Let me begin today with a joke since they’re scarce these days …
A Canadian teacher, a Scottish pilot and a Puerta Rican lawyer walk into a bar …
They are all female. They sit 1.5 metres apart.
One asks for a drink and the other two decline her offer of a shout. Why?
Answer: the teacher is deaf, the pilot is blind, and the lawyer speaks in legalese.
Yes, there’s been a bit of pressure from my being stuck in a hotel room (and never once the bar) for a week – but I’m hoping I’ve remained sane … Hoping for personal reasons, you’d understand, but also because it’s a guinea pig situation and since everyone is now in some degree of isolation, I’d hate to think that many people were suffering mentally from the amount of uncertainty that pervades the governmental measures that are being taken to combat coronavirus.
So – here I am trying to mix a bit of humour with a serious and complex social crisis. What I would like to do, just as a test of my clarity of thinking, is to point out what I see as a series of examples of muddled thinking by a few leading political and social leaders. And to find out whether you think I’ve lost it, or there is a whole lot of confused or even contradictory thinking and talking going on out there …
1. Remember back when we were asked to get in some stores because the pandemic might last months and we might need them? It wasn’t long before we were being chastised for hoarding, being told we were ‘un-Australian’! Sure, you can go too far – and hiring a bus to take you to a country town to buy up all their scarce groceries was a disgrace. No question. Now I’m just hoping we can all find a happy medium in buying enough stocks to see us through hard times ahead.
2. Masks – first it was recommended we buy them, along with gloves and hand sanitiser, then they were sold out in supermarkets and pharmacies, and health workers were short of these essential items. And I do believe they are essential in caring for coronavirus patients. Then, within a week or two, we were being told that they weren’t useful, and even possibly dangerous if we handled them too much. Finally, despite a statement from the World Health Organisation, controversy on the subject remains.
When it comes down to it, we all have to be careful about where we put our hands: on goods, on mobiles, on other people and on our own faces. And careful about how close we come to others or allow others to come to us, and that’s certainly not close enough to breathe on strangers or even loved ones, in many cases. It takes a serious approach to social interaction, so let’s leave out the judgements about whether it’s right or wrong to wear masks and gloves.