Not The Time For Hoosiers To Relax

by Curt Kovener

Festering uneasiness across the country is underscored by the growing numbers of new cases of coronavirus, especially across the sun belt and western states. Arizona, Texas, California, Florida and the Carolinas are among the new hot spots. Emerging cases in those places alone reveal the truth about the current state of the COVID-19 public health crisis.
Overall, the U.S. has seen record levels of more than 50,000 new cases per day last week. The death toll has risen to 130,000-plus with more than 3 million total cases registered since the pandemic reached American shores earlier this year.
Hoosiers can take some comfort in knowing that neither their state nor surrounding states are part of the new coronavirus mix. There are reasons for that. People throughout the Midwest did the hard work in recent months to keep the spread of the virus under control.
By & large we made sacrifices, followed rules and guidelines, and showed respect for their neighbors.
But that story could be changing. The state has seen increases in cases the past two weeks and deaths are now approaching 2,600. Total cases exceed 51,000 and are increasing.
Jackson and Scott Counties have managed to avoid becoming a hot spot, although total cases continue to climb. As of this writing, Jackson County is up to 478 cases with 3,885 people tested for a higher than state average (9.2%) of 12.3%. Jackson County has had three deaths.
Scott County has reported 164 cases with testing 2,675 residents for a below state average of 6.1%. However, nine people have died in Scott County.
Indiana is on the brink of a complete reopening. Gov. Eric Holcomb postponed the full reopening and for the most part kept the state at status quo until later this month. That was a wise move.
States that are suffering severe spikes in cases now attribute the resurgence of the virus mostly to reopening too soon and taking a lax approach to addressing the threat at the start.
Closing wide swaths of the state’s economy was a difficult exercise and will have long-term negative effects on people, communities and institutions. But for the sake of public health, it was the right thing to do. Given time, Indiana will recover from the economic fallout. In the meantime, people’s health must remain the first priority.
We understand the urge to get back to business as usual. But now is not the time to retreat from the battle against the spread of COVID-19.
We must continue to take care of each other and minimize risks. The coronavirus is still very much in our midst and will take whatever opportunities it gets to infect more of us.
Everyone can play a role by wearing masks in public, avoiding large gatherings and washing their hands.
The prescription remains the same and has helped Indiana maintain some semblance of coronavirus control.
Don’t stop now.

These Days Are Hard: Some Like Diamonds, Some Like Stone

by Curt Kovener

We all are having those times in our lives (particularly now) when sometimes we’re the windshield and sometimes we’re the bug. Or as one of my editorial colleagues said, “I feel like a fireplug and everyone around me are dogs.”
There was a story about a farmer who, after harvesting his crop of potatoes and had them in his wagon to take to market, reigned his horse across the bumpiest fields and roughest, wash-boarded roads on his way to sell his potatoes.
When he got to the market he got top price and was complimented on the size of his potatoes.
It seems he knew that, whether it is marketing a crop or dealing with life, during rough times the big potatoes rise to the top.
It’s easy to have a pity party when the times are difficult. But it is better to be philosophical and embrace the universal truth ”this too shall pass”.
So contemplate on these life thoughts, hang on to them, and use them for those times when you feel like a statue and everyone around you are pigeons.
•When you reach the end of your rope, tie a knot & hang one.
•Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.
•Pain & suffering are inevitable but misery is optional.
•A good exercise for the heart is to bend down and help another up.
•Life is what you want to make out of it…kinda like Play-Doh.
•The bubbling brook would lose its song if you removed the rocks.
•Happiness comes through doors you didn’t even know you left open.
•Everything is always okay in the end. If it’s not, then it’s not the end.
•If all your friends jumped off a cliff, don’t jump with them. Be at the bottom to catch them.
•Here is a test to find whether your mission on earth is finished: If you’re alive, it isn’t.

