By Chris Daigle
Even at my age, I was a kid once, with a bicycle, and learned that bicycles and gravity don’t mix sometimes. That teaches you real quickly that the outcome of your actions is up to you, and with a few exceptions, like a tree falling on you, you did it to yourself, so don’t do it again.
Here I am at 62 and that still applies to me.I’m still holding to the concept that I’m bullet proof. I walked around with high blood pressure for years, but never had a problem with it, even when the doctor told me it would be a problem. I pretty much thought I’d deal with it when something happened. That was a really bad decision. Now, my left side is out in left field somewhere, and is not coming to home base real soon because of a stroke.
It’s easy to do Monday morning quarterbacking now. I should’ve listened and should’ve acted sooner. This makes me wish someone had taken me into the future (sort of like Jimmy Stewart in “It’s a Wonderful Life”), but that unfortunately can’t happen. So, it’s important to keep your eye on the ball, because it’s coming, and nobody watch it for you.
Our current pandemic (COVID-19) situation puts a fine point on that. This is a situation we’ve never had before, but had plenty of warning about. Just watch the National Enquirer: It’s all there. People are saying the death rate is low, some places have no problem, so what’s the big deal?
Other events have been much worse. We are about a month into this, right? How do we know what’s coming in two weeks or in two months? People in 1939 and 1940 thought some skirmish in Europe was none of our business, which is a far different tune we sung in 1946 when all the results were in. Now, tell me it was no big deal!
“Oh, why do we have to stay home?” people cry. “Oh, these new rules are illegal!” Maybe we are actually taking a page from history and doing something preemptive ahead of time. If we told people on September 10, 2001 what would happen on September 11, maybe there would be 10 deaths instead of over 3,000. Maybe someone should’ve grabbed me and taken me to a hospital a day before my stroke, and I’d have a new outlook on life now. My parents told me long ago that the two saddest words in the English language are, “If Only.”
Okay, so here we are, in a new time that may be the new normal – we just don’t know. With all this run on toilet paper going on, the Martians will land and report, “We don’t know what killed them, but they’ve got the cleanest asses we’ve ever seen!”
We have new circumstances, but it’s not a prison sentence. Many of us are out of work, but you weren’t fired from your job. You, and everyone else, are on temporary hold. Use the time constructively. Teach yourself or a kid how to change a tire or how to sew a button. Call me and I’ll show them what it’s like to have a stroke, and how to avoid it, well, like a Coronavirus. Get the old photos out and find out who, what, when, how, and why they are, and write it down. It might be of interest to someone some day. My first picture editor, Paul Gittings, said, “You are here to leave a trail.”
Repair that door that needs work, Improve your finances. Find cheaper ways of doing things, and re-evaluate what you NEED. Do you REALLY need cable TV? Teach a kid the dangers of credit cards, and what happens when they are abused. Yes, you want that cool bicycle, but don’t break the glass doors of your available money to have it. Learn how and why to listen, and when to keep your mouth shut. These are things I wish I had learned oh so long ago, and is certainly not taught in schools.
We will come out of this better than before, and with a whole lot cleaner hands and backsides. While we’re at it, there’s no real use for the term “work feverishly,” and something that “goes viral” can’t be good vernacular either, so refrain. Our healthcare system might just improve from all this, too.
We’re on a wobbly bicycle right now, and it’s a muddy slick hill, but the only way to go is up right now, because down really sucks. Just get up, wipe away the pebbles, and push ourselves back up the hill. There’s a lot of us riding, too.
CHRIS DAIGLE is a native Houstonian and a contributing editor to The Grapevine Source. All articles and photos are copyright Chris Daigle.