Saturday, March 21, 2020

Just the Facts, Please


If one more person tells me how much at risk I am to Covid-19 because of my age I’ll SCREAM.


Thank you, all, for being respectful of my age. 

I have never thought of myself as old, in mind or body.  Self-delusion can be a good thing.  But with the constant barrage of breaking news, video clips, and graphs all warning about the dangers facing the elderly—prominently defined to include me—one fitting that description might actually begin to think he or she’s at risk.

That's me, fourth one on the right.

I’m very happy with my age, and have no wishful longings to turn back the clock, certainly not to the Spring Break Brigades bashing beneficent boundaries, by bewilderingly bouncing bunched between beaches, bars, booze, bongs, beds; bestowing breathtaking brotherly betrayal big-time.

Nor to the politicians and business folk who allow their beaches and bars to remain open for purposes of profit over people.

Not that any of this is unexpected…after all I live on the world’s #1 party island…but you’d think such me-first animal instincts would be tempered by an animal virus that threatens us all.

Sadly, these days it appears that’s far too much to hope for.

Though I sincerely appreciate all the words of caution and kind deeds of so many well-meaning souls directed my way, if I had to keep hearing the same blanket warning to the elderly over the next four weeks or eight weeks or twelve weeks or…well, let’s not think about that…without an explanation as to why, I knew I’d go mad.  OK madder.

So, I decided to call a doctor friend who’s an expert on pandemics—a true expert, but one who’s identity I cannot reveal without his permission—and ask him a question that I’ve never heard anyone ask of the many experts on TV and radio. Namely, “What is it about being elderly that makes them as a group so vulnerable to the virus?”

His answer was simple, and accompanied by a laugh.  “Jeffrey, remember when you were younger—back at the dawn of time—when all those athletic [and other] moves came so simply, and how different your gait and muscle tone were then than now?”

I gave a whimpering, “Yes.”

“Just as all that’s changed, so has your immune capability.”


“When a healthy baby’s born, the baby has six times the amount of immune protection it needs to fight off infection.”

Why did I think I knew where this explanation was headed?

“By the time baby reaches your age, there remains only twice that capacity. And should you happen to have an underlying condition that calls upon that capacity, when you're hit by an infection such as Covid-19, you may not have enough defensive immune capacity to fight it off.”

I said thank you—he’s older than I—and promptly followed his other advice. “Go hunker down somewhere isolated from the rest of the world for a period of .…"

I shall not tell you how long he said, because I think he just wanted me to finish writing my new book. At least I hope so.

Anyway, now that I know the score I’ll do what has to be done. Like most folks, all I wanted were straight answers.

Thanks, Doc.


PS.  Happy Birthday, Son. Love you.


  1. Oh so true! The one take away (and hopefully the only bad one from this whole episode is that I've had it made clear to me that I am a part of that vulnerable population as well). We stopped early this week at the village nursery (he sells livestock food so is considered essential and open) and instead of his normal, happy-to-see-us-greeting, Stavros (many decades our junior) looked horrified and said, "Why are you here??? You should be at home - people like you (read that, old) shouldn't be out!!" And then he proceeded to tell us how many of 'our kind' had already died in Italy. Ahh, yes, just the facts! Stay well and stay safe.

  2. What comes out of these times shall dominate human history for at least the balance of this century. Religious, economic, political, and sociological norms are being tested as never before in our lifetime. And it's only just begun. As much as it pain(e)s me to say it, these truly are the times that try our souls.

    Stay safe...and listen to Stavros.

  3. Jeff, thanks for the reinforcing message. I’m sorry that photo cut off the right hand figure. The world awaits.
    Sue and I are hunkered down at her place in Edgewater and I must say our brief kayak adventure yesterday made the time more pleasant. We keep checking in with family to help keep them from going crazy. Reading, movies, and pantry cleansing are keeping us busy too.
    Our best to you and Barbara. Age is a frame of least I like to think so.

    1. I can't believe it, Dave. Once again my very best part(s) end up on the cutting room floor!

      Happy to hear you and Sue are finding pleasant paddling rewarding. Not sure Barbara will go for that, but one must be open to new things to get through these times. Besides, we're almost done with organizing the pantry and I'm about to root through a freezer in the basement that hasn't been opened in over 20 years, in order to make room for all the fish I plan on catching in the pond.

      Hmm, I sense a story's brewing...

      Stay safe, my friend, and best to you and Sue.

    2. You and John Wayne Bobbit, Jeff. Ouch.

    3. As General McAuliffe said in WWII, EvKa, "Nuts."

  4. Sorry I can't relate when it comes to age. LOL But as for the beaches you are spot on and I keep remembering this famous argument from the movie Jaws.

    1. Don, I know you didn't intend to so cruelly reinforce the premise of my post with your on-the-money clip from "Jaws" of a tourism driven politician willing to risk lives for profit. Still, as I looked at the clip I remembered I was on Martha's Vineyard the summer of its filming, and that got me to wondering how could Roy Scheider and Richard Dreyfuss have aged so much while I...

      Love to Jenn, and stay safe, buddy.

  5. Yu are preaching to the choir here,Jeffrey! I am so upset with 'leaders' and others dismissing the 'low' deathrate of Covid19 in America so far, (mostly ONLY just the people in the nursing home in WA),and the projections that ONLY the elderly will die in biggest numbers,I may go postal!
    By all means, hang in there,Jeffrey. Be safe, my Friend.

    1. But going postal, Tonette, would expose you to crowds of more than ten!

      Wipe them out by your vote in November...a far better revenge.

  6. I don't think that young people are in the endangered group, Jeff, so you shouldn't have anything to worry about. Well, at least, not the young, handsome, and brilliantly intelligent. Well, the handsome and brilliantly intelligent. Well, the brilliantly intelligent. Well, intelligent enough to avoid crowded beaches...

    However, to mark the occasion, I'm most of the way through Santorini Caesers and enjoying it immensely. I don't know how I fell so far behind, but the good news is I've got two more books to look forward to in these, our days of great travail... :-)

  7. Thanks, EvKa, for bringing home how those adjectives disappear almost as rapidly as immune capacity. :)

    Glad you're enjoying "Santorini Caesars" (#8). Hopefully beyond that you will only have two more to look forward to, as #11 ("A Deadly Twist") doesn't come out until January. Stay safe, my friend.

    1. Since Trump used to be spelled Drumpf, you could keep your alliterative titles going with "A Deadly Dwist." Or not. And no, even with spring and summer coming, there's no way I'll be able to stretch two books until January. MAYBE until April. If I stay REALLY busy outside...

    2. Well, The Mykonos Mob is coming out in April in trade paperback as ISLAND OF SECRETS, so maybe if your into deja vu moments there is that possibility.

    3. Oh, I'll be well into Mykonos Mob by April. I'm just starting Agean April this evening. Then I'll have a LONGGGG break before Island of Secrets. Sometimes it's GOOD to save up some books. :-)

  8. It comes as something of a reversal when you have to start shouting at your parents for going out...

  9. Hi, I have four books coming out in the next eight weeks. The London launch dinner is cancelled of course.
    On the lighter side of things, if you look at Edvard Munch's Scream and think of a spaniel.... the state of the world becomes clear....

  10. You know this. Bro, but I hate it when people want me to eschew calling myself old. I am old. Old is NOT a synonym for decrepit. Getting old is the only alternative to dying. I am HAPPY to be old. That said, I am staying inside. For the duration.