Posts Tagged ‘coronavirus’

So, for most people, maybe everyone, discomfort is not fun. We all want to feel comfortable in our own skin. You want to be able to say whatever you want without feeling bad. You want to tell a joke and not have people look at you as if they just stepped in something. You want to have thoughts and opinions that are yours, and damn it, “It’s America! I can do and think as I please!”

This has never been more apparent, at least in my life time, then it has during this pandemic. People showed up to state capitols, armed. ARMED! To protest measures to prevent the spread of sars-cov-2. People protesting, comparing the requirements of wearing masks to slavery. TO SLAVERY! People want to be comfortable. In my last blog, I wanted you to know that it was OK to be sad for others. In this one, I want you to know that it’s OK to feel discomfort. (roll credits)

Not everything is OK. Not everything you do is OK. You and I must sit in the discomfort of the knowledge and the fact, that not everything we do is OK. As a matter of fact, if we have any desire to be better human beings, we must all sit in the discomfort of not everything is OK. Racial biases are not the only thing that as a society we struggle. We also struggle with gender issues, LGBTQ issues, age issues, socioeconomic issues, and a plethora of others. The list goes on for days. But this blog will focus on the real racial biases that as a reader you have, we all have, and if we don’t choose to sit a little in that discomfort, it will not get better.

I am African American. I have a PhD. I am a professor. I am a parent. I love the outdoors, especially the mountains. I am proud of the diversity of my friends. I would say that I am the opposite of militant or “in your face”. I tell y’all (North Carolina is seeping into my pores, sigh…) this because I want to share a few stories (not all of them) of how my experiences as a black man has affected my life.

I have been pulled over by the police while jogging. I can’t think of a better term than “pulled over”, because you did read correctly, I was jogging. I was in high school. I was jogging with a friend of mine, also black. Near my house in California, there were a lot of roads that went through hills. We thought it would be nice to run in the hills and avoid cars. We parked the car by the side of the road and went for a jog. After some time, police stopped us. They asked us a bunch of questions. They asked for our ID. Our IDs were left in the car, because we were jogging. They escorted us back to the car. They took our IDs and made us wait. I remember we sat in silence. I remember being scared. Eventually they gave our IDs back and we were told that we “matched descriptions”. Those quotes are there on purpose, because it is not the last time that I or a family member will “match descriptions”.

My brother spent time in jail for matching a description. He was sitting at a bus stop when brought in. He was later released.

On more than one occasion I have letters written about me in an attempt to disparage my name. They are always written by anonymous.

The look on people’s face is often ‘shock’ when they are told I am a professor.

My last story you might find silly and minor. But I tell it as an example of something that has occurred to me at least 20 times. At least three times, a friend, a white friend was present and noticed it and commented after they witnessed it. My response was a shrug, because that’s how often it has happened to me. I am standing in a research lab talking to multiple people. A white man in a suit walks in, but no one knows who he is or why he is walking in to the lab. Turns out he is looking for information. He walks passed me. With his back to me, proceeds to direct his attention to the others in the room (all of whom are white), and requests his information. There response was, “We don’t know, but Brett would know.” The man pauses as if perplexed, “Who’s Brett?” They respond, “He’s behind you.”

Was the man racist? Maybe. I don’t know. But I’m telling you, having examples like that in my life, many examples of like that in my life will affect a man. It makes you question how others see you. Are you racist? I don’t know, but I bet there have been times you didn’t see someone who deserved to be seen. Think about it. You don’t treat everyone the same. Do you? No, you are not racist, but are you ANTIracist? I didn’t write this blog to make you feel comfortable. If you want things to be better for EVERYONE, you gotta know that it’s OK to feel discomfort. (roll credits)

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So, some of you may recognize the title and where it comes from.  It is from Rocky IV and it’s a quote from Ivan Drago after knocking Apollo Creed unconscious of what was supposed to be an exhibition bout.  It is also the subject of today’s corvid-19 blog.  How’s that for gloom and doom?

