The Bill Came Due

Come 8 o’clock tomorrow evening, all non-essential business in New York will be locked down, upon order of Governor Andrew Cuomo.

“I want to be able to say to the people of New York — I did everything we could do,” Cuomo said. “And if everything we do saves just one life, I’ll be happy.”

The time-tested “save just one life” has long sufficed to justify all manner of government overreach and policy making. This time, it rings hollow. Maybe not as hollow as Trump’s dissembling or “feeling” that a drug that works as a malaria prophylaxis will work even though, as Dr. Anthony Fauci explained immediately afterward, it’s scientifically nonsensical to discuss a “feeling” about a drug’s efficacy, but still hollow.

There are secondary effects of decisions. For a long time, nobody cared about secondary effects. We had problems to which we demanded solutions, and we were willing to do whatever was necessary, no matter what the cost. Well, the bill is coming due.

If farmers have no migrant labor, they can’t pick the food in the fields. That means there will be no food for truckers, who can’t get gas or food on the highway because their truckstops have been shuttered, to deliver to supermarkets to put on their shelves. They are opening up early in the morning for us olds so we don’t have to come in contact with the young, drinking Corona Dos Equis off each others behinds, except there will be no one to stack the shelves, no food to stack them with and no money to pay for food even if it were there to be purchased.

There are many conspiracy theories about the pandemic, and even more people who believe we’ve fallen for a sham by ignoring the calming voice of Dear Leader, who promised us it will all be fine. If that isn’t enough to soothe you, what is?

I’m no Doomsday prepper, but I’m also not about to let my family die of starvation or disease. As much as I did my best to position myself to take advantage of opportunity, I always kept my eyes open for problems. It’s one of the characteristics of people who have lived a long time, who have some experience under their belt.

Like many of you, I’ve lived through three stock market crashes before, and am now watching a fourth in real time. I’ve seen what unemployment means and what soaring interest rates do. I know what it’s like to have your existence depend on other people’s largesse and to be in control of one’s own fate, although no one is ever really in control since our fate is intertwined with everyone else’s.

For those of us who had choices to make and bet that the day would never come where our house of cards fell, where problems that seemed distant arrived at our doorstep, this will be a hard time. No, you may not get coronavirus, whether because it’s not the pandemic some hysterics on TV tell you it is or you’re young enough, healthy enough, lucky enough to weather the storm. But you will struggle when your wallet is empty, the shelves are empty and all the baristas have gone home.

Some of us have been trying to warn you to prepare for the storm. You thought we were shaming you, because you lack the capacity to grasp any advice that’s less than adoringly supportive of your self-absorbed feelings as harsh criticism. It wasn’t. Worse yet, we knew that despite your best efforts to prepare, you would still fall short. No one is ever prepared for every eventuality.

Man plans. God laughs.

But at least you would have given yourself a fighting chance. Instead, you find yourself staring into the abyss of helplessness. You can wrap yourself in the righteousness of believing that it’s not your fault. It’s the pandemic. It’s Trump. It’s racism, sexism, and a world destroyed by the olds. But it’s still your stomach that’s empty.

The New York Times offers a surprisingly comprehensive view of what to do about the secondary effects of the pandemic that Gov. Andy’s facile “save one life” nonsense ignores. It may be right or not, sufficient or not, but there is no magic bullet that will fix what we are facing. When you have no job to go to Monday morning, no paycheck directly deposited into your account come Friday, and your employer regretfully informs you that it won’t be there when this is over, what will you do?

Employers, facing a revenue drought, are laying off workers at a record pace. Preliminary data indicates that more people filed for unemployment benefits last week than in any previous week in the nation’s history, shattering a record set back in 1982.

That year, 1982, was the year I graduated law school. There was massive unemployment then. Interest rates reached 21.5%. That was the world I stepped in when it was time to be a big boy. The AIDS epidemic was about to hit, flowing from gays to straights as bi’s bridged the gap, and there was no cure. Everyone who got AIDS died. Welcome to adulthood, they told us at graduation.

