There’s a virus spreading around the world, and it actually scares me. Not many things scare me anymore. It’s not that I’m afraid of getting sick or even of dying. I’ve come to terms with my own mortality. This virus scares me because it is affecting even people who may never actually catch the virus, and in serious and life-changing ways, and no amount of preparation can distance us from it.
Ours is a culture that has moved into an age of excessive consumerism. People are living a lifestyle of perpetual debt in order to have the latest iPhone with the fastest data plan so that they can escape their real life for a few moments into the fantasy world of their choosing. I understand the appeal; I’ve long been a fan of role-playing video games since I got my Commodore Vic 20. Also, modern life can get messy and complicated. Some days it is good just to close those curtains on life and just follow the endless stream of entertainment; whether it’s chasing after invisible Pokemon characters or binge watching series on Netflix. Seriously, look at the stress everyone is under, worried that they may lose their job which means they won’t be able to pay the bills to keep that endless stream of fantasy world distractions coming, so they keep on going at a job they hate out of fear of losing it, then poof, their worst fear just happened! It literally just happened. Okay, so they get employment insurance, or the government gives them money to help them out, but suddenly they realize they don’t have any food and the toilet paper ran out. That day-to-day lifestyle left no room to stockpile a pantry, which would be considered a luxury in today’s ever-shrinking homes. So they go to the store, but guess what, some cunt bought up all of the toilet paper, and not just from this store, but from every store, so now they got to buy their toilet paper through these hoarders at greatly inflated prices. That money they’ll eventually get from the government is less than they used to earn, and the things they need just got more expensive. So then they learn they’d better stockpile on the things they can, and so does everybody else, putting even greater strain on a supply chain that’s already been slowed down due to the new social distancing and extraordinary sanitation measures that are taking place. Then consider some manufacturers turning their efforts to manufacturing much-needed medical supplies, and shortages start to appear in other places, then before you know it people are stock-piling women’s hair dye to sell at many times the cost for an excessive profit. But then I realize it gets even worse than that. Those people who are upset over the profiteers with their toilet paper and hair dye are the lucky ones, because for many people, that isn’t even going to matter when they have no food to eat.
People are going to lose their homes. People are going to be driven into homeless shelters. In those homeless shelters, this Covid 19 will continue to spread, they will catch it and maybe die. Other people at the brink will see this, and since their world of endless fantasy entertainment is about to end, they will be forced to come to terms with their real life. They will realize the system is going to fail them, and they could end up dying the worst death imaginable. Then they will see no other option than to turn on those of us who had the sense to keep money in the bank and food in the pantry, but to them we will look like the hoarders, which will embolden them; if not that, then the alcohol surely will, as the Beer Store and LCBO are still considered “Essential Services.” I’m already seeing the fractures forming. People getting into fights in lines at stores. People driving a little too recklessly. But the last thing we want is to end up in a hospital, because that’s going to be the place where the risk of contracting Covid-19 will be at its worst. That’s if you’re fortunate enough to even get the medical attention you may need.
As for me, my wife and I have both been laid off, but we’ll be okay. My web server is just a cheap little Raspberry Pi 3 connected to my home Internet, and I don’t spend my money on the fastest Internet or the latest trendy gadgets, finding my value in life by creating my own things. We keep food in our pantry, but we’ve always done this because I see how much of our food is imported and I understand the delicate balance that makes up international trade can too easily be upset creating disruptions. But you see, my own life is still a balance that exists in this system; no matter how much food I might stockpile, there is a law of diminishing returns in that the longer I might need a stockpile for, the less likely am I to return to a society as good as the one we have now. I’m not saying our current society is perfect. Far from it. I’m perfectly aware of the corruption of what we have now; however, I’m also aware that things have, on a whole, gotten better. Things can get a lot worse. At least in the current system, we’re free to stock food in a pantry. We’re also free not to. We’re free to choose what food we eat or stockpile; if some of us don’t like meat, we don’t have to eat meat. We can hold ourselves to religious beliefs that might prohibit us from eating certain foods, but that is still our freedom to choose that belief. Even if one argues rightly that it is our parents that choose our religion, we are mostly free to leave that religion if it becomes too abusive. These freedoms are only possible in a society such as ours. We need to continue to build it in the progression that makes things better for us all, leaving nobody behind.
At a time like this, I think the answer is clear. Each of us needs to be a little more selfless. To recognize that now isn’t the time to be getting rich or taking advantage of other people. To have a little more tolerance for how others are behaving. To let the economy have a vacation from us for a little while. At the end of the day, it’s just money, and that money is worthless in a society where luxuries like hair dye and toilet paper were the first to go.