College student.

A college student must pass through grade school, middle school, and high school. That’s a whole lot of schools. Then the student must pass some sort of admittance exam before a university of higher learning will accept them.

One would think that a student who makes it through these education gauntlets would have the sense to pour “piss out of a boot.”

But that is not always the case.

There have been a ton of recent stories reported in the media about college openings, mass gatherings, unmasked partying, increased Covid infections, and college closings.

During one of these news reports, a college student (a supporter of mass partying) gave a sound bite to a reporter that the Covid pandemic is a “hoax.”

Nearly 180,000 people dead and more than five million people infected and this moron had the audacity to not only tell the world but the parents paying for his college education that the Covid pandemic is a “hoax.”

I wondered how his parents felt: it cost them somewhere between $20,000 and $40,000 to underwrite his education only to have him embarrass them with a “hoax” sound bite that messaged his idiocy to the entire world.

I feel more than certain that the student’s daddy felt much like Sheriff Buford T. Justice did toward his son in Smokey and the Bandit—that boy “did not come from my loins.”

It doesn’t bother me if a person pursues stupidity as a way of life. I live by the tenet that every person has a right to go to hell in their own way.

But to call a pandemic that has killed nearly 180,000 people and infected more than five million—many of whom will take years to fully recover—a hoax is beyond the pale. It is so offensive that it defies all bounds of social decency.

America has become the “first” nation to express its “greatness” by having a significant portion of its population actually believe that the Covid pandemic is a “hoax.” No other point in history when the world has suffered from a pandemic did people call the plague killing them by the millions a “hoax.”

I’m sure most of these pandemic “hoaxers” also believe in the QAnon Conspiracy.

They also probably believe in the Moon Landing Conspiracy; that NASA is a lie; and that the earth is flat.

Forget politics for a moment.

Think only about the hoaxer college student and the number of people he is likely to infect, and ultimately kill, through his irresponsible and negligent actions. Think about the physical pain before possible death or at the very least the physical pain associated with the slow recovery process from the Covid virus that the individuals he infects will experience because of his “hoax” belief.

The government can legitimately be criticized for its incompetent, delusional, and partisan political response to the Covid pandemic.

But the bottom line is this: most of the nearly 180,000 people who have died are victims of the hoaxer idiocy. Irresponsible people, like the college student, killed these people with negligent, borderline criminal behavior that had absolutely nothing to do with “my rights.”

The tragedy is the hoaxer college student is too amoral and stupid to comprehend the social impact of his behavior.

But there is a real possibility, if you believe in the law of karma, that this same college student, gasping for air and feeling a searing pain eat away at his insides, will hoarsely whisper from his ICU bed, “please help me, doctor … I thought it was a hoax” before he closes his eyes for the last time.



America has always been torn at its seam by ideological, cultural and racial divisions.

In the 1770s, as the “spirit of ‘76” percolated, there were roughly 2.5 million colonists in America. They were bitterly divided over loyalty to the Crown and loyalty to the “spirit of ’76.”

Even after the Revolutionary War broke out, the nation remained divided—those willing to fight and those unwilling to fight.

By 1778, the Centennial Army was losing the war, and would have lost the war had it not been for a 5,000 man battalion of freed African-American slaves who came to the rescue and proved to be the “best” fighters in the war. The Founding Fathers may have drafted the Bill of Rights but it was the Fighting Brothers who saved the “spirit of ’76.”

It was racial divisions that led to the bloodiest conflict in American history: the Civil War which claimed at least 600,000 lives.

It was the land-stealing expansion westward after the Civil War that created forever divisions among the “white man” and Native-Americans.

It was racial divisions that led to the creation of the Ku Klux Klan, midnight lynchings, and Jim Crow laws.

It was the greed of the Robber Barons that created the forever divisions between “labor and business” in this country—unbridled business capitalism versus decent wage-earning populism.

Americans were bitterly divided over whether to enter World Wars I & II—with many prominent American business and industrial leaders supporting Adolf Hitler.

Americans were embroiled in bloody divisions over the civil rights movement—a movement that simply wanted to extend basic human rights to a segregated people; a movement that was met with beatings, lynchings, murders, and church bombings.

The Vietnam War divided the young and old throughout America—with the old expecting the young to fight and die for their political ideology.

