It might not occur to you, because you are not a bizarre wierdo, but a lot of people really love the pandemic. Not just the little fascist gnome who changes his #science advice more often than a Wellesley girl changes her preferences during her sophomore year experimental phase, and not just the fascist pols who get off on exploiting their emergency powers to boss people around, but even some regular people. The masks, the paranoia, the constant talk about vaccines – some people love this stuff.
This is their Woodstock.
And they never want it to end.
Why would anyone enjoy this idiocy? Limits on your freedom, hectoring pests, nitwits riding around in their Priuses with face diapers wrapped around their talk-holes… it’s an abomination. Yet there’s this slice of the populace that gets into it. They resist a return to normalcy because their normal lives were not that great to begin with and this is the most exciting thing that will ever happen to them.
People crave a challenge, and for a while one of the most challenging things about America was its utter lack of challenge. It’s generally safe here. You probably won’t get hurt, except by accidents or if you live in a big Democratic city, and only then if you find yourself in the wrong neighborhood. You won’t starve – even if you are a bum, someone is handing you a ham sandwich. You really have to go looking for danger, and people do. They get into extreme sports, or flirt with crime, join the military, or date a Cuban chick.
The hardworking people who built America and made it safe, secure, and prosperous, also made it, in some ways, empty. We inherited a paradise. We paid nothing, did nothing, and most importantly, we risked nothing. But human beings are designed to do all those things. And we never really got a chance to.
People need to be tested. They crave meaning. I merely oversaw a heavily-armed carwash during the Gulf War, but even then, being in a war zone as history happened around us, we all had this feeling of being alive unlike anything else we had ever experienced. I did not get it back until I was driving around riot-torn Los Angeles with an M16 rifle during the riots. I did not want there to be a war, or for the Democrats to encourage people to burn down their own communities, but I would not have rather been anywhere else.
That’s what the pandemic is for these people. It’s their war. It’s something that lets them transcend their boring lives.
Look at our entertainment. Dystopian tales are hugely popular in American culture (including mine). Take The Walking Dead (please, and far way). Before it became lousy and boring and woke, it was very popular. Why? Because people like zombies? No, because it showed our regular everyday America turned upside down and let people imagine, just for an hour a week, what they might do if the Schiff hit the fan and they had to struggle to survive.
And some Schiff sort of hit the fan under the pandemic. It was weird and sort of scary and, most importantly, it was different. The disease itself could actually kill you, though with a 99 percent survival rate for most healthy folks, the odds were generally in your favor (when I got it, it was like a slight cold). But there were the public manifestations of chaos. Going to a Trader Joe’s during the first days of the unprecedented lockdown, seeing the wine moms load up on hummus, ciabatta, and $5.99 screw-top Chardonnay as if they were anticipating the breakdown of the entire social fabric, was memorable. For once, things were not certain in America. And something within human beings responds to that uncertainty. We were designed to fight for survival, and even if that meant battling to be the one getting the last bag of frozen orange chicken, it was something.
The initial pandemic uproar broke people out of their rut, which is kind of an odd notion since most of the people in human history would absolutely love to be in the rut Americans were as a people. But as bizarre as it is, and as strange when you look at it closely, it’s still a real thing. People yearned, at some level, for some kind of excitement, and the pandemic had to do.
Now, the better adjusted among us put that nonsense aside pretty quickly. The novelty wore off fast and the stupid masks and inability to eat our bone-in ribeyes inside of restaurants like normal people got old quick. Not all of us had jobs we could do from our laptop in the rumpus room, and this whole thing is a lot less fun if you’re out of a job. But millions are not really put out all that much. They could do their diversity consulting or whatever at home alongside their many cats and allow themselves to be swept away by the excitement of the pandemic.
And now you can see them not wanting to give it up. They talk about nothing but the vaccines, but they also want to disregard their effect and make believe the plague is still sweeping the country. They chatter about herd immunity, but they also fear reaching it because that would mean going back to their old, boring lives.
It’s kind of sad, but not so sad that the rest of us are going to play this nonsense much longer. We’re done with this. It’s time for those with empty lives to fill them up again with something that isn’t a hassle to the rest of us.
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My newest Kelly Turnbull action thriller Crisis pulls no punches. Check out my other four novels about what happens when America splits into red and blue countries, People's Republic, Indian Country, Wildfire, and Collapse!