Signs Of The Times

Okay. I’ll admit it. I’m more than a little concerned about our country these days. It appears that the USA is circling the toilet bowel, waiting for Trump or one of his lackeys to pull the handle.

Need evidence of this?

Well, Congress continues to dither over a financial relief package, despite the death and suffering that the virus has caused for millions of Americans.

The Russians apparently have the ability to wage a massive cyber attack on the USA, putting at risk everything from our electrical power grids to the nation’s nuclear codes. And the response of POTUS is to suggest that maybe it is China, not Russia, causing the threat. I’m beginning to believe that Putin is one of the few people in the world who will be sorry to see Trump leave office. Oh well.

And then there is the virus — and the administration’s pathetic and lackluster response.

Folks, we now have more than 300,000 dead in this country, with the number growing by the minute.

And I wonder where we would be today if Trump and company hadn’t lied to the American public about the severity of the pandemic — and if our so-called leaders didn’t promote the notion that it was patriotic to ignore the advice of the health experts to stay home, social distance and wear a damn mask.

I really have a hard time seeing how wearing a mask to protect yourself and others is somehow a threat to our personal and constitutional liberties. But what do I know?

Anyway, I see signs of this stupidity every week when I shop at the Safeway in my little mountain town.

Safeway, like most other grocery stores and retail outlets, has a large sign posted at the front entrance saying that masks are required. Yet inside on any given day you see plenty of shoppers proudly loading their carts with their faces as bare as the bottom of a newborn baby

And Safeway management took a stab at getting people to social distance by trying to get people to go in one direction in each of the aisles. This actually doesn’t seem like such a hard concept. Think driving on a one way street. People are smart enough to figure that out all the time.

And at Safeway, you even have visual cues to help the dim witted:

IMG_0966

I take that sign — plainly marked — to mean don’t go that fucking way.

IMG_0967

And I assume that when you see this one it means go straight ahead.

Pretty simple. Right?

Well, actually, no.

On any given day, if you could get a dollar for every person going in the wrong direction in these plainly marked aisles you would have enough to get your groceries for free.

I’m not sure if people ignore the directions because they are self-indulgent to a fault. Or if they are just plain stupid. I stood there Saturday and watched one asshole proudly go in the wrong direction in every aisle. Wonder who he voted for? I digress.

But I know two things:

One, people who won’t wear a mask or social distance aren’t patriots protecting civil rights. They are asshats who are more than willing to endanger the health of everyone they come into contact with.

And two, if as a society we are unwilling to follow simple rules for the benefit of everyone, then we only have ourselves to blame when somebody pulls that toilet handle.

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So it goes.

Published by

Rob Jewell

I’m Rob Jewell and I live and write in Woodland Park, Colorado, the City Above the Clouds. I've been fortunate. I worked for 29 years at BFGoodrich in Akron, Ohio. I started editing employee publications and ended as vice president of corporate communications. Then I started a public relations consulting company before becoming a full-time faculty member in the School of Journalism at Kent State University. I taught courses in writing, public relations and mass communication ethics. And I supervised a student-run public relations firm, called Flash Communications. During my tenure at Kent State I was honored to receive the university’s Outstanding Teaching Award. During most of this time I've been a dedicated runner. OK, jogger, if you take speed into consideration. But while my times are not much to write about, I was and am committed. For almost 30 years I ran at least 1,000 miles each year. (Except for one year when I tore my calf muscle playing tennis. So much for tennis.) Being on the road most mornings at 5 a.m. gave me some time to think. It also led to some amazing friendships that now span more than three decades. And my longtime love affair with running helped me shape my first novel, Then We Ran, which is available wherever electronic books are sold. And just so you don't think that all I did was work and run, I have other interests as well, many centering on family. My wife, Mary, was a successful and highly regarded career teacher in the Akron public schools. She now devotes her time and energy to a host of social and athletic activities in Woodland Park. My son, Brian, teaches at Cheyenne Mountain High School in Colorado Springs where he is also the head soccer coach. And my daughter, Jessica, has completed her doctorate at Kent State University where she is also an administrator with the Wick Poetry Center. I've done a lot of writing during my career -- but Jessica is the real writer in the family. I'll try not to make too many errors in this blog. I'm sure she'll be watching.

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