Forego

It’s official—the summer vacation, that great European institution, has been beaten by a virus.

Today is the first of August, and a Saturday at that—throughout Europe, that means packed highways as tourists head south and immigrants head home—in case you’re not a local, both travel in the same direction.

But not this year.

Europe is suffering a second round of COVID-19 and politicians are battening down the hatches.

Both Americans and Europeans will forego their traditional holidays, or perhaps we should spell it for ego—politicians have truly screwed this one up, inflated by their egotistical notions of power and self-absorbed in the egoism of electioneering.

Instead, the power lies with the virus, which, unlike the politicians, applies a simple, effective, and consistent strategy. Its requirements are a host, i.e. humans, and a mechanism to spread.

As soon as it finds a host, it uses the typical tools of any coronavirus to propagate: it replicates at a high rate inside the organism and then expels the troops to the environment by making the host sniffle, sneeze, and cough.

Apart from those involuntary lines of attack, humans are for the most part quite content to assist in voluntary ways—they touch themselves and each other, talk in close proximity, travel and live in close quarters, use air conditioning in restaurants—familiarity breeds contempt.

As a result, Americans are drifting in a morass of unhinged and aimless policy (that was the smallest ‘p’ I could find) mainly (mis)directed by hapless politics.

Brazil is a disgrace, compounded by poverty, and it is only one of various Latin American hotspots.

And Europe, still reeling from the first wave, is now gathering steam for the second. Weird ideas like safe corridors for holiday travel, discretionary quarantine impositions that vary in time and space, and bizarre and contradictory advice are rife.

You will, for instance, be pleased to note that Her Majesty’s Government requires no quarantine when traveling to the British Antarctic Territory—bear in mind that may change overnight due to an infected penguin.

Vacation is a first world concept, so the virus has only whipped the Western World, but in so doing, it has demonstrated how easy it is to bring civilization to its knees.

The second wave came early to Europe, it was scheduled for the fall—contrary to the orange man’s empty wisdom, this virus seems quite comfortable with the heat.

And the current flavor of the virus has undoubtedly mutated, but we’re not sure how, and we don’t seem concerned. Is it more virulent? Has it adapted to target younger people? Older?

In the US, all the evidence points to a continuing first wave—both the virus and the debate continue to rage, both now focusing on re-opening schools—Mr. C. is rather looking forward to it.

The late fall will bring the third wave to Europe (the artist formerly known as the second wave), because Europe will once again bring this summer spike under control—by September, the curve will again be flattened, three weeks hence amnesia will resume, and five weeks later Mr. C. will have another go.

But by then it would be winter, as Neil Young famously sang, and Mr. C.’s friends will all come out to play.

In the U.S., as November 3rd approaches, confusion mounts. There’s no guarantee the first wave will subside, and if it does, the second will be rearing its ugly head.

The orang-u-tan will inevitably be thrown out, but the vote will take a while to count, with accusations of rigging spreading faster than Covid in a south Texas barroom.

One thing we should have learned by now—little Mr. C loves uncertainty and confusion.

The year is 2020, and we could be back in the Dark Ages—medical knowledge is replaced by whimsy, and the US stock market surges on borrowed cash while Main Street wilts.

And humans do what they love best—mass debate.

The India Road, Atmos Fear, Clear Eyes, and Folk Tales For Future Dreamers. QR links for smartphones and tablets.

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