And today America is once again divided: does the individual right to not wear a mask exceed the need of group to have public safety; should America reopen the economy or stay at home; should Americans be forced to work in dangerous, unhealthy, and Covid infected meat-producing plants to keep the “food chain” going?

All these questions have bitterly divided Americans during its worst-ever social crisis. People in the streets are protesting with AR-15s and Confederate flags; governors are threatening people who refuse to work in death dens; and literally thousands of elderly nursing home patients and inmates are dying in relative obscurity and indifference from the nation’s political leaders

More than 60,000 have died in less than two months from the Covid pandemic; and upwards of a 100,000 more will die before year’s end—more deaths from the pandemic than any other nation in the world, and Americans are now being told that this is “a great success story.”

As the “spirit of ‘76” was sown with divisions so will the “response of 2020” be sown with divisions.

And in the midst of all the pressures born of the social, political and most certainly medical divisions now ravaging America, Manhattan emergency room doctor Lorna Breen took her own life. She had enough. She could no longer bear the weight of these pressures. She walked away from life because she had no more life left to give.

And all Americans should be ashamed.

In varying degrees, in one way or another, we are all responsible for Dr. Breen’s death—it was our ideological, political and racial divisions that created the nation’s shameful government response to the Covid pandemic.

So, here we are, folks: there are now calls that old people should march to the front lines of the Great Covid War and die so the young can go to beauty salons and the ball parks.

That is the new measure of “success” in this country today.


Old folks; Colored folks

The Covid 19 virus has ravaged the nation’s elderly population, especially those in nursing homes, and people of color, particularly those residing in lower income communities.

Some U.S. Senators, Congressmen, governors (mostly in the so-called “red” states), local officials, and a host of Looney-bin pundits taking a break from the Tiger King have peddled the notion that the economy is more important than human life.

The notion that rescuing the nation’s faltering economy is more important than saving lives from the Covid pandemic presupposes that the economy is fueled by a younger, more vigorous generation,

This nation, and its free market economy, exists because of the wisdom, experience, and human decency of the older generation.

Youth unchecked by wisdom is as useless as “tits on a boar hog,” as my grandpa use to say.

Youth, standing on its own two legs, guided by its own developing instincts, tends to be foolish, and too often dangerous. Age, and the maturity it brings to the table, is as essential to both a safe society and a thriving economy, as tires are to a motor vehicle.

Youth may be the GPS in an F-150 but it is age that is the motor of the truck.

I guarantee one thing: that truck is not going anywhere without a motor.

And while I may be overreaching here, I have a pet theory about the increasing volume of calls to “reopen the economy” after it became known through media reports that people of color represent a disproportionate number of the Covid deaths, especially since most of the folks making these calls are white and generally come from the politically conservative community.

Roughly, 80 percent of the people who contract the Covid virus survive it relatively unscathed while the remaining 20 percent suffer more serious medical consequences, particularly if they are aged 80 or older and are people of color.

There are a significant number of people who really don’t care of these folks die for whatever reason—some of them recently gathered en masse at a Michigan rally where they demanded that the governor reopen the economy while waving their Nazi and Confederate flags, shaking hands, and slapping each other on the back.

Granted, most of the people issuing “reopen the economy” calls do not fall into this hate-driven class of idiots, but they are driven by this draconian ideology: the loss of 50,000 or 100,000 or one million lives is okay so long as the local bar and Nascar race track remain open.

These “reopen the economy” folks believe pretty much what conservative talk show host Bill O’Reilly recently expressed—that people succumbing to the Covid virus are on their last leg in life so they are really expendable in order for the rest of society to see what the Patriots can do without Tom Brady.

It comes down to this: money over human lives. That has always been the driving force of capitalism. It’s always been loosely described as “profit before people.”

Decent people believe, and thank God for them, that both the economy and lives can be saved at the same time; that people in this country can have their Popeye chicken sandwiches without stacking the bodies of nursing home patients in a closet.

This nation has both a moral and social obligation to take care of the most vulnerable among us while simultaneously preserving the political necessity to get the economy reopened.

And if this nation lacks the courage to accept these moral and social obligations, then those hate-driven folks waving the Nazi and Confederate flags will soon own this nation.



The Covid 19 virus claims an American life roughly every 9.5 minutes. Today or tomorrow more than 10,000 will have succumbed to the virus.