I recently saw a report that quoted Texas lieutenant governor, Dan Patrick as saying that…  Hold on …  I want to see the video …  From Fox News … Here is exactly what he said, “As a senior citizen, are you willing to take a chance on your survival in exchange for keeping the America that all America loves for your children and your grandchildren?  And if that’s the exchange, I’m all in.”  I literally just watched his interview on Fox, and that is exactly what he said, so there is no dispute on interpretation.  Is this a fair exchange?  Does it make sense?  One can make the argument that poverty kills millions, whereas Corvid-19 has not come close to other mechanisms of mortality.  I will be honest with you, I think a point can be made to make sure the economy remains intact, in spite of the coronavirus.  I have thought about this, but I have come to one simple conclusion/problem.  Am I willing to take a chance on my survival if it impacts the survival of others?  I am not.

Here is the problem I have with Mr. Patrick’s statement.  Are all senior citizens willing to forego treatment in the event they contract Corvid-19?  Are all senior citizens willing to cut themselves off from the public?  What is the age cutoff?  Eighty percent of deaths have been of people 65 and older.  Does health matter?  Of those that died, those with cardiovascular conditions, diabetes, or high blood pressure were at increased risk.  Everyone above 65 would have to be not only quarantined, but denied health care.  Because honestly, this is the only way it would work.

This is what we told our kids.  If you get the virus, you will probably be fine.  But what if you give it to a friend (who will also probably be fine), but that friend gives it to the grocery store cashier, and that cashier gives it to your 80 year old grandmother?  Is that still fine?  They said no, that is not fine.

It’s one thing to gamble your own survival, but in this case, it is gambling the survival of others, without their permission.  We put it to our kids in another way.  What if someone is in a car accident and the local hospital can’t treat them because they are too busy with Corvid patients?  Our kids also said that would be unacceptable.

Look, this is not easy. But it doesn’t have to be the end of the world.  We can provide support for our neighbors.  We can make sure that those hit hardest by this economic hit have a safety net.  The experts tell us, if we do nothing, the economic hit will be far greater than the economic hit of a few weeks of shelter in place.  If you think about it, how amazing is it that we live in a country where everyone can be fed even during a shelter in place order.  The only reason, and I mean the ONLY reason stores are out of stock is because of hoarding.  We can be better. We have to be better.  I hear that Mr. Patrick is willing to risk his own survival, but in doing so, he is risking the survival of others.  Basically what he is saying, is that if he is sick, the rest of the country should just say, “If he dies, he dies.” (roll credits).  That’s not the American way, that’s the Russian Ivan Drago way.


I like Rocky IV (see above), but Rocky III is highly underrated.  I’m just sayin’…

Post Script:  It was pointed out to me that I have been writing Corvid-19, instead of Covid-19.  I was told by my friend who studies birds.  I began my graduate career studying birds.  I plan on keeping the mistake in the blog.  For those that do not know, a Corvid is short for bird in the Corvidae family.  The family includes crows, ravens, jays, and magpies to name a few.  A very intelligent group of animals, also highly annoying.  They are the a$$holes of the bird world.  Seriously.  I’m just sayin’…

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So, it’s Day 2.  It’s quiet, perhaps too quiet.  I’m safe now, but for how long.  I’m not going to lie, I’m a little scared.  I hear stirring.  I think it’s about to happen.  (creeeeeeek!)  Not yet!  I see it!  It’s awake.  “What’s for breakfast?”  Noooooooooooooo!  The kids are still in the house.  Ugh….

I am not sure if you heard, but there is a virus going around and the kids are home for the foreseeable future.  I have the this morning’s shift before I head to work.  It’s a little crazy out there.  I spent quite a bit of time trying to comfort my department and provide words of wisdom.  I am running out words of wisdom.  At some point, I like many, will want to start acting crazy, but for now, I plan to remain calm.  Don’t panic (roll credits).  It will be alright.

