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You are NOT different.

You CAN make a difference.

To be human is to wonder, “Why?” We are addicted to cause and effect, to explanations and understanding, to discovering sequences of events, to bolstering our illusions of control.

    • Control of our thoughts.
    • Control of our bodies.
    • Control of our diseases.

For as long as I can remember, everyone greeted news of an acquaintance’s lung cancer with the question, “Did he smoke?”

We want to know, “Why?” What was the cause? What was the choice? What was their mistake?

A few months ago, in the early days of this COVID pandemic, we placidly watched stories of the spread and counts of the victims in faraway, exotic China. Indeed, it was happening in a province of China to which few of us had ever been or had even noticed. Next, coronavirus ravaged Italy, which all of us knew and many of us had visited.

Coronavirus got closer. Washington. California. New York. Cruise ships. Nursing homes. I consulted my calendar and counted days. Had I been to any such places in the past two weeks? No! I could continue to watch the news in the same detached manner as I had observed every other remote-seeming disaster.

Soon I see reports of people sick in my state, my county. In the hospital where my daughter was born. On a street where I had lived. I hear of a particular person, a relative of a friend who is suffocating from the infection. My first, often unstated question is, “How old is he?” Then, “Was he a smoker?” Even less likely to be spoken yet usually wondered, was he overweight? Diabetic? Vaping? Why do these questions rush to my mind?

There is a widespread rumor in Sub-Saharan Africa that COVID-19 only afflicts white people. I seldom hear that chronic high blood pressure is a risk factor, though it is one of the top five. Is that because HBP disproportionately afflicts African Americans but the people publishing the risks are disproportionately not African-American?


We are all instinctively, reflexively searching for our own special exception, our free pass, our permission to remain observers.

“I live in the greatest country on earth.”

“I’m educated, prosperous, and well insured.”

“I exercise regularly and eat right and meditate and… and… and…”

The self-protective measures, social distancing, working from home, all of the inconveniences, adjustments, and sacrifices of coping with a global pandemic should not apply to good, conscientious people like me. I will not become a victim. Victimhood is a moral failing or, at least, a failing of morale.

These are normal reactions. Trying to exempt yourself from consequences is a typical, nearly automatic human behavior. It will happen to you. It will not save you.


COVID-19 just does not give a shit about you.

You are merely one more potential factory for this virus to make more of itself, just a convenient vector to deliver its progeny to the next fertile field for reproduction, sewing a harvest of yet wider suffering.

COVID-19 does not evaluate your worthiness.

COVID-19 does not hate you.

COVID-19 just does not give a shit about you.

Stop looking for your personal exception. It does not exist.

You and I are in this crowded boat. We are all in it. You are alive and breathing during a lethal, global pandemic. You are not a special case. You must be careful. You owe it to yourself and to all the people who encounter the germs you host and spread. Follow the guidelines, make the sacrifices, and pay the price. You can help slow the spread. Only a we –not any me– can conquer this plague.


COVID-19 just does not give a shit about you.

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Good luck, get plenty of sleep, & WASH YOUR HANDS!

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