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Hook, Line and Sinker

By Tony Hooker

In the words of that noted twentieth century philosopher, Janet Jackson: This is a story about control.

My control. Control of what I say. Control of what I do. And this time I’m gonna do it my way.

Unfortunately for Janet, Miss Jackson if you’re nasty, (yes, I’m a boomer and I own the cassette) we currently have very little control over much of anything.

And I think this is why we’re chomping at the bit (someday I’m going to write a column using every trite cliché I can come up with, but I digress) to get back to some degree of normalcy.

It’s why we wonder how shopping at Walmart can be considered social distancing but sitting in a fishing boat in the middle of Lake Shelbyville by our lonesome isn’t.  Or why we can buy an airline ticket (fares are low right now) and fly to Vegas, but we can’t play nine holes by ourselves on the local golf course.  

Others are making these decisions, and we have little ability to influence them, and thus feelings of impotency and powerlessness prevail.  Like too many shots of fireball on a Saturday night, this despair can lead to bad decisions. 

Which is where I find myself now.  The socially active part of me sees my friends in service industries struggling to stay afloat.  These folks ride a tenuous line in the best of times, so their struggles pull at the heartstrings.  Their creativity and ability to adapt has been truly amazing to behold, as has the support that our little town is desperately trying to provide them.

Nationwide, clothing sales were down as much as 50 percent according to the website Morning Brew. (which is a good daily read, sent to your inbox.  Tell them I recommended you.)   The economy is shrinking, layoffs are burgeoning and no sector, except, perhaps retail groceries, is safe.  I get it.  We want to get back to work.  We need to get back to work. On a personal note, I can’t wait to share a beverage with my buddies at the local watering holes.  But, and there’s always a but, these days, we have to be smart about it.

We can’t select a random date (some are advocating May 1) without the ability to test and track more efficiently.  Otherwise, we risk negating whatever gains we’ve made by sheltering in place.  My gut says that there are many undiagnosed folks who might never display the symptoms walking amongst us.  To throw open the gates completely would be to invite a reignition of the pandemic, to my way of thinking.  Again, I’m no medical expert, nor am I a particular fan of being told what to do, but my gut, which other than skin is the largest organ in my body, is telling me that we need to exercise restraint and roll things out gradually.  

Control is what separates good pitchers from not so good ones.  It’s who Major Tom talked to on his last space voyage.  It’s what Van Halen lamented a loss of on their Women and Children First album.  Unfortunately, it’s not something that we Americans are very good at relinquishing, but self-control is what we need the most of right now.

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