Declare Your Independence From Coronavirus? Better Think Again

by Curt Kovener

As Indiana continues its “Back on Track” phased reopening, as people resume activities that were stopped after shutdown orders took effect, it’s worth stating the obvious.
The coronavirus is still with us. And that we can’t afford to ignore that reality.
It’s understandable that people are frustrated and tired of being shut in, that they’re anxious to regain a sense of normalcy. But throwing caution to the wind— by not wearing masks in public, by ignoring physical distancing, by disregarding the advice of health officials— could jeopardize all that was gained during months spent in self-quarantine.
There are cautionary tales all around us if we care to look. In at least half a dozen states that have reopened — Arizona, Florida, Texas, Arkansas and both of the Carolinas — and the number of cases there are rising.
So far, with some geographic pockets of exceptions, Indiana’s COVID-19 deaths and new cases has stabilized…at least of this writing.
Good for us and applause to those who have been socially distant, washing your hands and wearing your masks. Keep up the good practices because, and we all need to remember this Yogi Berra quote “It ain’t over until it’s over.”
And it won’t be over until there is a vaccine.
It is likely that the virus has slowed in Indiana due to our collective efforts to be safer, engage in social distancing, and reduce transmission by wearing masks and adhering to higher hand- and surface-hygiene standards. This was an example of Hoosiers successfully hunkering down during the initial outbreak.”
But we can prune the inevitable increases by doing what medical professionals advise.
And as we celebrate the nation’s birthday this Saturday, don’t act like college students on spring break. And if you like to fly that Revolutionary War era yellow Gadsen flag with a coiled timber rattlesnake proclaiming “Don’t Tread On Me” remember that the Coronavirus will tread on whoever it damn well wants. Your constitutional rights mean nothing to a virus for which there is no vaccine or cure.
We’re all tired of being cooped up, but let your guard down, even for a brief time, and you could be helping increase the number of those infected in the state.
We need to continue taking a cautious approach, listening to health officials —and acknowledging that the coronavirus hasn’t gone away.

Doctor, Doctor, I Have A Painful Pun

by Curt Kovener

It seems that a hypothetical hospital wanted to expand their building. When a group of doctors were asked to contribute to the construction of the new wing:
•allergists voted to scratch it;
•dermatologists preferred no rash moves;
•gastroenterologists has a gut feeling about it;
•neurologists thought the administration had a lot of nerve;
•obstetricians said they were laboring under a misconception;
•pediatricians wanted the administration to grow up;
•ophthalmologists considered the idea short-sighter;
•orthopedists issued a joint statement;
•pathologists thought it was a dead issue;
•proctologists said they were financially in arrears;
•radiologists could see right through the plan;
•pharmacists thought it was a hard pill to swallow;
•podiatrists thought it was a big step forward;
•urologists felt the plan wouldn’t hold water;
•anesthesiologists thought the idea was a gas;
•cardiologists didn’t have the heart to say no;
•otologists were deaf to the idea.
So the new wing didn’t fly.

Thoughts On Our Current Times From Those Of The Past

by Curt Kovener

I recently stumbled across a quote by Frederick Douglass, “Between the Christianity of this land and the Christianity of Christ, I recognize the widest possible difference.” It seems appropriate for these current times so I reflected on two other great orators for their thoughts.
“Never forget that everything Hitler did in Germany was legal.”
“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”
“Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.”
“A nation that continues to produce soft-minded men purchases its own spiritual death on the installment plan.”
“The time is always right to do the right thing.”
“We may have all come on different ships, but we are in the same boat now.”
Those are from the wisdom on Martin Luther King Jr. in my book of quotations. The next chapter contains thoughts from Abraham Lincoln.
“You cannot escape the responsibility of tomorrow by evading it today.”
“I am inclined to silence, and whether that be wise or not, it is at least more unusual nowadays to find a man who can hold his tongue than to find one who cannot.”
“Public sentiment is everything. With public sentiment, nothing can fail; without it nothing can succeed.”
“No man has a good enough memory to be a successful liar.”
“You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you cannot fool all of the people all of the time.”

Don’t Blame Me, Life Made Me That Way

In light of social distancing, fun-times cancellations, the mental and emotional anxiety caused by coronavirus, perhaps it is time again for a column of real-life(?) lightheartedness(?) and observations from my caustic desk calendar.
•Better grab your dumbrella. It’s really stupid out there today.
•There’s that awkward moment when you’re wearing Nikes and find you just can’t do it.
•Whenever I fee the need to exercise, I lie down until the feeling passes.
•The president suggests we sip disinfectant to kill coronavirus. I say we should eat makeup so we can all be pretty on the inside too.
•People sometimes say “You’ll regret that in the morning,” so I sleep until noon because I’m not a problem solver.
•This ‘new normal’ we deal with doesn’t sound fun at all.
•Some people are like clouds. When they disappear, it’s a beautiful day!
•Deja Poo: the feeling you have heard all of this crap before.
•Some things are better left unsaid…which we realize right after we’ve said them.
•My kid is turning out just like me. Well played, karma, well played.
•Alexa: skip to Friday
•Mirrors can’t talk. Lucky for you they can’t laugh either.
•Perhaps we should all be thankful that spiders and snakes don’t fly.
•My neighbor’s diary says I have boundary issues.
•If Facebook has taught us anything, it’s that a lot of people aren’t quite ready for a spelling bee.
•Your decision-making skills closely resemble a squirrel when crossing the street.
•Life is not a fairy tale. If you lose your shoe at midnight, you’re drunk.
•It’s an aging thing: I came, I saw, and I forgot what I was doing.
•In my defense, I was left unsupervised.