Recently I posted a meme on my Facebook page that said:
CDC: To prevent coronavirus, stay home, avoid physical contact and don’t go into large crowds.
Introverts: I’ve been preparing for this moment my entire life.
It’s not the only meme I’ve posted on my page that is trying to make light of this pandemic, but as the schools and libraries and concert venues begin shutting down, and as the number of confirmed cases rise, I’m starting to feel increasingly uncomfortable about these memes. As the death toll increases and as our lives become more and more strange, it stops being funny. Sh*t is getting real.
A friend of mine in Canada told me that his government announced that they are anticipating as many as 70 percent of their population will get COVID-19, and of that number, 3 percent may die. My friend did the math, and that would mean 210,000 dead Canadians. That’s not funny at all. Not even a little bit.
It’s not unusual for people to use humor to diffuse an uncomfortable, stressful or scary situation, but at some point it becomes inappropriate. Where’s that tipping point with COVID-19? Some people will never reach it. They lack subtlety, or they don’t pick up on social cues, or they’re trolls who enjoy shock value. I suspect many of us will get there the exact moment when someone we know becomes infected.
Heaven knows I’m not the arbiter of good taste. I think every one of us will have to decide for ourselves. But we need to take into consideration that people are dying. And they’re leaving people behind who are grieving.
I would love to hear your thoughts on the subject. Meanwhile, wash your hands and don’t touch your face. Stay calm and stay safe.
I’ll leave you with this quote, which a dear friend reminded me about:
“I am fearful when I see people substituting fear for reason.”
-Klaatu, in The Day the Earth Stood Still
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