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Aye, Corona!

No better means to further cement my ignorance than commenting on an evolving and fluid situation .. so here goes. Let’s start with the reported statistic that 38% of Americans believe it’s unsafe to consume Corona beer at present. This means that four out of every ten people in this country are certified rock-heads. I’ve always been liberal with my rock-head estimates but this number is staggering to me. Every one of those individuals has access to Twitter, Facebook and the like and is fully capable of disseminating information in any manner they see fit, as long as they remain sensitive to “community guidelines” and use the correct, new gender pronouns. Couple these facts with a Commander in Chief who has the light-touch of Ronnie Lott and refers to Tim Cook as “Tim Apple.” Then throw in the approaching home stretch of a national election, automated algorithm-driven stock market transactions and Mardi Gras. And, oh yeah, a genuinely concerning new virus outbreak stemming from China. Buckle up, folks.

There was a march in San Francisco’s Chinatown last weekend, its theme being “Blame the virus; not China.” I have no inclination to blame the Chinese. Shit happens and plenty has emanated from America that hasn’t exactly helped the world. But it seems a bit ridiculous to deny certain cultural customs in vain attempt to harness ‘political correctness.’ One need only take the 30-Stockton bus to observe multiple deboarding Chinese grandmothers hocking massive loogies in phlegm-clearing ritual. Yet you don’t see any CDC Chinatown loogie warnings circulating. And a cursory stroll around the area will reveal all manner of ‘food markets’ selling a wide selection of ‘exotic’ items. ‘Personal space’ is a concept infrequently debated in this particular locale. All of these facts stand readily observable but it isn’t too cool these days to point them out. As I say, I love the Chinese .. without them, we’d have neither firecrackers nor Chinese checkers. (That last line is reminiscent of a Norm Macdonald bit on being a feminist: “I love women. Without them, we’d have no cookies.”) Time to quit while I’m behind.

My sobriety continues, save one bottle of Anchor Steam beer over the weekend. This puts me at roughly three weeks with almost no drinking. “Roughly” and “almost” are words I’d have to work into any abstinence contract. Removing vices from my life has an almost identical effect to adding them; nothing much changes but the habit itself. Back in the 1990s, I took up the habit of running several times a week. “Running” is a loose interpretation of what I do and it fluctuates between something fairly impressive for a guy in his fifth decade to a husky trot. Still, I seem stuck with it now because I feel shitty if I don’t and, as I get older, stopping would reflect some undesirable landmark. Everything continues to boil down to Bill Murray’s line in the film ‘Meatballs’ as he advises a bunch of nerd kids in summer camp on an approaching competition with a cooler camp: “It just doesn’t matter.” You’re born, you’re nurtured for a while if you’re lucky, you long for love in vain, you take up drinking and exercise, you give up drinking, and you die. If you’re lucky, something like ‘The Sopranos’ shows up halfway between.

The above might sound hopeless, but it isn’t. It’s all about gauging expectations and taking it day by day. And, for me, comparing myself frequently with others who project a happy outward image. I may not be great at such projection myself but have an uncanny facility for doubting what I see. This comes in handy at key life junctures and amid virus hysteria. Take Joe Biden, as a relevant and current example. He could have folded in on himself prior to Super Tuesday and amid the recent Bern-feeling climate. Yet he plowed on, mistaking names, forgetting what day it was, and calling young female voters “lying, dog-faced, pony-soldiers.” I’m not sure what a ‘pony-soldier’ is, beyond a soldier atop a pony, but that’s not the point here. He didn’t believe what he saw and now he’s back in the race. Funny that forgoing alcohol, as opposed to taking it up, would lead me to this conclusion. It’s all an illusion. But of course, it is, and this was never in doubt for some. It just doesn’t matter, indeed.

Is it too early for a drink?

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