An Open Letter to the Covid-19 Deniers

Warning:  rant ahead.

Dear Denier,

Hello.  You may or may not know me, but for the purposes of this letter I will state for you a few facts about myself.  1.  I have diabetes and gastroparesis, two chronic illnesses that make my life extra rough.  2.  I was raised in a religious environment, and while I have shirked many of the less savory aspects of that I have retained my core belief in doing unto others as you would have them do unto you, not to mention the basic teachings of Jesus on how not to be an jerkface.  That said…

I am sick and tired of seeing people politicizing Coronavirus, denying its impact, refusing to wear a mask, swearing to not receive a vaccine, and fighting to reopen before we are ready.

I saw a post on Facebook listing all the things I supposedly don’t give a shit about if I don’t want to the economy to reopen yet…like kids getting poor homeschool educations, people trapped with their abusers, rising unemployment, small businesses who might go under, etc.  It took every ounce of restraint to not reply with: Here’s 100,000 things YOU don’t give a shit about, along with the photo below.

Here’s the thing:  it is totally possible to care about all of that, AND care about the health and safety of yourself and your loved ones, AND worry about government overreach.  None of these things are mutually exclusive, and if you think they are then you are devoid of something, whether it be in your brain or your heart.

I am high risk.  If I get COVID, I will likely end up in a hospital.  A ventilator will not be out of the question.  Death will not be out of the question.  I am a sick person already, and this virus preys on sick people.  But it also preys on the healthy, and your denial isn’t going to change that fact.  So, when I see you say you won’t wear a mask or get a vaccine, what you’re saying, to me, is “I don’t care if you die.”

Now, I don’t care about politics when it comes to this.  I don’t care what Trump or Cuomo did or said or whatever.  All I care about is that people are dying.  I am sick of hearing…

“Oh, but people die from the flu.”  Yeah.  34,000 last year.  Except it’s been 4 months and 100,000 have died from Coronavirus.  Do your math. 

“Oh, I shouldn’t have to wear a mask in the store…that’s tyranny!”  About that…you have to wear shoes and a shirt, too, but no one has a problem with that.  Grow up. 

“Oh, this is just being exaggerated by the left!” Yeah…tell that to the other 187 countries who don’t give a crap about our government. Get a global perspective.

And the kicker?  The thing that really gets stuck in my craw?  The people who seem to be so against quarantine are the people who mourned hard when the towers fell.  We lost 3.000 Americans that day, and you wanted to help.  You wanted to do anything you could for your country.  You flew your flag and cried during your news stories and some brave heroes even flew in to help. 

But 100,000 in four months?  Fuck ‘em.

I don’t unfriend people for political beliefs, but I will drop you like a hot potato if you’re selfish enough to put my life in danger.  If you’re stunted enough to be unable to accept new facts and adjust your beliefs accordingly.  And if you’re cold enough to ignore a global crisis because you feel inconvenienced.  That is all unacceptable behavior to me, and has to do with who you are at your core, not what you believe in. 

I wish you luck.  I’m no holder of grudges, and I wish well even on the people who have wronged me, because I was raised to believe that forgiveness is key.  Some people weren’t, and that’s ok.  But, if money and politics is more important to you than human life, you’re missing something, friend.  And I’m not interested in sticking around until you find it.



/end rant.


Gone Fishin’

Good god, I’m bored.  I’m trying to kill a couple hours before dinner at my mother’s, but nothing is interesting me at the moment, not housework or television or even writing this blog, to be honest.  I’m pretty tired, and should take a nap…someone woke me at six to go fishing.

I have a vague memory of an afternoon at my aunt and uncle’s house, during which my uncle Terry took me and my cousins Sarah and Duff out back to the creek in their yard.  He showed Duff a few fishing fundamentals while me and Sarah, who was only maybe two at the time, looked for toads.  I remember wanting to learn what Duff was, but being too shy to ask.  I resolved myself to the frogs, but that was the first memory I have of anything fishing-related.

One time, I went with Mark and his brother and I reeled in a sunny.  That was the first actual fishing experience I had, and I was intrigued.  Mark  grew up fishing, but nothing fancy.  He would throw a line into some water and hope for the best, and out in the country he would often get a catch.  He finds it’s a little trickier out here, though, despite the enormous amount of water access we have here In Erie County.  So, he decided to teach himself a few new things.

