This too shall pass.

That’s what everyone keeps saying, at least. Of course, folks fail to mention that its passage will be as smooth and comfortable as, say, a kidney stone. Besides, no one knows with absolute, scientific certainty that it will indeed someday be over.

Of course, we have to believe this isn’t the way the world will end. How anticlimactic would that be for the folks who’ve spent their lives expecting fire, brimstone and giant crevices opening in the earth’s crust to swallow sinners whole?

At least that’s got some drama — certainly more than a world filled with people staying indoors and sacrificing their sight to smartphone screens while wearing surgical masks (or perhaps, due to continuing supply shortages, welding or snorkel masks). We’ve gotta go out with more style and drama than that. But don’t get me wrong, I don’t think it’ll come to that.

Speaking of style, we officially have none when it comes to the new healthy, but awkward, “elbow bump” that’s replaced Western culture’s traditional handshake. Perhaps we’ll get better at this, although I do hope this nightmare ends before that silly looking, half-funky chicken dance takes hold and becomes the norm.

Again, think of the optics. We look like a bunch of chuckleheads every time we encounter someone: Half-turn left, half-turn right, start over, half-step backward, laugh awkwardly and eventually make contact with the other person’s funny bone while repeating the same social cliches that quickly develop in times like this.  

I know, I know, public health, not outward appearance, is the worldwide priority, as it should be.

So please don’t email me while you’re in the throes of some hysterical hissy fit over the severity of the situation, the threat we all face and the dangers of contagion. I get that. I really do. 

But I also know, if we all can’t take a step back occasionally and find some levity in otherwise weighty circumstances, we’ll all eventually go crazy. Of course, based on some of the things I’ve been reading all week, some of us are already on the edge, just one online comment from being forced into one of those strappy, white, I-love-me jackets. 

Yes, thousands of people have died. Yes, many more will become sick before we flatten this infamous curve and yes, this is quickly becoming as much a financial crisis as a public health threat.

But we’ve got this, Florida Keys. We do. We’ll get through this. We’ve recovered from citywide fires, hurricanes, oil spills, economic downturns and a host of other challenges. 

Granted, this one is unprecedented. 

But we shine in the worst of times. It’s when things are going well that we turn on each other. 

So hang in there, Key West. Help someone in need. Tip your delivery person well. And for God’s sakes, work on the elbow bump. It’s just embarrassing.

 

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