A comic strip on the bulletin board of a health club I used to belong to featured an overweight man in his underwear sitting on the examining table in a doctor’s office. The doctor, standing next to him and staring at the clipboard he was holding, said, “Which works better for your schedule – exercising for one hour a day or being dead for twenty-four?”

I was reminded of that the other day while watching a television interview with a man who was recovering from the coronavirus. He was commenting on the number of people who were – and are – crowding the beaches of Florida, celebrating spring break and ignoring the warnings about social distancing and the pleas for everyone to stay home in order to slow both the spread of the disease and the dangers it poses to healthcare workers and medical facilities.

The recovering patient, who was originally diagnosed with a garden-variety form of the flu, and then with a type of pneumonia they didn’t know how to treat, had a reality-check and some words of advice for people who were ignoring instructions to stay home.

“I know you’re going to be inconvenienced for a while with social distancing,” he said from his hospital bed. “However, do you want to be socially dead six months from now? The same people that are going to miss you for a couple of months are going to miss you forever when you didn’t take this seriously.”

I’m glad that most people are, finally, taking this seriously, especially the people who for a long time were repeating things like, “A lot more people die from the flu than have died from this.” Or, “It’s no big deal, you might get a cold, but then you’ll be fine.” And those who blamed the media and/or the Democrats for exaggerating the danger and blowing it up out of proportion.

Like many people, I’m going a bit stir crazy from staying home and inside during the past week, and I’m not exactly thrilled with the idea that it’s going to last for a while longer. I’m concerned for my family and friends, and I’m worried about all the changes ahead for us in terms of our health, our economy, and pretty much everything in our lives that is changing right now – some of which may never be the same again.

But the bottom line is that I’d rather be socially distant than socially dead, and I would hope that everyone else feels the same way, no matter how early or how late they came to that decision.

If at all possible, stay home. Stay smart. Stay safe.

It makes sense. And it beats the alternative.

March 20, 2020
©Betty Liedtke, 2020

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