Strange Sacrifices

Here’s a hot take for a COVID-19-ravaged world.

 It’s easier for some people to send loved ones off to literal war in a foreign country than it is for them to swallow their pride and wear a face mask and latex gloves to the grocery store.

Americans are conditioned for bombastic, over the top, summer blockbuster, shock and awe, hell’s a poppin’ chaos. Whether it’s real-life war in a foreign land or the conspiracy theory-based planning with bug out bags and underground bunkers or the fiction of The Walking Dead and myriad other video games, movies, and TV shows, Americans are ready to sacrifice everything to protect their families.

Even more so if there’s a cheesy Aerosmith love theme playing in the background.

What many of us are not prepared to do, it seems, is confront a crisis if it means we have to do things that make us feel weird or uncomfortable.

Dudes will stand in line to buy guns to protect their loved ones, but if you suggest wearing a face mask or latex gloves in public, and they’d rather risk death (a very real risk they will, in fact, be taking upon themselves and the people they’re buying guns to protect). Suddenly you’re the one going to extremes with the very idea.

There are families still planning large Easter gatherings for next week, in spite of all that’s happened over the last month. “Because it’s Easter, and we’ve never missed one,” they say. And I get it. It’s tough to lose those family traditions, but think about how much worse it’ll feel next year. Worse because when you throw the 2021 haven’t-missed-one-yet Easter get-together, there are empty spots at the table because your beloved family had an asymptomatic member present in 2020.

I’ve heard quite a bit and been told personally that this whole COVID-19 situation is being blown out of proportion. And I don’t mean last month or earlier this week. Today! 

“It’s all too much.”

“This is getting silly.”

“You’re going overboard.”

I’ll tell you this. I hope from the deepest core of my being that, a few months from now, I can walk down the street and be pointed at as the guy who took it all too seriously. I want the world to be in such a great state that I get laughed at and mocked for following the guidelines. I’d relish bearing the title of Wrongest Man In the World. 

Because that would mean it’s over, it wasn’t as bad as some people thought it would be, and it’ll be easier to recover from the global mess that exists because of COVID-19.

And that would be really fucking great. 

But I remember that nearly 4,500 American soldiers were killed in Iraq on behalf of false intelligence data, and that occurred with the full support of some of the very same people who now think they’re being asked too much to shave their beards and not go shopping with five family members in tow. 

I guess it’s somehow more socially acceptable to offer up a soldier for God and country than it is to risk a bit of potential embarrassment.

Slapping a yellow ribbon on your vehicle is a nice way to show support without making yourself uncomfortable. The stuff we’re being asked to do now, though, is just too much for some, even though it’s relatively easy to do.

We love to be patriotic when it’s loud and flashy and it’s easy to feel like we’re winning. But it’s a very different story when times are tough, we’re learning how spoiled and privileged we’ve been, and things are getting uncomfortable literally right where we live.

But this is where we are, and it’s to do things we don’t want to. We’ve all been drafted, like it or not. You can risk going overboard, or you can be a draft dodger and hinder the war effort.

The choice is yours.

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