Living In Interesting Times

Coronavirus, appearing in interesting times
We Are Living In Interesting Times

One of my favorite quotes is an alleged Chinese Curse that states “May you be born in interesting times.” Given what’s been happening this past week, I’d say we are in fact living in interesting times. These times are not particularly the times I’d have chosen to live in, all things being equal.

The most recent interesting thing is, of course, the medically-defined “Novel Coronavirus.” Interesting to epidemiologists at least. Those folks are probably having the time of their lives studying this new and improved virus. The rest of us, not so much.

I’m trying to write this post in a semi-humorous style but I’m honestly having a hard time. In truth, there isn’t much to laugh about right now. Our financial markets are giving every indication of another major recession. We’re in the beginning stages of a serious pandemic. We have a buffoon as president of this country, with a crowd of sycophants and deranged corrupt money-grubbing parasites alternately leading him on and then using his vague twitter-bursts as authorization for national policy. This is a perfect trifecta: financial and medical crisis with no one in charge.

A Week of Interesting Events

Financial

Global stock markets crashed in the worse day of trading since 2008. Trading was halted at least once due the steep drop in stock prices. By end of the day, the Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 2,000 points.

Russia and Saudi Arabia decided to hold a price war on crude oil, with the result that oil prices lost almost a third of their value in just one day.
Monday March 9

Government, Pandemic

Trump’s statement on the ever-spreading Coronavirus infection was:

“It will go away, just stay calm. Be calm. It’s really working out. And a lot of good things are going to happen.”
Tuesday, March 10

Pandemic, Government, Financial

The World Health Organization declared the Coronavirus a pandemic.

The trump response was to give a speech later that evening, and put his son-in-law in charge of the response team. During his speech trump announced he was shutting down air travel to every European country except ones hosting his resorts. The White House response team forgot to tell our European allies about this plan in advance.

The speech was allegedly designed to show the world that Donald Trump had a solid lock on the pandemic and no one need worry. In true black humor fashion, the world’s stock markets started crashing before his 15-minute speech was even finished.
Wednesday, March 11

Government, Financial

Media reported the response team was classifying meetings and locking out medical experts who didn’t have security clearances. Stock markets continued to crash but only for one hour. At that point Dow Jones just shut down trading for the rest of the day. Then millions of retirement-age Americans checked our 401K accounts to see how much we lost.
Thursday, March 12

Government, Pandemic

Trump finally used “two very big words” and declared a national emergency over the pandemic. He also declared he was totally not responsible for the problems with America’s pitiful Coronavirus medical response. In keeping with the Republican’s mantra of “personal responsibility,” trump declared all problems were the fault of former President Obama.

Meanwhile, across the globe 5,008 had already died from this novel virus with 137,445 confirmed cases.
Friday March 13

America’s Response

Americans responded to the week’s events in true capitalistic fashion by buying up all available toilet paper and hand sanitizer. One asshole stockpiled 17,700 bottles of hand sanitizer so he could sell them on Amazon.com at jacked up prices. His path to instant wealth was foiled when Amazon shut down all sellers who were trying to profiteer from a pandemic. Now, this asshole has a garage full of hand sanitizer and doesn’t know what to do with it all. Donating to people who need it doesn’t even seem to be a consideration.

Given the total lack of coordinated media information from the person who should be controlling the message, misinformation is flying. Well-meaning people are passing bad information they believed was good. Worse are the people denying reality, who insist this is all a Liberal Plot To Make Trump Look Bad. As if trump really needs help looking bad. The net effect seems to be low-level mass panic, with local and state governments responding in different ways. Which again seems to add to the feeling of panic.

Ending Commentary

If these events were a movie script it’d be written as a black comedy, because no one would take it seriously. It’s no secret that I despise trump, and that I’m having increasing levels of difficulty dealing with anyone who does continue to support him. But, if trump had actually risen to this occasion, listened to his experts, and taken quick, decisive action, I’d have applauded him. Even though I would have needed copious amounts of hand sanitizer afterwards.

I truly wish that the many experts who are predicting a medical disaster looming in our immediate future are wrong. Maybe we’ll get lucky this time around and somehow avoid the predicted scenarios of overfull hospitals and people dying from lack of medical care. Maybe the financial markets will spontaneously correct themselves and we avoid an epic recession/depression. In the military we say “hope is not a plan.” I think that applies here.

Regardless of how this all plays out, we are indeed living in interesting times.

Related Posts

COVID-19 Timeline Project : My massive timeline project documenting the Coronavirus pandemic in America.
The Approaching Storm : Music that describes the state of the world.
Katrina’s Financial Impact : Describing the financial impact of an earlier disaster I lived through.

Editor’s Note: April 22 – Updated with new timeline format

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