Saturday, 28 March 2020

Musings from Self-Isolation-Day 12

Day 12

To paraphrase the Carpenters, rainy days and Saturdays always get me down.

But, not today. Not on what is being called the most crucial weekend for curve-flattening in our city. The more it rains today and tomorrow, the more people will stay home and the more links in the viral chain will be broken. With the city effectively shut down for anything social and the rain keeping people indoors and aways from parks and sidewalks, we have a huge opportunity here to really mess with the curve. I'm looking at it this way...

Rainy days and Saturdays are a huge blessing in the pandemic era.

People are asking me if I'm ok. I am. I just need to vent from time to time. It is how I manage my mental health. Some people cry and some watch Mel Brooks movies. I vent my spleen of pent up hostility toward all the stupidity I perceive around me. It isn't directed at any one person, (unless you are married to me and, believe me, he takes on a shitload) but it is, instead, me issuing a global tongue-lashing and hopefully a few people might get the not-so-subtle hint.

We have been studying the book of Proverbs during our weekly Shabbat Torah study, and today we came across a fascinating and strangely relevant passage for the times in which we find ourselves.

A scoundrel, an evil man
Lives by crooked speech,
Shuffling his feet,
Pointing his finger.

Duplicity is in his heart;
He plots evil all the time;
He incites quarrels
Therefore calamity will come upon him without warning;
Suddenly he will be broken beyond repair. (Proverbs 6:12-15)

It continues...

Six things the Lord hates;
Seven are an abomination to Him:
A haughty bearing,
A lying tongue,
Hands that shed innocent blood,
A mind that hatches evil plots,
Feet quick to run to evil,
A false witness testifying lies,
And one who incites brothers to quarrel. (Proverbs 6:16-19)

The question was asked if evil is the correct word. Is perhaps, wicked a better descriptor? I think it is a difficulty with the translation but it is worth a discussion. How do we view the difference between evil and wickedness? I think that evil is a core issue; a malevolence and sociopathy that is so fundamental to a particular person that they derive a twisted pleasure from the results of their cruelty. I'd like to think that wickedness can be educated out of an individual. At Passover, we read about the four children and we do not discount the wicked child. We use the opportunity to teach and hope that this child will learn from her selfishness. Evil is unteachable. Wicked seems to have the ability for self-growth.

But come on...

Doesn't that passage from Proverbs describe a certain world leader to a fricking tee? I found it positively creepy.

A few random thoughts.

My hands are so dry that even the callouses and hangnails have their own callouses and hangnails. There isn't enough moisturizer in the world to bring them back to life. I am now resigned to having old-lady hands for the rest of my days.

There is an empty parking lot directly across the street from our window and as I look out right now, I see a father and a small child of no more than five-years-old playing tennis. Mostly they are just running around but it is cute and properly distanced.

Have you all learned any lessons from the last few weeks? I am amazed at the many progressive ideas that were previously derided as untenable and impossible, that are now being implemented by governments and businesses. That guaranteed basic income is looking pretty good to Canadians right now, isn't it? How about how little you really need to get by? Places of worship have drastically altered their mission statements and have seen an increase in participation. I realize that some of that growth is because people have a lot more time on their hands, but it is fascinating to see what kinds of programs lend themselves to the online world and don't require in-person attendance. I also have been reminded as to how important our teachers and minimum wage earners are to the smooth running of our societies. I've said it before and I'll say it again, pay them all. If you haven't been able to leave your home for a while and aren't doing right by the person delivering your groceries, you need a slap upside your head. We absolutely can afford a fifteen dollar per hour minimum wage. We are proving it every single day right now.

Today's music break comes from Toronto's own Barenaked Ladies. 

Wash your hands. Don't touch your face. Be kind. Stay healthy.

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