That’s a lot of death whose tentacles reach out across a wide spectrum of Americans with grief and other tragic consequences. There’s no way to minimize, much less rationalize, the personal and community harm this deadly virus has inflicted and will continue to inflict upon America.

But with the specter (and fear) of death lingering over the American landscape, there is a need for a world view perspective about the ravages, and, yes, the unfairness of death.

One in four children in Africa will not reach the age of 15 and one in ten will be claimed by death before the age of five.

In 2018, UNICEF reported that an estimate 6.5 million children worldwide died before the age of 15—or roughly 1 child every five seconds. An estimated 5.4 million of these children died before the age of five with newborns representing half of those deaths.

Worse yet, UNICEF reported that 56 million children under the age of five will die before 2030 with half of them being newborns.

80 percent of the 2017 child deaths occurred in two regions of the world: sub-Saharan Africa and Southern Asia.

These children died from lack of access to clean water, sanitation, proper nutrition and basic health services—conditions that are incubators for bacteria, disease, viruses, and a host of other causes of death.

If a child was dying every five seconds in America, would we call it a pandemic?

There is no fair or reasonable answer to this question, especially in a time when a “virus crisis” is crippling the nation.

But it should create a pause for perspective.

Covid 19 is lethal, no doubt about that – but it is the fear the virus produces that is worse than the prospect of death itself. The virus kills in a slow, gripping, crippling sort of way—one can only hope that the supply of morphine is readily available to ease the process of death. “Comfort care,” it is called.

Still, in the back of my mind, there lingers the image of a child—bloated stomach, skin and bones, and worse, eyes that are vacant and lost—to put this “crisis” in perspective. The sub-Saharan African mother will indescribably grieve over the passing of her child, and for all the pre-death misery the child endured. And no one will call it a crisis.

None of us will get out of this world alive.

But, with so many images and stories of death surrounding us as we isolate in the comfort of our homes, a little perspective is in order.

We’re not the only ones suffering from the rigors of death.


The Legacy

“Your mother will not be coming home, Son,” Father speaks. “She never regained consciousness last night. She belongs to the unknown now.”

“You and the generation before you, Father, gave us this nightmare,” Son replies. “This will forever be your legacy for all time.”

Father removes his head from his palms, staring off into the early dusk from the porch. He picks up Thomas Wolfe’s book, “You Can’t Go Home Again,” and turns to the page that his Father once read to him.

“Son, let me read to you what Thomas Wolfe wrote to my Father’s generation,” Father says.

“Child, child, have patience and belief, for life is many days, and each present hour will pass away. Son, son, you have been mad and drunken, furious and wild, filled with hatred and despair, and all the dark confusions of the soul – but so have we. You found the earth too great for your one life, you found your brain and sinew smaller than the hunger and desire that fed on them – but it has been this way with all men. You have stumbled on in darkness, you have been pulled in opposite directions, you have faltered, you have missed the way, but, child, this is the chronicle of the earth. And now, because you have known madness and despair, and because you will grow desperate again before you come to evening, we who have stormed the ramparts of the furious earth and been hurled back, we who have been maddened by the unknowable and bitter mystery of love, we who have hungered after fame and savored all of life, the tumult, pain, and frenzy, and now sit quietly by our windows watching all that henceforth never more shall touch us – we call upon you to take heart, for we can swear to you that these things pass.”

Son stares at his broken Father, that familiar wisp of hair casting a shadow over his furrowed brow.

“The broken heart of Mother being gone will never pass, Father,” Son says. “Some wounds heal and scar – others never heal. The sins of this Pandemic will leave wounds beyond healing – and they will be the legacy of your generation, Father.”

Father looks up at Son. He stares deep into the soul of the Son’s wounds.

“It may be the legacy of my generation that we indeed made the storms now tearing our lives apart,” Father says, pausing. “But it will be the legacy of your generation that you did not heed the warnings of the storms approaching.”

COVID 19 will be a terrible legacy for all of mankind—those who made it, those who ignored it, and those who mocked it.

Father turns away.

Pictures on the big-screen television show dead bodies being loaded into a refrigerated 18-wheeler. The bodies will be laid side-by-side before being stacked.

Those images will never pass, not in Father or Son’s lifetimes.

So, where do we go from here?

We survive.

Until the end.