I finally realized why I am drawn to writing about super heroes. Regardless of the source of powers (magic, science, radioactive sea sponges), they all have something I will never have. Power. And not, like, super strength or flight or whatever. They all have the power to make significant changes in their lives. They are in total control over their destinies because I am in total control of their destinies.
Do not interrupt me with platitudes right now. I’m not in the mood.
If there is one thing this pandemic should teach everyone is that YOU ARE NOT THE MASTER OF YOUR OWN FATE. You, in fact, have so little power over your own fate that a microscopic organism has derailed your entire life without ever touching you.
And isn’t that frustrating? To have your plans, your goals, your needs supplanted by something you maybe half think isn’t real? Half the internet right now is frantically trying to remind people that this is a PANDEMIC. It is SERIOUS. It is going to impact your life more than just canceling sports and going a bit more time without a haircut. People are sick, people are dying. This isn’t a hoax. This isn’t just some con to give the government more power over when you get to golf.
And think about everything going on that you have absolutely now power to change right now. Huge chain businesses snatching up billions in relief loans that were supposed to go to small businesses. Billionaires managing to rake in billions more while 30 million people file for unemployment and meat processing plants become plague ships. Tensions amping up between the US and China when global cooperation is a necessity. No yeast in grocery stores (I am not prepared to make a starter). Farmers dumping food they can’t distribute while millions are relying on food banks to eat. Politicians doing what they do and making this about whose fault it is. And those are the just big things.
I’m supposed to be moving this summer. My hubby is retiring and I’m all registered to start my Master’s in Creative Writing in the fall. Except, well, all his medical appts were canceled so we have to push back his retirement or risk not getting his disability percentage approved in time for those payments to kick in with his retirement pay. And yes, it’s definitely a buyer’s market for homes so we might get a sweet deal on our next place. But we still have to sell our place and there’s a limit to the diy projects we can accomplish before we need a pro to get everything up to snuff. And with the possibility of a bigger drop in pay than we were budgeting for, now we don’t have cash to spend on fixing up the house anyway. And we have it good compared to a lot of homes right now.
So I should just bite the bullet and go back to work. I’ll get an extra $2/hr in “hazard pay” bringing me up to a whopping $11.20/hr. I’ll risk bringing home a plague to my toddler and husband, but I don’t that anyway every time I go to the grocery store. Just have to multiply my risk by number of people I encounter over a 4 hour shift as well as the people my co-workers encounter since there’s no keeping 6 ft between people you work with.
Super heroes don’t have these problems. Villain shows up in their lives and they just punch him til he gives up. There’s no punching a virus. You can’t punch economic insecurity or corrupt systems or shady backroom deals. This pandemic is showing us EVERYTHING that is wrong with our system of life and we all just want to go back to the way it was. We’ll bloviate about how previous generations had it worse because they had diseases and didn’t fight them with masks and gloves and they SURVIVED (well, most of them did). They sacrificed for the war effort so we should just get back to work because I deserve a haircut and a mani/pedi. And they didn’t constantly criticize the president (yes, of course they did).
We wouldn’t have an economic crisis if we didn’t conflate money with worth. I hate that I grew up watching Star Trek. Yeah, some of it is very problematic and the lens flairs in the new movies is a bit excessive, but you never see the junior enlisted queuing up at the payday loan store on the Enterprise so they can pay their bills. Rank has its privileges, that’s for sure, but it tends to lean more toward things that actually matter. Picard doesn’t get better food from the replicators or better quality uniform and he doesn’t command his ship from the safety of his mansion on Earth. He gets more space to live on a ship where space is at a premium. That’s it.
Yes, I watched the Picard series finally. Interesting to me is when he decides to leave on his mission, his friends stay to take care of the harvest on his vineyard. Not because they will face financial ruin if they don’t. You just have to harvest grapes at a certain time. They wouldn’t starve or get kicked off the land or have to rely on welfare to stay afloat. The grapes would die and they would lose the crop. It would disrupt the planting of the next crop.
We have plenty of food and people are starving. There are plenty of empty homes and people live on the streets. We have life-saving medicines that are sold for a massive profit because if you’ll die without it, you’ll pay anything to get it. There are people working every day to keep this sham running because they don’t have a choice. They need their job. And when this is all over, we’ll go back to making snide comments about burger flippers demanding a living wage.
See, this is why I didn’t want to blog about this. I’ve deleted this post twice today because I started on a rant. I don’t want to rant. I want to write about super heroes. But all I can write about is the world ending and a big part of me thinking GOOD. Maybe if it all crashes and burns we’ll be forced to give up the old comfortable sins. Yeah, millions of people will die, but those will probably just be old people “who were going to die anyway, that’s what they do.” Stop wearing masks because it’s just “virtue signaling.” Don’t let anyone tell you when you can get a haircut or buy grass seed. You know better than the experts, of course. We should just all go out and tongue-kiss infected people. It’ll be like chicken pox parties, but with the added spice of having absolutely no idea what the long-term effects of this illness are since it is a completely new (“novel”) virus. Will I die alone on a respirator, possibly insane from sensory deprivation? Will I never regain my sense of smell? Will I spread it to someone who ends up having a permanent neurological disorder? There’s literally NO WAY TO KNOW! I mean, I could develop a minor cough and then die of a stroke! Isn’t that worth $11.20/hr?
Hoping you are all safe and well. And I hope that you’re right. I hope this is over-blown. I hope we overreacted and in a few years we’ll be laughing about the big plague scare of 2020. I hope I am wrong.