Wise Men


            ‘Is this the pandemic that never ends?’ I asked Camp after we both huddled around our beers at our usual table. I was feeling kind of gloomy about the relentless harsh and wet weather, the daily covid statistics and the fact that being boosted doesn’t provide any privileges or special status. And the conservative US Supreme Court has struck down Biden’s vaccine and testing requirement mandates for big business but we’re all forced into mandates by the irresponsible behaviour of a radical, self-serving minority.

            ‘If you would have told me two years ago that we’re at this stage in the pandemic I would have thought you were the worst pessimist ever but here we are.’

            ‘Quebec wants the unvaccinated to pay an additional health tax, Austria is enforcing a vaccine mandate, Germany is thinking about it and Trudeau has given the provinces a green light if they want to implement some sort of compulsive vaccine mandate.’ I said.

             ‘It’s a reaction, not a policy, to the statistics that clearly show that most people hospitalized and having died from the virus were unvaccinated,’ Camp said, shaking his head of grey curls.

            ‘We know now that this Omicron is racing through every country like locust but we also know that only a very small percentage of vaccinated people who get infected will actually need to use health-care resources. Mind you, a small percentage of a massive number of infected people still ends up being a lot of people requiring health care.’

             ‘It will get worse before it gets better but tell that to the frontline workers who have had enough already. Who wants to be a nurse or a doctor in this situation?’

            ‘I read somewhere that in the US 4.5 million people left the workforce in November alone. Early retirement seems to be the main reason. Anybody in their late fifties who has accrued a pension is leaving the work force. Then there are those going back to school and there are millions of jobbers who have no income security and are not part of any statistic. Few and far are the well paid union jobs with pensions.

            ‘And many of the old craftsmen like cabinet makers, stone masons and watch-makers are old and have nobody to follow in their footsteps. It’s almost impossible to find a furniture repair person or somebody to upholster your old chairs or build kitchen cabinets or fix a fire place. It’s easier to find a web designer, cyber guru or wellness coach and you’re right, nobody wants to enter the healthcare world in the midst of a pandemic.’

            ‘One thing we know now. We will probably all get this virus and maybe that will help to blunt its edges and we will also have multiple pills and vaccines at our disposal.’

            ‘And yearly adjusted boosters just like for the flu. I predict that in two years from now we’re in a better place, although in a much more fractured and conservative future.’ 

            ‘And we’ll be two years older and wiser.’

            ‘Not sure about wiser but as we – the boomers – get to that vulnerable old age, we will want to live our dotage in style and comfort with all the accrued wealth and knowledge employed to make our senior days seem ageless. Instead of aging gracefully, we will pretend that age and wellness are just concepts and a state of mind.’

            ‘To deny reality is an acquired skill and to pretend everything is all right when it is clearly not, has always been the privilege of the rich. I for one choose to blunt my vision and drown my sorrows in a couple of pints at the end of the day. Does it solve anything?’

            We looked around for our server which today was Rosie. I finally was able to catch her attention. ‘Would you like a re-fill, luve?’ she asked.

            ‘No, we would like a fresh beer, just like the last one,’ Camp said with a grin.

            ‘You’re a bit of a cheeky devil aren’t you,’ Rosie said, with a wink in my direction.

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