Saturday, October 23, 2021

Payback's a Bitch





Through most of 2020 I wrote a monthly “Corona Chronicles” column for Greece’s Athens Insider Magazine.  It addressed living through pandemic times, as told from the perspective of an American mystery writer who’d called Greece home for 35 years.  I tried to end each column on a note more akin to Pollyanna’s unbridled optimism than Cassandra’s dire predictions of misfortune.


But by December 2020, I’d concluded Covid fatigue had set in, and writing about the pandemic was too much of a downer for reader and writer alike to continue. 


So, I stopped writing the column on what I thought an upbeat note. Like every upbeat note, its impact depends upon the composition from which it springs.


At that time, the world was caught up in a looping unrelenting dirge.  Eight months had passed since my first column and in that brief period total covid infections and deaths, in the US alone, had jumped from 1 million cases and 55,000 deaths to 13.4 million cases and 267,000 deaths.


Yet, millions of Americans chose not to wear masks, not to socially distance, not to avoid crowds, and not to wash their hands conscientiously; largely refusing to do so in service to disparate political, economic, and social agendas. Agendas with goals they believed more deserving of their trust and confidence than a simple request that they temporarily modify their lives so to protect their families, communities, and themselves from an invisible, silent, merciless slayer.


Me thinks there's a copyright infringement here

In hindsight, the corona virus’ deadliest advantage may prove to be that its effects were not obvious enough to turn skeptics into believers—bombs were not exploding around them, rivers were not flooding over them, ground was not giving way beneath them, and buildings were not crashing down upon them.


So, what optimistic upbeat note could I find amid all of that on which to end my column?  Here’s what I wrote. 


Thank God there are vaccines and therapeutics on the horizon, for I dare not think of how we’d fare were our survival contingent upon each of us doing the right thing for the common good.  With the finish line in this race for survival so close, all of us should band together to do whatever is necessary to assure that we all cross it safely.


As if that were not Pollyannaish enough, I went on to write:


I sense a hidden reward should we somehow find ways to feed the food insecure, save small businesses facing extinction, shelter the homeless, and provide renewed work opportunities for the unemployed. If we come even close to achieving those goals, it would seem but child’s play to mobilize the same world-wide cooperative scientific efforts that brought us Covid vaccines in record time, to join together in common cause toward eradicating other killer afflictions, such as cancer, tuberculosis, heart disease, Alzheimer’s, and AIDS.


So much for my daring to challenge the Cassandras among us.


Who could have anticipated that such medical miracles offered up to the world in record time would be vilified by faithless, merciless, charlatan opinion makers (I’m using the kindest words I can think of) to further personal political, social, and economic goals no matter the suffering their actions wreaked upon families, neighbors, and the world?


Today, the US has exceeded 46,180,000 total cases, and 754,000 total deaths.


Current world totals are reported to exceed 243,521,002 cases and 4,948,917 deaths.


There is a prayer often said in memory of souls who pass on in which the utterer beseeches the Lord, “May their memory be a blessing to their families for eternity.”


I wonder what sort of prayer of remembrance the many who’ve lost or will lose loved ones to the pandemic, or will suffer from long haul Covid complications, might offer upon the passing of those who, for merciless selfish ends, manipulated the trust reposed in them by so many unwary believing folk.


Payback’s a bitch.




Jeff’s Upcoming Events


Thursday, November 18, 2021 @ 16:00

ICELAND NOIR, Iðnó Theater

Reykjavic, Iceland

Panelist, Murderous Islands

with Katrin Juliusdottir, Michael Ridpath, and William Ryan (Moderator)


  1. It’s about money, Bro. Those who spread the lies and conspiracy theories are making huge fortunes off the poor benighted people they dupe. As my father used to say, “There's oughta be a law.”

  2. Yep. And power, Sis. Both are irresistible aphrodisiacs for certain personalities...and generally not the unselfish kind.

  3. And it's politics of divisiveness, ignorance, oppose science and medicine. And total selfishness. No "Love thy neighbor" homilies in this. It's everyone for themselves. And where would be people be without polio vaccines?