Young people today inform us olds that our world was great and theirs is horrible, the worst ever, so we don’t get it. It wasn’t that great back then. It’s not great now either. But it was wonderful then and is wonderful now and will be wonderful again, because we are resilient, we find joy wherever we can and we learn from adversity how to overcome it.

This will be a very hard time for many, from the contraction of COVID-19 to the fear of financial failure to, well, going hungry. There will be pain. Some will die. Hopefully not too many, but some will die. Whether more will suffer from secondary effects than Gov. Andy’s insipid “save one life” appeal to your Utopian tears, who knows.

But if you thought someone using a hated word was too triggering to endure, sit down. I have something to tell you and it’s going to make you sad. Welcome to adulthood. The bill for your childhood just came due. Now put away your toys and do what you have to do to survive. I warned you this day would come.

RIP Kenny Rogers, 1938-2020

25 thoughts on “The Bill Came Due

  1. Hunting Guy

    A friend in Germany tells me that everyone is panic buying sausages and cheese.

    It’s being described as the Wurst Käse scenario.

    1. SHG Post author

      Stealing is wrong. Stealing the stupidest psychotic shit is really wrong. Go there to enjoy it all you want. Never bring this idiotic garbage here again.

  2. L. Phillips

    No good deed goes unpunished.

    The down side of living out in the middle of nowhere with few people, garden space and a couple of tasty critters is that the kids are already talking about coming to “visit” from the big city if this goes on much longer.

    At least they will bring the grandkids, the accumulation of which is by far the best reason for not drowning your own when they were little and you could still overpower them.

    1. SHG Post author

      SJ World Headquarters isn’t in the middle of nowhere, but it does have a little breathing room around it. I wish I had grandkids to enjoy here.

      1. L. Phillips

        I could be persuaded to share a couple of mine who are just reaching teenage boyhood. Good and smart kids but the little buggers are magicians. They can make any quantity of foodstuffs in sight, except vegetables, disappear instantly.

  3. Fubar

    The time-tested “save just one life” has long sufficed to justify all manner of government overreach and policy making. This time, it rings hollow. Maybe not as hollow as Trump’s dissembling or “feeling” that a drug that works as a malaria prophylaxis will work even though, as Dr. Anthony Fauci explained immediately afterward, it’s scientifically nonsensical to discuss a “feeling” about a drug’s efficacy, but still hollow.

    No question that DJT has little if any scientific training. No question that a “feeling” about a scientific issue is no substitute for proof.

    So Trump used the wrong word.

    But even those with scientific training do use “feeling”, only they call it “intuition”, to discuss ideas that they believe may be proved by scientific method or analytic proof.

    What Fauci failed to say, for reasons I will not even conjecture, is far more important than what he said.

    In February, the antimalarial Chloroquine was scientifically demonstrated to inhibit COVID-19 in vitro. Hyroxychloroquine, has been demonstrated even more effective against COVID-19in vitro, with Hydroxychloroquine having an even more favorable safety profile.

    Both drugs have been recommended by French, Italian, Chinese and South Korean public health authorities, subject to contraindications for pre-existing heart disease, diabetes and other conditions, to be be used off-label for treatment of COVID-19. Both shorten the disease course considerably.according to those public health authorities.

    But so far only foreign medical results have demonstrated that the drugs are safe and effective treatments. The discovery was not invented here.

    So crucify Trump for using the wrong word, and wreck the national economy because we can’t accept any scientific results or recommendations that were not invented here.

    1. SHG Post author

      Trump being Trump* is just Trump, but your complaint is that Dr. Fauci is jingoistic or that other countries have not made any such recommendation but are in the process of testing it and Fauci awaits some clearer indication of peer reviewed acceptance before hopping aboard the Trump feelz wagon.

      By the way, if it works, it’s a prophylaxis, not a cure.

      *Ever notice that Trump using the wrong word is kinda like Trump talking? But he knows more than the doctors. And the generals. And everyone else, because he’s a stable genius.

      1. Fubar

        Trump using the wrong word is indistinguishable from Trump talking. That is a given.

