Thoughts from the ammo line

Ammo Grrrll ABBY NORMAL TIMES. She writes:

One of Mr. AG’s and my favorite movies is Young Frankenstein. As fans remember, the Frankenstein experiment went off the rails because of the inadvertent introduction into the corpse of a brain marked “Abby Normal.” Hilarity ensues.

Mother had long ago drummed into me how dramatically the world can change overnight. She was in what was called “Normal School” (Teachers’ College) on December 7, 1941. Students were studying, arranging dates, listening to the radio in their dorms, when, suddenly, they learned that Pearl Harbor had been attacked and the country was at war. She told us that the next day there was not a male on campus. Abby Normal had arrived in Normal School. 9/11 was a very pale imitation of that, and the impact petered out all too quickly, particularly with regard to a brief flurry of bipartisan patriotism. But, that was the closest we had come in my life to that seminal event that “lived in infamy.” Until now.

One short month ago today, life was still mostly normal. Our son and his family had caught the budget redeye back to Minnesota from a four-day visit to the Dusty Little Village. We had attended three Spring Training games with thousands of other fans; we had gone on a leisurely sight-seeing cruise on Canyon Lake with dozens of other people; we had stopped on the way home at a cheesy tourist trap “ghost town,” which, sadly, was not an actual ghost town but was filled with mediocre, overpriced food and worse entertainment. And hundreds of other people, cheek by jowl.

It all seems like a fevered dream now. Within a couple of days, sports were over and such outings would not just be unthinkable, but impossible. Abby Normal Time was upon us.

Seven days from that family outing to Canyon Lake, I started monitoring the New York Times map of the COVID19 disaster. On March 15, there were 3,487 confirmed cases of the virus and 62 deaths. Arizona had but 18 cases, with no deaths. And, as I write this on April 6, we passed 300,000 known cases nationally, and the Death Odometer turned over into 5 figures. Arizona has 2000 known cases now with some 65 deaths, which was the total for the whole country on March 15. You can talk all you want about the 30,000 yearly traffic deaths, for example, but they do not all occur in March. It is a definite shock to the system.

How to cope? For most sane people, we are hunkering down, vowing to “prep” better next time, wearing our masks and keeping our distance, checking in on far-flung loved ones and friends, sending each other cheery videos and memes, and trying not to snarl at housemates.

Saw a meme on a favorite commenter’s Facebook page: “As we end week 3 of the lockdown, I’ve been thinking about Osama Bin Laden. He was stuck in his house with 3 wives for 5 years. I’m beginning to wonder if he called in those Navy Seals himself.”

We have the saints among us who are putting themselves in harm’s way to keep the rest of us going – the truck drivers, grocery stockers, the clerks and cashiers on the frontlines, not even to speak of the medical personnel, far too many of whom have paid with their lives.

But there are the little things, too. In our Gated Geezer complex, the owners of golf carts decorate them, and fill them with pets, or music, and parade around at 5 p.m. on Sunday nights, waving and lifting the spirits of their neighbors. It’s a little thing, but it matters.

One of the things I dislike the most about the stupid masks we wear outside now is that nobody can tell if you’re smiling. I didn’t realize how much it meant to me to be able to smile at people and – almost always – get one in return. In addition, before I put my mask on, I had put a Peppermint Altoid (“curiously strong”) into my mouth. My breath steamed up my sunglasses and almost fried my eyeballs! Your tip for the day. Don’t do that.

So that’s what the sane people are doing. And the insane? (Stupid, evil, or crazy? – you be the judge. Is there a material difference?) Victor Davis Hanson had his usual excellent column on what the top Democrats are doing – which is sniping without respite at the Commander in Chief right in the middle of this alleged “war.” VDH kind of raided my brain again and stole many of the things I was going to say about Pelosi in particular. Now I am going to have to find another occasion to use “infected pustule on the posterior of the body politic.”

My mother was a Minnesota sports fan loyalist of the highest order. She would never boo or criticize or do anything but cheer on her beloved Twins, Vikings and Timberwolves. Daddy would drive her crazy by sniping at every decision on every play, especially in football. He actually believed that every single down should result in unbridled success, if not a touchdown. Once, he tried to compare it to his own profession: “Why, I never failed to do my job and fill a prescription correctly!” and Mama had to remind him, “Yes, but you didn’t have a 300 lb man whose sole job was to PREVENT you from filling it correctly!” Point taken.

It has been my experience in a long life that there are doers, and there are critics, with very little overlap. Whether it’s a PTA bake sale, a theater production, or trying to save as many of your fellow Americans as possible from a Chi-Com pandemic, there is a small group of people taking the responsibility, making the tough decisions, trying to listen to a variety of “experts” (who invariably are all over the map and working from wrong or incomplete data), and there are the nitpicking and contradictory snipers, blamers, and attention junkies.

President Trump has worked tirelessly with what he had to rely on, from Day One. In the time frame in which the despicable Democrats now shriek that he should have been DOING SOMETHING, he was being impeached. Had he done anything, it would have been called “just a distraction” or “wag the dog.” There is a popular saying in Israel, “zeh mah yesh,” which means “This is what IS.” It’s not ideal; it’s not what we would have preferred, it is what we have to work with; it is WHAT IS. Sober, mature, adults deal with that reality, not pie-in-the-sky fantasy.

The Israeli saying, by the way, ends with “vim ze, nenatseach.” “And with this, we will win.” Who will help us win and depart from Abby Normal? One thing I know for absolute sure: the mental midgets and emotional spoiled brats — Nancy Pelosi, Cher, AOC, Rob Reiner, Nadler, Schiff, Acosta, Maddow — will not find a vaccine or produce a single working ventilator or deliver one roll of toilet paper to the grocery shelves or figure out if the anti-malarial drug cocktail will save lives. ALL they will do is carp, obstruct, snipe, delay and grandstand while the grownups, led by the indefatigable President Trump and his team, carry on. Pray for his success. Happy Passover and Happy Easter to our commenters and readers. Stay well.

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