Mad Magazine’s Alfred E. Neuman
Alfred E. Neuman was the face of a favorite of mine, Mad Magazine, when I was a kid. I even had a subscription for a long time. It’s still around in some form today, but it isn’t the same. Neuman was known for the phrase, “What, me worry?” I’m a lot like that in most instances.
A lot of people are very worried and paranoid about this Coronavirus. I’m not one of them, though. But, I can understand everyone’s fears. My team at work is scheduled to go to a workshop in San Diego in mid-May. One lady today told the boss and I that she’s not going. She seems incessantly concerned about this virus. Fueling the anxiety are the frequent emails my employer sends out about the possible signs of infection and internet sites with more details about it, such as this one on Coronavirus — Prevention and Treatment and this one with general information about the Coronavirus. A few people told me they think I’m rather brave to travel to San Francisco while the virus and the uncertainty of it are abound. Wild horses couldn’t keep me from taking my trip. I wouldn’t say I’m brave. I’m just continuing on with a normal life.
A coworker today told me of a cruise ship passenger who died while traveling from San Francisco to Mexico; the ship was quarantined until all the passengers can be tested to see whether they are infected. It would give me a spooky feeling knowing I was in the same space where someone just died, regardless of the reason for the death. So, I understand the concern that people have. I don’t want to minimize not one bit the level of anxiety that exists for some folk; however, I am not going to hunker down and hide because of it. That’s no way to live. If the CDC were to launch travel advisories, that would be one thing. But I’m not going to sit at home in fear.
Let me tell you this story about the late Steve Irwin. About a year or two before his accident and untimely death, I had the pleasure of meeting him at one of the annual Travel Show expos in New York City. He was just as high energy and gregarious in person as he was on television. I feel confident in saying that if he could poke his head in here today, he’d tell you that he has no regrets about the way he died. He’d say he was living his life, and that’s what any person true to their self ought to do.
On any given day I encounter anti-government protesters in front of my building when I come to work or go out during lunch, or when I leave for the day. Some aren’t just anti-government but some are also just lunatics (in my opinion) merely exercising their right to the freedom of assembly. They have megaphones and poster boards and fliers marching up and down the sidewalk. Occasionally there’s a lone person out there, but usually it’s a group. It makes you feel like you’re breaking a picket line of disgruntled workers as you come and go. A few of them are rather menacing. I’m more afraid of those protesting nuts than the Coronavirus. Those people often seem very volatile, and you never know what they may do.
I also think back to around 2002 when the snipers, Lee Malvo and John Mohammed, terrorized the Maryland, Virginia, and DC areas, and people were really scared – present company included. There was a heightened fear in everyone, and people were scared to leave home. It was very eerie in the beginning, because nobody knew who was behind it. The discrepant descriptions of the suspects and the getaway vehicle further confused law enforcement. You’d go to the mall, and see people running between their cars and the store (a fast moving target is harder to hit), especially if you went to a place where the snipers had already targeted. It was a scary time, and many businesses and restaurants suffered because people weren’t going out and about like they normally would. Although I was very scared too, I didn’t change my routine. The Coronavirus is no different.
I’m told that there’s an $8 billion spending bill on Trump’s desk aimed at thwarting the spread of the Coronavirus. I expect that much of that will be used for research and development and the creation of a vaccine. That’s a step in the right direction. Additionally, approximately 81,000 people worldwide have been infected with the Coronavirus worldwide, and no antibiotic exists yet that has proven effective at treating it. That means, it’s all up to each individual’s own immune system to be the healer. Consequently, the Coronavirus has caused approximately 2,800 deaths. That’s about 3.5% of those infected. That fact is worthy of noting. Also worth noting, the deaths have been mostly identified in persons with other medical conditions, such as heart or lung problems, and in those with compromised immune systems.
Nonetheless, I’m well aware of the inherent risks, but life goes on. I take care of myself, I keep sanitizing wipes and gels, and I pay attention to my hands and what I do with them. Just like Adrian Monk, I also reach for one of my sanitizing wipes if someone shakes my hand (a few people act offended just like when Monk did it, but most people understand). That’s all I can do. I feel if I stayed home living in fear, my quality of life would be quite low. So, it’s business as usual.