Wow. When I wrote this, I intended for it to reach people and send a message, but I had no idea it would go this viral(no pun intended). While it’s certainly not a wave of popularity that I enjoy surfing, the outpouring of emotion from people my dad and my mom (they were one and still are) have touched over the years, as well as from strangers all across America, has blown my mind. Local news channels 4, 5, and 9 all had me on the air to speak about my dad.
A couple newspapers will be printing my post, and they’re welcome to do so, but frankly I’m tired of talking about it. I’ve got to go arrange graveside/funeral home stuff today and I’m dreading it. This sucks, but I’m not complaining, nor do I expect sympathy.
Look, I hate this. This is a nightmare for everyone. I freely admit that I’m legit terrified, because if you’re a regular reader of this blog you know that I’ll say whatever’s in my head without a filter. I’m scared.
Some people pretend not to be scared, hiding behind all kinds of tough talk about “survival of the fittest” and all this nonsense… I get it. Hey, it’s okay to be afraid, and you’re not fooling anyone. You’re scared too. denial isn’t going to help you survive, though. You need to recognize that just because the media is hyping something, that doesn’t mean it’s manufactured. Yeah, they’re hyping it. And so what? The threat is real. Your political beliefs aren’t going to save you. Your hardcore talk on Facebook about how you’re so tough and cool and don’t care about this pandemic isn’t going to keep you or your loved ones safe.
Yeah, there’s an agenda with all three of these stories. And that agenda is as follows: to drive home the fact that this virus can kill. Sure, it leaves some relatively untouched. My mother is on the mend now, and she’s over 70 with preexisting lung disorders. It latched onto my dad, though, who’s never had lung problems, and it never relinquished its hold until the moment he died.
There’s a lot of backlash towards anyone who expresses concern for the economy and the fate of small business, or the financial security of people in general.
I don’t get that animosity towards people worried about how they’ll survive financially. It’s a huge and legit concern. Lives are wrecked, and you don’t want them to worry? Just sit at home and let the bills pile up and watch a bunch of rich celebrities sing “imagine” at you in their sweatpants? It’s tragic, and it’s going to increase our dependence on corporate America. Your favorite local Thai restaurant might not survive this, but TGI Friday’s will. Your favorite local lumberyard might not survive this, but Home Depot will. Your favorite local… you get the picture. The list goes on and on and on. But what can be done? I don’t know. Who’s got an answer to this?
What will the little people do to recover? That 12 hundred bucks is cool and all, but it’s a band-aid on a bullet wound. No bailout for them. Only for all of these big-name companies with their heartstring-tugging, virtue-signaling commercials designed to make you say “Oh, how generous of them! Love love love, share share share! I’m giving them my business when this is all said and done! 120 days interest-free on a car loan! Thank you, corporate overlords, for the allowing us to suck the juices from the bones of your discarded Buffalo Wild Wings!
All these virtue-signaling companies are going to come after people in a couple months or so. Bill collectors will be working overtime to harass you. It’s blood from a turnip, though. What will people do?
Wait, wasn’t I talking about my news appearances? Yeah, that was pretty wild. I did three interviews today and enjoyed them, but I’m done. My dad and I did this together. The reporters tell me I’m a really good writer, and I appreciate that, I really do. This isn’t about that, though. It’s not about me. It’s about my dad, the one who used to pick me up and carry me on his shoulders, the one I bragged about to all my little friends at school, the one who showed me by example how to treat a spouse and to be a man. It took me a few years, but I finally got it. He made mistakes along the way though, just like me. Everyone does. We were so different in many ways, but alike in so many others. I just wanted to write something so loud he could hear it in Heaven and maybe look down and smile and tell me one last time that he was proud of me.
Channel nine called him a “giant of the firefighting world,” and that’s true. Growing up, though, to me, he wasn’t the big hardass Fire Chief. He wasn’t Mr. tough guy. He hugged me and told me he loved me my whole life. He had unconditional love for my mother and for me. He knew how to balance and compartmentalize, a skill a lot of men lack. Not him, though. He was tough when he needed to be and gentle when it was called for. He could chop down the door to a burning house with an axe and he could make a baby giggle with a goofy face. He loved kids. Loved animals. He knew how to alternate with ease according to the situation, and that’s why he was a natural leader.
Anyway, quite a mess we’re in, isn’t it? I just want this to be over. Just seems to be getting worse, though, doesn’t it? I’m really tired of hearing about it. I wish everything was normal and there was no invisible menace permeating every aspect of life. It’s only getting worse, though.
I guess there is no message. I mean, it’s a complex issue. There’s no easy solution. Nobody knows what to do. We’re living in the twilight zone, except it sucks.
Bottom line: bunch of people are going to have to die and then we’ll go from there. That’s life. We’ve been insulated in these little bubbles where we think our perceptions and feelings create reality, but the bubbles are popping and everybody’s running around panicking like a cat around a vacuum cleaner.
Me, I’m in full-on nostalgia mode. I’ve regressed to my childhood, escaping into old Superman comics and the Chronicles of Narnia books. When I think of my dad, I don’t picture him as he looked present day–I picture him from the ’80s. It’s like I’m floating through time and everything is bunched together.
Alright, I’m going to stop. I’ve done enough to make myself look crazy for today. I just don’t know what else to do.