        My statement is that the foreign public health authorities I noted have both recommended, and are using, the drugs to treat existing cases of COVID-19; and that they have found that the drugs shorten the disease course considerably.

        While the drugs may in fact also be prophylaxis against contracting COVID-19, those foreign public health authorities recommend using the drugs off-label to treat existing diagnosed COVID-19 cases.

        Insofar as shortening the course of the disease is a cure, then those foreign public health authorities are recommending using the drugs as a cure.

        At best, an acceptable domestic American double blind statistical clinical study takes months. To their credit so far, American public health authorities have not forbidden off label use of the drugs to treat COVID-19. The drugs are already approved in America for prophylaxis against, and treatment of active malaria.

        If American public health authorities do forbid the drugs’ use against COVID-19 pending a presently nonexistent study, and months later an acceptable statistical clinical study proves them wrong, there would be absolute hell to pay, and rightly so.

        Trump’s poorly chosen words aside, there is absolutely no good reason for American public health authorities not to reveal that foreign public health authorities recommend use of the drugs to treat COVID-19. Simply because it is true.

        For one such recommendation, see Korean Biomedical Reviews, Physicians work out treatment guidelines for coronavirus, Kwak Sung-sun Published 2020.02.13.

        URLs available on request.

          1. Fubar

            I’m kinda stuck on why you think they found a cure that we’re refusing to use.

            Because I did not say they “found a cure” except in the limited sense that they use and recommend currently available chloroquine or hydroxychloroquine for treatment of the disease. I also did not say we are refusing to use those drugs.

            Korean and other foreign reports indicate findings that the drugs shorten the course of the disease significantly. Those findings are not based on feelings.

            I also did not say that we are refusing to use the drugs. I did say that Fauci, when correcting Trump, did not mention that both drugs have been recommended, and used with some success, by French, Italian, Chinese and South Korean public health authorities.

            I did say that if Fauci or any other government official or agency forbids off label use of the drugs, there would likely be hell to pay when their ukase proves to exacerbate the pandemic in America.

            Fauci is a member of the National Institutes of Health. NIH should not mean “Not Invented Here”. There is no reason he could not at least mention significant foreign scientific findings.

            The foreign results are not perfect. The readily available drugs are not perfect, but they are all we have right now. The perfect should not be the enemy of the good.

            Fauci, when correcting what Trump garbled, suggested by omission that we Americans are entirely helpless to prevent the spread of the disease except by shutting down the entire economy.

            As to Korean recovery rates versus death rates, the very statistical charts you linked indicate that daily recovery rates are significantly increased from their March 2 nadir, and daily death rates are significantly decreased from their March 2 maximum. See the graphic labeled “Outcome of Cases (Recovery or Death) in South Korea”. Note that those are recovery and death rates.

            Note also that deaths are increasing only linearly since March 2, and that active cases are decreasing since about March 10.

            1. Doc Holiday

              Stick to limericks and stay away from medicine. You have no clue what you’re talking about. And no, I have no interest in explaining it to you or arguing about it with you, any more than a lawyer wants to argue law with a third grader.

            2. SHG Post author

              Just heard Gov. Andy Cuomo say that the feds have provided a significant quantity of the drugs to NY for human testing to begin Tuesday, so we apparently aren’t ignoring anything and will be expeditiously testing its efficacy and safety. Hopefully, it will do something helpful, even if its less than a perfect prophylaxis or cure, and we won’t be left to argue about the significance of anecdotes.

    2. Sgt. Schultz

      Didn’t expect Fubar to dive off this cliff. There must be something in the air these days. (And I notice something else was here and it now missing, though I can’t quite put my finger on what it was.)

      1. SHG Post author

        I completely understand his concern about somehow balancing the destruction of the economy with the safety concerns for coronavirus, but I’m really struggling with the “Trump used the wrong word” argument. But for wrong words, Trump would have no words at all.

  4. Nigel Declan

    Funny how the past was great when Millennials are complaining about how hard they have it, but the past was a backwards, stone-aged bastion of hatred and discrimination when they are explaining why their beliefs are the apex of morality and justice.

    Kenny Rogers will be missed.

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