Columns Commercial Record

Blue Star

By Scott Sullivan
Final Jeopardy
Nostalgia makes no sense. Why relive something? Once was not enough?
Nor does headline hubbub about Covid’s comeback. Of course a virus will mutate, as flu does. New ones take time to study, develop vaccines for and test their safety.
Impatient? Drink Clorox, gulp hydroxychloroquine or heed politicians: they know more than medical professionals. We are free then to take the vaccines or not. Playing pathogen politics piggybacks another contagion on them.
Some extoll and lament passing of the good old days. When were they? The Great Depression and World War II begat what Tom Brokaw made out on preaching to his choir they were The Greatest Generation.
My father, who like me had a college history degree, and mother (English), were amused by but didn’t buy his assault with flattery. They had lived through those “golden” years of rationing, deprivation, battlefield deaths and atrocities, inflicted by whom? With photography I can airbrush and/or distort image fictions too.
Why burnish or banish history when it is best understood straight up? World War I, the “Civil” War, slavery … one could argue their parents, or theirs, were Degradest Generation. How far back do you want to go?
“Make America Great Again?” We’ve been great and depraved forever. We cherish our freedoms to live out both, though the latter might land us jail, curtailing what courts provided for in our Constitution judge as our abuses.
Coming of age is an evergreen narrative. We pine for an innocence we didn’t know we had till we lost it, filled minds with experience, lost illusions. I say good riddance. Buy or vote for the latest, greatest reprised lies on sale for one time only, i.e., forever.
The Covid lockdown, like all travails, tested us. Was it more needed to do so than the Depression, flu epidemics, the bubonic plague, wars throughout history …? We have learned so much from them we can hardly help but repeat them.
The Commercial Record closed our local office and laid off staff, which I still miss, to mitigate lost ad sales. Cry me a river. Our customers, readers, friends made sacrifices too. We dealt with it — falteringly, often clumsily — but prevailed.
Our publisher, a devout anti-vaxxer, warned against returning mask mandates and business shutdowns to counter Covid’s new, or impending at least, resurgence. “Only 251 people died with Covid symptoms last week,” he noted, presumably not addressing that consolation to victims’ families.
The lockdown years “were a mess …,” he opines, “all dictated by a government and public health officials who didn’t know what they were doing.” So he knew better?
“Check out the death totals from Covid. It will likely shock you how few people (7 million confirmed so far, though for some reason he overlooked that detail) died from the virus in comparison to heart disease or cancer.”
Why not add suicides, car crashes, Alzheimer’s, gun deaths …? Have we not researched, spent money on and worked to contain them too?
“Americans should be helping Maui, not Ukraine,” said Presidential hopeful Vivek Ramaswamy at last week’s GOP debate. Like it’s one or the other?
The Democratic-majority Congress this spring nixed President Biden’s $7.9-billion request to fund developing vaccines to fight Covid’s latest mutations. Some may recall former President Trump’s 2020 Operation Warp Speed ($10 billion) meant for that same purpose. That one passed. Was it just a coincidence deaths then dropped).
Our publisher urges Biden (whom I’m sure reads his columns carefully) to put that money to mental health issues rather than “handing it to Big Pharma” (another of his favorite whipping boys) for another Covid vaccine. Once again, like we can’t do both?
I can say from experience diabetes, high blood pressure and psychotropic medicines — can help and save many lives. Who funded their development and distribution? I love local druggists but well-funded corporate R&D teams have uses too.
My pharmacy texted me last week it has the latest Covid vaccines and flu shots available, free. Being 68 and an insulin-dependent diabetic, I’m considered more vulnerable than many. Should I get shot again? It may help or not, but how bad is it going to hurt.
So far I’ve not died from diseases nor cures, unlike my brother Steve, whose radiation and chemotherapy treatments offed him before non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma could. He was 35 and had been in great health before then. His son, then age six, now is a physician.
Do I miss him? Daily. My parents too. But nostalgic? No. At my age, more and more loved ones pass. I am in no hurry but know soon enough I’ll join them. They inspire me not to live backwards, but ahead.

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