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Photo courtesy of Jalen ’21

There’s a mass pandemic happening! Guess who just learned that her coping mechanisms for adjusting to widespread disease ravaging the earth are a bit rusty? Me. And I haven’t just been bad in the way everyone’s getting cute about, talking about how they’re hanging upside down in their beds all day like fruit bats, gorging themselves on endless angry tweets about nothing. That’s a weak man’s game. Get on my level: stare into the frightening abyss that is your capacity for ignorance. Here’s my confession: At the very beginning of COVID-19, I was wildly insensitive towards the state of affairs. I made callous jokes and thought mostly about myself. When I learned that senior citizens were especially at risk, my first thought went to the old man who had stared at me openly in a Trader Joe’s parking lot many weeks ago. He seemed to level a sort of disapproval at me as if I were his loud gum-chewing niece caught texting at Christmas dinner, which irked me greatly! I was simply a legal adult wrangling many bags of off-brand Pirate’s Booty into my mom’s car. Who cares about old people, my turd-brain had thought. I want to go outside and do nonsense with my friends. 

One night soon after, I was staring at my ceiling very broodingly. The angst vibe I had going on spurred some hearty self-examination, and I was suddenly very aware that it probably wasn’t in my best interest to be all cavalier in the face of mass suffering. Jalen, people are dying, I reprimanded myself. How could you be so desensitized to real human suffering? This is how ignorance is bred, you total dink- and so on. 

The fact that this was a mindset I needed to snap out of is frankly embarrassing, but perhaps explaining this justifies why I now descend upon others like a ferocious, cackling she-beast if they imply they aren’t practicing social distancing. I throw masks at my parents if they seem to be pondering the mere concept of outside. Being a mindful citizen has turned me into a monster. I love it. If it’s overcompensation, it’s effective as hell. If you are coping with Corona in a strange, unnerving way that suddenly reveals a sort of ugliness about yourself, I urge you to (1) self-examine and self-improve and (2) channel that energy into terrifying your family with your cleanliness. The latter is especially critical. It really is. 

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