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Daily Journal
     April 10, 2020      #47-101 KDJ

Dennis Marek: Not at this time in my life 

By Dennis Marek

As some of my readers know, I am calling it a career on June 1. That will be exactly 50 years since I walked into Dick Ackman’s law office, fresh from my stint in the military. He put me to work immediately, and my law life has been full ever since. I don’t mean to say that my life is over, although having free time is refreshing and a bit scary at the same time.

As a columnist in Michigan recently wrote of his retirement, “Wake up. Pretend to be busy. Go to sleep. Repeat.” I want none of that. I hope to continue to write for the Daily Journal and to do things in the community. I would love to teach part time again, although a 77-year-old might not be too relevant to college students any more.

But wait, there is a completely new world in the last month. It is called COVID-19 and survival. We are now entering an era not unlike our fears of Y2K, except this is way more life-threatening. Now we have so many other things to do and worry about. Will I run out of toilet paper? Did I wipe down the steering wheel or the door knob? Did I wash my hands often and long enough?

I have been blessed with a life of good health. One stent led to some concern with cholesterol and blood pressure, but some basic meds got those numbers under control. Unfortunately, that along with my age makes me “elderly” (God, I hate that word) and more at risk.

I have heard a new name for the virus, Boomer Remover. Get rid of the Boomers and the world is wide open to the next generation to replace them and enjoy their former places in society and the workplace. Maybe that is not their plan, but it might make them a bit more careless with the transmission of a virus. The younger generation seems quite carefree about following the rules of social distancing. Sure, they don’t have the high risk of death that older citizens have, but they can carry the virus just as well as anyone through the community, or from the beaches of Florida to their home states. They seem to be behaving like there is no tomorrow. Maybe they will find out that there is no tomorrow for many Americans regardless of being a Boomer or younger.

There is no doubt our leaders got caught with their pants down or just wouldn’t comprehend the seriousness of this disease for several weeks. We don’t have enough face masks, testing kits, hospital space or ventilators. Heck we don’t even have enough TP. One funny question came from a friend who asked if the reason for the rush for toilet paper was because the disease gave you diarrhea. I mentioned that it was rather because China made almost all the product, but I wasn’t really sure about the rest.

We have ventured out some with care. We leave groceries in the garage for three days before bringing them in the house. We do sanitize and wash our hands and keep distance between everyone if we see them. And as the same columnist mentioned, “it’s better to be 6 feet apart than six feet under.” We can certainly meet that safety measure. But for the most part, we are in the house watching CNN or the other news channels along with some Netflix. I have burned through three books that have been waiting for me, and have stayed in phone contact with my kids and sisters.

Now that the leadership screw-up is past correction, we have to move on non-politically. I am in Michigan for the lockdown, and our Democratic governor has irritated the president, who now merely refers to her as “that woman from Michigan.” Fortunately Pence did call her and they are getting some needed supplies. Detroit is not far behind New York in outbreaks.

My generation survived World War II, the Korean War, the Cold War without getting nuked as we hid under our desks, Vietnam and its derisiveness, AIDS and even 9/11. And now in our golden years, we are facing another crisis that seems to be more directed at older people older than 60 than any other age group. This columnist also alluded to the fact that it might “wipe us out,” but after talking about toilet paper, that might just be too blatant of a pun.

We talk about post-9/11, so I guess we will refer to life after this dilemma as post-AC, life after corona. Climate change, however, may well have to take a pause for now as we have far more serious problems to face. We may leave that issue to the millennials as we have enough on our plate.

In these scary times, I often turn to humor, novels of other times and even to favorite puns.

W.C. Fields might be the author of this when facing a depressing situation. He is to have said of his condition, “I’d rather have a bottle in front of me than a frontal lobotomy.” They still have a lot of wine, Boomers, so sip on one, avoid the frontal lobotomy, and use the TP carefully. We “elderly” want to make it a bit longer. And thanks to Bill Dalton for his humorous column in the Holland Sentinel from which I borrowed some of his thoughts.

Dennis Marek can be contacted through the Daily Journal at editors@daily-journal.com or through his personal email at dmarek@amb-ltd.com.

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