Now, as I am no longer a shy 10-year-old, I had no problem saying “hey…teach me that!”  So, he got me a pole and my fishing license and we developed a new little hobby.

I haven’t caught anything yet.  I hooked one the other day, but he ripped the reel right off my pole.  I had several bites today but no catch.  We have found some cool places though, like the part of Caz creek filled with toads that reminded me of that childhood recollection in the first place.  And the Ship Canal Commons, which is a totally underused little park perfect for walking, biking, and fishing. 

Soon we will be going to visit Mark’s family and I am looking forward to fishing their creeks and lakes.  (Though I refuse to call them lakes.  Mark and I discussed this earlier…when you live on a Great Lake, everything else is a pond.)  Today we were sitting and waiting for a nibble when I asked Mark what I should blog about today, and he said “hobbies during quarantine.”  I suppose this is my quarantine hobby.  (Also, my plants…I’ll write about them when they start popping.)  It’s a good one.  We can easily social distance while doing it, and we are learning new skills.

Anyway…still bored.  We shoulda gone fishing again.

A Drive-by Easter

Last year, and every year before it, my family celebrated Easter at my mother’s house.  It was the big party she threw each year, the holiday she hosted, and one I looked forward to simply for that reason.  When I was young, we would first hunt for our baskets, then go to church, then rush home to get the food ready for the rest of the family when they arrived.  We would eat breakfast together and everyone would wear their Easter clothes, and sometimes it would be nice enough to go outside. 

Time moved on.  Mom still held on to that Easter basket hunt, but church was no longer part of the equation, once Ka passed.  I wasn’t much of a believer in Catholicism anymore, and my mother had her own personal reasons for having trouble going to Mass, so it sort of fell out of the day.  But brunch prevailed.  Still, the family would gather at our house and eat eggs and sausage and laugh and drink and generally be merry. 

But this year.

I started to feel crappy about the situation on Friday (more to come on that front, Thursday.)  I knew I wouldn’t see my grandma, and that is hard.  Since Poppa passed last month, I have been thinking about her daily and wanting to see her, but I stay home because Mark is still out there working and I don’t want to risk anything.  The only people I really see are Mark, my parents, sister, and the kids.  And even being around my parents, I am nervous.

However, my cousin Dominic, who is a musician, was having his first ever live Facebook show from his mothers’ basement to raise money for local businesses affected by Coronavirus.  I tuned in to find half of my family watching along with me…including my grandma.  It made me feel like we were connected for a moment.  Dom is a great guitar player and singer, and it was fun spending Friday night in my bedroom jamming out to his tunes.  I found a new song I like.  Another one inspired a poem.  I have said before how I love seeing all the art that is being created in this terrible time…my cousins’ contribution to that made me so happy.  For a little while, it felt like there was no quarantine, and that we were all at the bar enjoying one of his shows.

On Saturday, the kids were here.  Usually, my mother would organize an egg hunt and make them baskets, but this year that was a no-go on several accounts, one being that I was in the GD hospital AGAIN…but that’s beside the point.  My mother also wasn’t feeling great and no one wants to risk anything with the kiddos of course, so instead she and dad drove by and wished them a Happy Easter and dropped off a basket full of plastic Easter eggs filled with candy and money.  The kids were delighted, of course.

And then came Sunday.  We lounged around.  There was no panic.  No church for us or anyone, of course, though I could watch it on TV if I wanted to.  Mom came around and we went to grab coffee, then I wrote for a while before taking a shower and heading over to her house for brunch.

She did not hide baskets, because she did not make baskets, for the first time ever.  She did get us each a bag of sponge candy and some other treats, but just left them at our place settings.  As for the meal, it was just us-Mom, Dad, Mark, Bernie, and myself.  There was lots of food.  We ate, we drank, we laughed and were merry.  But I missed everyone else.

When I came home and realized Easter was done now, it was a letdown. I thought about how each of my aunts and uncles and cousins Easter’s must be-they have been going to my mom’s house for years and years.  This is the first many of them have had in their own homes.  I thought of my Gram, who I love and miss so much right now, and have never known an Easter without.

I started telling Bernie about Dom’s concert on Friday, though, and it made me smile to remember that for a second, a bunch of those people I had been missing were in the same place, even if we weren’t in the same place.  I think that during this horror story we call life right now, that’s the best thing we can hope for-connection with the people we love, no matter how.

Me with Gram, great-grandma Ag, and my aunts and uncles-Easter, sometime in the 80s.