading through the air. Do the people discussing the possibility of the season resuming even think about these potential risks?

It is mind-boggling to me to even consider resuming play unless the cases in the country go way down. Just one infected player can cause a huge domino effect on any sport. Perhaps there is a way to test players daily before they enter the playing field. Normal everyday people like ourselves can wear mask to our work places, what are NBA players going to wear to prevent spreading this very contagious virus? This is a huge critical element that has to be solved before resuming any sport. The player’s safety has to be considered.

As for the fans. there are a whole new bunch of risks involved before you can even fill up a stadium or arena. Does anyone have any confidence that these social distancing guidelines will be relaxed anytime soon? Perhaps they might be as soon as month from now, who knows? But I look at the number of cases in this country and it seems like we are way off become we can let a huge number of people congregate in a small area.

There has been a lot of talk about testing people before they enter the stadium or arena but does anyone really believe that would work? Imagine spending a lot of money on a ticket only to be turned away because your body temperature might be a little too high. Maybe you just walked a mile from your car and you might be a little too warm. Or maybe you just have a little cold and pose little harm to anyone else. I can just a lot of very upset people getting turned away from a game.

And you have to wonder if fans will automatically start showing up in groves once the okay is given to attend sporting events? I really believe that attendance will suffer greatly at the onset.

Sports will eventually come back but I am becoming less optimistic that it will return to normal anytime soon, maybe as long as a year from now. I used to believe that Major League Baseball could start their season by Memorial Day.  Now I believe the earliest they could start is around July 4th. The NBA and NHL would be foolish to resume their seasons and start their playoffs. As I mentioned earlier, those sports are the most at risk. Starting again in the fall might be their best option at this point. As far as the NFL is concerned, I believe they should considering delaying their season like MLB. I just do not know if starting training camps in July will be safe for the players. Maybe they need to postpone their season by a month, I don’t know.

Sports is a huge part of our country’s makeup and not having it has been a very big blow to many of us. Sadly, I am resigned to the fact that my sports fix that I posted a few weeks ago will go on through the summer. No live sports to watch, just more replays of games and YouTube videos. Some day, maybe even sooner than we think, sports will come back and all will be well again. That day seems like an eternity right now.

 

The government knows more than us dummies

One of takeaways that I have gathered from watching coverage of this pandemic is the complete control the government can have over our lives at a certain time.  We elect these people to serve us, then they turn around and tell us when we can work or not and whether our job is essential or not. Many of these decisions are made by one person, that would be the governor of a state. Furthermore, that governor can then go ahead and ban us from visiting a particular area or worse yet, tell us to just stay at home. Who gives these people the right to tell us how to run our lives? Are they not confident enough in us making the right decisions?

At the beginning of this pandemic outbreak, I started to notice many signs giving us instructions on how to properly wash our hands. The signs then extended to commercials on televisions. I wonder how much these government run public commercials and signs cost the taxpayers of this country. Sorry, but I learned how to wash my hands when I was 5 years old. I do not need some government agency lecturing me on the value hand washing for crying out loud!

Another reminder that I am getting extremely sick of is social distancing. There are tons of ads reminding us to practice proper social distancing. Oh really! I am totally aware of the risks involved at the present time with interacting too closely to people. That is my choice and I do not appreciate someone lecturing me on trying to stay 6 feet away. I know that, duh! I fully understand that I might kill someone by only standing 4 feet away from them. Good grief!

Sometimes I wonder if some of these government officials are getting a bit too carried away with their regulations during this pandemic. In my opinion, many are getting way too carried away. I can understand why there are so many protests going on at the present time. People are feeling like there freedoms and sense of personal responsibility are being taken away from them and that is just not right. It is very apparent that these government officials think they know better than us on how to be safe. So what really gives a governor the right to tell a business owner that they cannot operate in a safe manner? Doesn’t the business owner know more about his business and how to keep their employees safe? Or if I want to go out in public, don’t I have the right to make my own choice on how to stay safe?

By shutting down all these places and businesses, a ton of people are suffering and it is very unclear whether things will ever get back to normal. All because a bunch of government officials have decided that they know better on how to control our lives. Yes, apparently we cannot decide for ourselves and take the risks because we are nothing more than a bunch of dummies. Maybe these elected officials will regret their power grab come election time.

Blame China not Trump

There has certainly been a lot of finger pointing and playing the blame  game since the coronavirus pandemic first broke out. I have seen my share and probably more than my share of comments regarding this crisis. The most common comments that people are making is how our government is dealing with the outbreak. As you might have guessed, our president is at the center of many of the comments. Some folks are actually very supportive of President Trump and his handling of the crisis, while others are extremely critical. Statements such as “Trump’s lack of early action has caused many people to die” and “Trump has blood on his hands due to his incompetence” are all over social media and will likely continue. I find many of these hateful comments to be outrageous and full of lies. I guess when you are a Trump hater, it is natural to be blinded by your hate.

Regardless of whether you agree or not with how the president is handling this crisis, one thing that has really struck me is the lack of outrage over China’s role in this mess. Sorry to inform you people, but this virus originated in that country and the complete incompetence of the Chinese government has caused this virus to spread all over the world. And while you are at it, a certain amount of blame should be given to the World Health Organization for failing to act quickly when this virus started to act up in China.

There is growing evidence that this virus actually originated in some lab in China. Those who reported their concerns have magically disappeared to never be heard again. The Chinese authorities did very little to stop people from traveling to other countries when this outbreak started. Luckily President Trump had the wisdom to ban travel from China in late January and who knows how many lives that controversial decision helped save. Furthermore, we offered to help China during the early stages of this pandemic with some of our best medical personal. Those request were turned down.  If you ask me, it sounds like a complete coverup.

Now due to the mistakes made in the early stages and lack of action by the Chinese government, thousands of people around the world have lost their lives or suffered through some serious sicknesses and hospital stays. The world economy is at the verge of going into a deep depression not seen in years. The number of people filing for unemployment claims in this country are at levels not seen since the Great Depression of the 1930’s.

Why more people are not outrage over how this was handled originally by China is totally beyond me. Instead if you blame China, you are deemed as being a racist. If you would like to call me a racist for writing this, go ahead. But I would like to point out that there is a huge difference between blaming an average China citizen and their government. This was not the fault of the typical Chinese citizen. So labeling someone a racist for calling this virus, the Chinese virus, is simply ludicrous. Unfortunately we have folks who feel that way.

China must pay a heavy price for their complete negligence. I find it extremely disgusting to read so many hateful comments about how Trump is mishandling this crisis and little mention about China. Wake up people! The real outrage should be directed towards China. Now the world is cleaning up their awful mess.