As we get deeper in the COVID-19 pandemic, we find that this thing is much more serious than some of us might have expected. Country music singer Joe Diffie lost his life due to complications of the coronavirus. Singer-songwriter John Prine, as of this writing, remains in critical condition with the mysterious virus. Singer-songwriter Alan Merrill, co-writer and lead vocalist on the 1975 hit song “I Love Rock and Roll,” passed away Sunday after having been diagnosed with the same. And the numbers continue to rise.
My wife, a health care professional, told me from the beginning that this thing was much more serious than anyone believed. She was, and is, correct. I suppose that our desire for COVID-19 to be a passing, fleeting thing does not make it so.
I have noticed some changes in my life that I never dreamed of. Perhaps you noticed a few of them also. My uncontrollable urge to shake hands has all but vanished. Shaking hands has been a time-honored tradition handed down generation after generation as a noble way of greeting friends and strangers, and in days-gone-by was the forerunner of the written contract. You know, it went along with a person’s word and was their bond. The handshake was the signature on that word.
There were; however, those times when a handshake made me a little uneasy if not queasy. Did you ever notice someone sneezing into their hand and without a thought extending that nasty thing for you to shake (still talking hand here).
How many times have you been in the restroom and noticed someone make an exit without even as much as a nod to the sink, soap or water? I have watched that same person hold hands with their wife or girlfriend or child moments later and never give it a thought.
Social distancing — now there’s a term I never, never, never heard until COVID-19. Now understand, I can think of a lot of social problems aside from the spreading of germs that social distancing would have cured had anyone thought about it back in our younger days, but we apparently were unaware of such a thing.
While these changes are of paramount importance, this is not the first time we socially made major changes in how we behave in public and at home. For example, some of you won’t remember standing in line at the bank or a retail store with ash trays strategically placed along the waiting route to the cashier or teller, but I do.
I recall it being an acceptable practice to light up while visiting a patient at a hospital. I saw a Johnny Carson rerun last week from 1982 in which his guests smoked during their guest shot and it was a perfectly normal practice. The very fact that I now notice that is an indicator of how much the times have changed.
Gone are the days when the host or hostess at a restaurant asked: “Do you prefer smoking or non-smoking?” Now, if you try to light up inside you might be asked if you prefer dining inside or being thrown out on your ear. Times and accepted practices keep a changing.
Imagine my surprise the first time I heard someone instruct, “You can pick your friends, but you shouldn’t pick your nose!” I was shocked! I remembered thinking, “When did that become a rule?” (I didn’t say it, but I thought it!).
Seriously, the very people we have turned to hoping to figure out this thing have brought us these precautionary measures in hopes of narrowing down the causes in hopes of stopping the propagation of the virus which affords them the time to find a treatment and vaccine. A cure? Is there a cure for the flu? Wash your hands and stay out of your neighbor’s faces. A cure for the common cold? Wash your hands and stay out of your neighbor’s faces. A cure? No. A stop to the spreading of it? Yes. Wash your hands and stay out of your neighbor’s faces.
A friend told me that he made an amazing discovery after staying home a couple of days. He found a good-looking woman sitting on his sofa. Upon questioning her, he discovered that she was his wife! Not a bad find. There is a sliver lining behind even the darkest of clouds.
Herb Day is a longtime local radio personality and singer-musician. You can email him at [email protected] and follow his work at http://www.HerbDayVoices.com and http://www.HerbDayRadio.com.