Positives from the pandemic — three years later

Exactly when and how Covid-19 first started is a mystery, but we’re making some definitive progress on figuring it out because in America job No. 1 in any situation is to find somebody to blame. 

Recent analyses by various U.S. government agencies have recently concluded with a low degree of 33 percent certainty that it maybe might have possibly started when a lab assistant at the Wuhan Lab in China picked up a flying fox bat and side of fries from the Wet Market Drive-Thru on his way home from work after meeting with visiting American immunologist Dr. Anthony Fauci, who, coincidentally or not, had been watching a Disney movie with a character of ambiguous sexuality on the flight over.

Or, as Fox News’ Tucker Carlson put it: “I TOLD YOU SO!”

But learning how it started is not the most important lesson to take away from the pandemic that really began taking hold in the United States three years ago this month. Besides, we can’t just assume the Chinese would do something nefarious like covering up a worldwide outbreak’s source. Next you’ll try to convince me the Chinese are spying on us with balloons, frying our teenagers’ brains with TikTok, committing genocide against Uyghurs and supporting Russia’s sadistic invasion of Ukraine. C’mon, man. No one is that evil.

We lost a lot of good folks to that stupid pandemic before we learned to mitigate it by drinking bleach and sitting on flashlights. Yet, even amid all the horrors, we learned a few things — things that we may need some reminding about.

We learned that when folks work from home, the environment tends to like it. Air and water cleared — at least in areas not visited by Norfolk Southern. So, we should encourage more telecommuting. Not only can we possibly save the Earth, but folks like me can work the first half of the day in biz-casual pajama shorts.

We should have learned that our insatiable demand for oil is what causes high prices at the pump. When we stopped driving in 2020, oil prices plunged. In fact, they briefly went below $0 a barrel in April 2020. On the black market, pirates were throwing oil barrels at ships, then boarding the vessels and cramming $100 bills in the captains’ mouths. That led gas prices to dip below $2 a gallon in the U.S. — the only two weeks some “I did that” sticker-slapping folks apparently remember from January 2017 to January 2021.

Businesses discovered that their employees are actually valuable human beings who might want to be paid accordingly — or at least a fair minimum wage. They didn’t actually do anything about it, of course, and instead posted signs on their doors about how no one wants to work anymore and their customers need to be somewhat more patient and slightly less abusive to those workers who did show up.

I learned that not only could I save money by not driving as much, but it also was more economical to pay for one of those services to shop for and then deliver my groceries. Yes, there’s a fee, but it still was less costly than impulsively buying beef jerky on aisle 3 and Extra Toasty Cheez-Its on aisle 5 — even though they’re totally worth it.

Plus, I was able to pause my gym membership, allowing me to save money, time and sweat while staying just as fat. I may have been a healthier fat guy when I went to the gym, though, so I’ve compromised in this post-Covid era by restarting my gym membership but not actually going — saving sweat, if not money.

My point is that behind every dark cloud is a big ol’ lightning bolt just waiting to strike you in the butt while you’re trying to see the silver lining. And if you wait too long to find the positives in a bad situation, they just might pass you by and be forgotten forever.

What do you think about this?