We’re in season 4 of this pandemic, and the writers are getting desperate.
First, it was complete and total lockdown. Our schools ceased to operate, we almost had to resort to using our favorite old t-shirts to wipe our own asses, and we were washing our groceries, of all things. There were murder hornets. A burning West Coast. Possibly a deadly asteroid or two. It’s hard to remember exactly.
Things were bad.
But then the writers decided maybe what this series needed in season 2 was a little hope.
So things eased up a bit. We actually managed to crush the curve after 3 long months of isolation and a 24/7 sense of impending doom.
Businesses started to reopen with new safety measures in place. People could finally visit the salon and color those 4-inch roots. We no longer had to battle each other Hunger Games-style for a roll of toilet paper.
Things were looking up.
And then, as humans do, we couldn’t just let a good thing be. People began gathering in large groups again (some of whom never stopped in the first place). Bars became super-spreader locations. And the anti-maskers, who had taken to Capitol lawns with their guns and their misspelled protest signs when this all began, ramped up their efforts even more.
It was all political, they said. It would stop once the election was over, they declared. 99% of people survive, they regurgitated. Fuck those who don’t.
And the writers sprang season 3 on us, this time with more gloom.
Schools went all virtual, many without the option of even trying face-to-face in the first place. Parents had to juggle working from home and facilitating distance learning once again. This time, though, the stakes were higher. The numbers were climbing. And people’s selfishness only worsened.
The anti-maskers grew bolder. The conspiracy theories grew wilder. And despite what they’d said all along, the virus did not disappear once the election was over.
It grew more macabre.
And here we find ourselves, in season 4 of this pandemic, and much like the later episodes of Nip Tuck, this shit ain’t even believable anymore.
Governors — even those resistant to requiring certain safety measures early on — have been left with no choice except to impose more stringent health requirements, including mask mandates, virtual schooling, and business closures.
Something — anything — to get this thing, which has reached its worst yet, under control.
And still, the anti-maskers and conspiracy theorists refuse to play, despite the overwhelming evidence of the efficacy of certain safety precautions and the danger of letting this virus rage on unchecked.
Facts no longer mean anything. Logic has died. And instead of encouraging citizens to follow proper health procedures, government officials are tweeting at residents to rise up against their state’s newest mandates — mandates intended to save lives.
Misguided notions of freedom. Misinformed understandings of this disease, perpetuated by the very person who’s supposed to be our leader. And sheer stupidity.
The faster we get this thing under control, the faster we return to some semblance of normalcy. And in order to get this thing under control, we have to follow safety protocols.
Nobody likes it. But we have to do it.
And yet, the people who cry the loudest about not wanting to be governed are the ones who need to be governed the most.
If they’d do their part, none of this would be necessary. We would be sitting pretty comfortably while we wait for the appropriate preventative medical intervention.
But instead, like petulant children, they need to be told. They need to be grounded so they don’t kill us all. And they still can’t see what’s plainly in front of them: They are prolonging the disruption to the economy, contributing to unnecessary death, and furthering this dystopian nightmare.
In 100 years (if the planet is even sustainable by then), the history books will read, “And all they had to do to survive was stay home, and if they had to go into public, wear a mask. But they didn’t. So they died.” And readers will say, “Wait, what? Seriously? It couldn’t have been that simple,” to which historians will reply, “Yes, seriously. It was that simple. And yet they were apparently simpler.”
The pandemic writers might be throwing some wildly unrealistic shit our way, but they got one thing right: The virus won’t be the thing that ultimately brings us down. Our sheer stupidity alone will claim that victory.