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Thoughts for Thursday (12/10/2020)- Thoughts on the Year

I hope today finds everyone Happy and Healthy and in the midst of a Joyous Holiday Season. Happy Holidays! Merry Christmas! Happy Hanukkah! Seasons Greetings! Happy Kwanzaa! Take your pick. (My apologies if I missed any… Festivus?)

As the year begins to wind down (3 weeks to go!), I still see us knee-deep in a pandemic that continues to post numbers that are staggering. So many sick and far too many who have passed from this that my mind can’t reconcile the loss. My aunt and uncle are currently ill and, after a brief hospitalization, are thankfully improving (Hi! D & D).

Yesterday, for the first time, our country has reported over 3,000 deaths in a single day and yet I continue to hear people debate mask-wearing and whether the virus is even real.

“The numbers are a lie”. “They had preexisting conditions”. “If a guy’s parachute didn’t open and he died when hitting the ground, if he had COVID-19, they would list that as the cause of death”. Ok. Sure. What number are you ok with then? What number of people dying from this are you good with? 2,500? 2,000? 1?

“People die all the time.” “The flu kills people every year and you don’t hear about it like this.” “This is just another example of the media trying to control us and take away our rights!” “COVID-19 may take away our lives, but they’ll never take our freedom!” Ok, I might be mixing up my quotes a little here.

My point, (before I digress into political arguments I desperately seek to avoid and that, as I’ve said before, I’m an idiot, so why would anyone listen to me?) is that what’s happening is “Bad”. Hopefully, we can all agree on that, right? People getting sick and dying is “Bad”. We cool on that point? If you want to debate the degree of “Bad” then that’s up to you I suppose. If only 1 person dies tomorrow instead of 3,000 today, it’s still “Bad”. Especially if that person is you or someone you love. The difference is until “Bad” hits close to home, it’s much easier to dismiss 3,000 faceless strangers dying with the cavalier, “People die every day” argument than when your family is devastated by this. I hope that no one has to deal with that kind of “Bad”, regardless of your current opinions.

Like so many others, my business (Computer Greeks located at 12222 S Harlem Ave in lovely downtown Palos Heights, open Monday to Saturday from 10am to 6pm, here for all of your tech needs during the Holiday Season and year-round) has been hurt by the pandemic as well. We are more fortunate than many in that we are still here, but the emotional and financial stress of trying to stay open and operate during all of this has taken its toll. I’m not writing this to complain (Ok, I want to complain a little), I want to make the point that anyone who thinks I don’t understand what small businesses are dealing with over the course of this year can Megabyte me. I know exactly what it has been like and I still feel the same way I did all those months ago when I said I would rather do too much than too little. Stay home if you can, care about other people’s well-being, and wearing a mask isn’t too much to ask of someone. Somehow, these ideas are still argued as if they were a political debate about raising your taxes. I don’t get it.

Maybe people don’t see it until it hits close to home? You get sick with COVID-19, but you get better, so the deaths are fake? Just another cold? I’m at a loss. A fellow business owner (a restaurant in town) has said that until someone walks in and dies in front of them, they aren’t going to follow any of the guidelines on mask wearing, social distancing, or anything else I suppose (food safety? underage drinking?) Nope. I don’t understand that type of person and I hope I never will.

Now, I really didn’t want this week’s “Thoughts for Thursday” to be hijacked by the pandemic (too late, I know), and what I really wanted to bring up was…

as I write this, I find myself thinking of another debate that tends to arise this time of year that has often been described as the “War on Christmas”.

As customers are leaving my store, it is often with a heartfelt desire that I send them on their way with the Seasonal Greeting that will hopefully let them know I genuinely appreciate their patronage and wish them a wonderful holiday time. Unfortunately, I do not know upfront what specific holiday they may hold dear. So often, I may express a more broad sentiment such as “Happy Holidays”.

See, it’s the go-to catch-all of well-wished phrases.

I offered this up last week to a customer as they departed my store and apparently, I must not have spoken as clearly and succinctly as I had intended (all those years of diction and acting lessons wasted!) for when I said, “Happy Holidays”, what they heard was “I will not wish you a Merry Christmas because I am sanitizing the holiday season and soon it will be illegal to celebrate and be “Merry” and Christmas will only be written as X-Mas and eventually me and my Pagan followers (My Pagan Followers and I?) will destroy all that you hold dear!!!”. I do tend to mumble sometimes so maybe this was my fault? Not sure. Police officer pulls me over- “What’s the problem officer?” You were looking pretty “Merry” there when you drove by. “No No, I swear I was “Happy”, I would never be “Merry”, I promise.

What’s my point? To be honest, I’m never sure that I have one, but maybe in this case it’s this: Some people seem to be wired to see and hear an offense or a slight or a threat where none exists. Happy Holidays = Christmas is Bad Wear a Mask = A Threat to Freedom People Are Dying from Covid-19 = The Media is Trying to Control Me Trix are for Kids = The Cereal Industry is Attempting to Disenfranchise Hard Working Adults

Maybe, especially this time of year, we should be giving people the benefit of the doubt and try a little harder to beat back our inclinations of distrust and resentment that sometimes come far too easily. But then again, what do I know?

To all you Whos down in Whoville, The Tall and the Small, Who love Christmas a lot or ones who don’t, not at all. I wish you this Season whichever you choose, A time of Joy and Wonder for Christians and Jews, As well as Muslims and Hindus and Buddhists and more Just one thing to note- when Computer Greeks isn’t open, Don’t Pull on My Door.

Be Safe, Be Healthy, Be Happy, Uncle Steve

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