From the Left



The virus affects us in petty little ways

Marc Munroe Dion on

The French philosopher Pascal said that human beings are so easy to comfort because we are so easy to afflict.

Big deal. So, I went to college.

Still, the columnist who begins a column with a quote or paraphrases from someone you've never heard of establishes himself as intellectually superior from the git go, just as he can lay claim to being one of the common folk by using the phrase "git go."

As a species, we do get afflicted, bothered or irritated mighty easily, something I've seen a lot of during the COVID-19 outbreak and its big pile of closings and regulations.

Oh, sure, the virus is big stuff. I'd give the number of dead in the U.S., but it'll change before this column makes print (or makes the internet). It's a big number, nearly twice the number of soldiers we lost in Vietnam and, like the Vietnam War, COVID-19 has produced a number of street demonstrations. In both cases, the demonstrations expressed a simple desire to make the whole thing go away. The Vietnam War, of course, never went away, and it's dead never came back to life. This may well be the case with COVID-19.

Because I have to do something besides work and shelter in place, I've started to pay attention to how much we all miss our petty little comforts.


I love to eat breakfast in diners. The ham. The eggs. The waitress. The potatoes. The greasy smell. The guys sitting next to me at the counter. I love it all.

The diners are closed where I live, and that petty little fact is the one that pokes me. Sure, I could die, but what I think of most is the fact that I haven't eaten pancakes in a storefront restaurant for many weeks.

My wife, Deborah, a hardheaded ex-newspaper reporter who recently became a Realtor, is pining for a professional haircut.

"It's just breaking off," she says, sadly peering at the ends of her long, yellow hair. She misses coffee at her favorite herbal tea and birdseed muffins place, too.


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