About two weeks ago, my mother-in-law was over to watch the kids, while my wife, my son and I were out of town at hockey tournament.  When I came back she had bought a package of toilet paper from Costco.  At the time, I thought, that is a lot of TP.  Stupid waste of money!  Guess who is stupid now?  I am forever thankful that she made the purchase.  It was not virus related, she bought it because we were running low.  Am I glad she did.  Where would I get toilet paper now if we needed it?  It’s ridiculous!   What’s going on?

Do you realize if everyone behaved normally, we would have everything we needed for everyone?  EVERYONE!! (shout out to The Professional, Natalie Portman’s best movie of her career.  Disagree?  I’ll fight you!)  Show me one announcement of a TP shortage.  One document that states TP production is affected by the Coronavirus.  Nope.  It all because of human panic.  So, don’t panic!

Also, why can’t I get meat at the stores?  Is there a magical meat protection from the virus? People be crazy!  People hoard the weirdest things.  It’s like during threat of snow in North Carolina and all the bread and milk are gone; the two most perishable items in the store.  How does that make any sense?!? So, I have been thinking.  If this was a true zombie apocalypse, what would I hoard?  Here is my top 5 things to hoard list in the event of a zombie apocalypse:

  1.  Rice
  2. Flour
  3. Beans
  4. Seeds
  5. Dog Food

For me rice is easy, especially brown rice.  Rice is easy to store.  Rice last a really long time.  It’s compact, so does not take up much space.  Super easy to cook.  Brown rice has more nutrition than white, so it’s the superior choice.

Flour, similar to rice is easy to store, but not as compact.  However, easy to make edible food with just water.

Beans are highly nutritious and can be stored for a very long time.  Also, easy to prepare.  Seeds of course are for the future and food longevity.  I would probably select seeds of vegetables that grow rather quickly, such as spinach, arugula, green onions and tomatoes (although probably the slowest grower of this group).

And finally, dog food.  We love are dog.  Also great for protection if necessary.  Dog food lasts a really long time if stored probably and can be used for human food consumption in a pinch.

Speaking of zombies.  How do zombies work?  Muscles require ATP or they experience rigor mortis.  What’s producing ATP in a zombie?  Cells are dead.  It’s basic physiology! Oh well, but if there ever is a true zombie apocalypse, we are moving to Montana.  It get cold.  Zombies can’t move through snow well or handle difficult terrain.  Finally, the gun to person ratio is through the roof!  I’m just sayin’ …

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So, it’s your first pandemic?  Hey!  It’s mine too.

I am surprised at the reaction of many to our current situation.  Some are taking it way too seriously, and inciting fear.  Others are not taking it serious enough, and calling all of our preparations a joke.  In response to this, I decided to post something on Facebook, and was surprised at the reactions (positive).  So, I decided to bring my blog out of retirement and post it.  If you have fears or anxiety regarding the coronavirus, perhaps the following words will help.

Image result for don't panic

Facebook Post:

I will try to keep this brief. Don’t panic. However, it is a big deal. Please stop hoarding. Please stop freaking out. Please stop down playing the seriousness of this virus. Please stop inciting fear. I encourage you to focus on one important goal: Slowing the spread of the virus. The issue is not that we are all going to die. The issue is that we don’t want to overrun our healthcare system. More people will get sick. Unfortunately, a percentage will die, but it will be a lot worse if we act business as usual. If we do things correctly, we will look back and say “That was not such a big deal.” Not because it wasn’t a big deal, but because we did things correctly.

Five suggestions you might find helpful. 1. Wash your hands. 2. Social distancing. 3. Decrease travel. 4. Feel sick, stay home (unless told to do otherwise by a medical professional) and avoid immune compromised and elderly. 5. Relax

Bonus: I know many of you like to stir up the pot on Facebook. Not the time. Let’s support one another. Sorry, not so brief.


So, that’s what I wrote.  And to my surprise, many found it useful.  I hope you will too.  Perhaps, I will write more often until this thing is all over.  And trust me, one day it will be all over, and hopefully we will look back and say, “That wasn’t so bad.”



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