Home > Uncategorized > Quarantine Diaries – Day 71 (Tired)

Quarantine Diaries – Day 71 (Tired)

It’s pointless to go over the details. We all know what they are.

I’m just tired. So tired. Today has been especially difficult.

The way we talk to each other and the way we act towards each other and the way we seemingly take pride in hurting each other. The way we lionize idiots and shout down angels. Our shocking lack of empathy. Our willingness to degrade and bully and threaten, and our almost casual relationship with the truth. Our scathing contempt for intelligence, for science….for actual literacy. Our mindless stupidity. Our supreme, narcissistic selfishness. Our willingness to not just kick somebody when they’re down, but to put a knee on his neck until the breath is choked out of him. Our unwillingness to sacrifice for one another. Our degradation of human life.

Over 70 days I’ve stayed in place, trying to do what’s right in the face of a savage virus….protecting myself and my family. And us doing our best to protect others. Learning what I can, listening, absorbing, studying. Watching the numbers rise. A relentless climb, close to 100,000 now. It seems surreal…….a number you’d think was picked out of the air because it’s nicely rounded. But each number a name…..and a tragedy. Dying alone. Scared. Confused. Without a human touch. Each name deserved better. Each maybe a mother. A father. A sister. A brother. A daughter. A son. A friend. Each fingerprint unique….never to be seen again. Each worthy of a national eulogy…..of a solemn procession. And most quickly forgotten to all but a chosen few. Names on a New York Times front page…..in type so small your eyes couldn’t focus long enough to get through 1% of them. Our generation’s war dead. History doesn’t remember these names. All it has time to do is count them. Then is moves on to other things.

ginoIt was Memorial Day weekend. The weather turned towards the sun. I despise the hullabaloo that comes along with such things……a solemn, reflective time turned into obnoxious beer bashes, about as patriotic as sticking an American flag pin in your ass and mooning the next door neighbor. The men and women who have fought and died for this nation deserve some reflection and gratitude, and every year all we can muster up is a pile of jackasses tooled up on cheap Natty Ice lighting off M-80s and scaring my dog. I visited the grave of WWII veteran Gino Merli, as I always do. And our family stayed together, quietly.

I stood there in front of Gino’s stone….and read and re-read the citation. Gino was the recipient of the Medal of Honor. He was asked to serve…..and he did. He was asked to lay his life on the line, and he did. He was just a kid. Younger than my youngest daughter is now. Plucked out of high school. And sent overseas to stop a monster. When he came back home, he finished high school. Then got on with his life, which he lived with a quiet dignity. He never talked about what he’d done in the war, because he didn’t think it was anything special. He assumed anybody in his situation would have done the same, and that was that. He’d seen many boys die. Friends. Those were the real heroes, he’d say. He devoted much of his post-war life to supporting fellow veterans. As fine a man as our area, nay, our nation, has ever produced.

And I thought about what we’re being asked to sacrifice today. To stop another monster.

To listen to the experts. To follow basic safety guidelines. Stay home as much as possible. Keep distancing. And wear a mask.

But for many of us….that’s too much to ask. So this weekend beaches and boardwalks and parks and trails were overflowing with crowds ignoring all of the above. Not giving a damn. While Gino Merli lays silent, undoubtedly bewildered…….his entire life a sacrifice for his country…..we consider donning a mask to help prevent the spread of a vicious virus, to perhaps save lives, as some form of deep-state tyranny.

Imagine if Gino and his friends felt this way?

Imagine if when they were called they just sneered and said, “fuck off”.

I feel like I owe him an apology for us turning out this way. For our nation, the one he fought so nobly for, spitting on his memory. And on the memory of his friends.

Oh, but they’ll never admit that…..driving around in their trucks with old glory waving away, swaying to that Kid Rock mix-tape, owning all the libs. They love this country….and a good-sized portion of the white people in it.

Until it asks for something in return. Something so insignificant in comparison to what was asked of Gino that it’s almost parody.

I’m sorry, but what we’ve become is not worthy of the sacrifices he made.

So I apologized to him. And told him that maybe next year when I visit again, I’ll have better news to report.

But I doubt it.

In a bit..


Categories: Uncategorized
  1. Mike Stevens
    May 26, 2020 at 8:36 pm

    Excellent piece. Keep them coming.

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