Sooner or later life shows its claws, says Russian writer Chekhov in his short story Gooseberries. We have just seen a demonstration of that. Containing the spread of Covid-19 remains a work in progress, actively thwarted by a toxic fusion of disarray and rule-flouting from our political class.
The nine-day wonder that the Coalition happened at all has passed. And now a tone-deaf administration is taking shape. Its messaging is muddled, some of its senior people appear bewildered, its thrust is reactive instead of proactive.
During a pandemic, confusion is not acceptable. Clarity and focus are essential. Instead, we have mixed messaging. And something even riskier - politicians, from a senior Cabinet minister to an EU commissioner to current and former members of the Oireachtas, disregarding public health regulations. Rules are for others to obey.
Such behaviour is wrong at any time. But during an emergency it is dangerous because it chips away at the public health message. No wonder the public is disenchanted. How on earth can these politicians mount their high horses to criticise the young for socialising when their own conduct is lacking?
It's do-as-I-say-ism, the antithesis of effective leadership. It won't encourage anyone to follow restrictions which limit our freedoms.
So, Dara Calleary and others who should know better attended a dinner for 80 people, at a time of an orange alert weather warning advising against unnecessary journeys, a day after the deputy leader of Fianna Fáil's own Government restricted indoor gatherings to six people, apart from weddings and some cultural events.
EU Trade Minister Phil Hogan was also present, as was Senator Jerry Buttimer of Fine Gael - who had to step down as the Seanad's leas-cheann comhairle. Other senators attended. Even the judiciary was present in a you-couldn't-make-this-up twist, in the shape of former attorney general and current Supreme Court judge Seamus Woulfe.
Elected representatives are there to serve the people. Is it really so difficult to understand? And most people are mystified why a gala dinner in honour of former MEP Mark Killilea was regarded as an essential event during a pandemic.
The advice from the National Public Health Emergency Team (Nphet) is to ensure gatherings are kept to a minimum, never mind numbers. Although on those eye-popping figures - because the higher they are, the greater the risk - here's Dr Ronan Glynn, acting chief medical officer: "I would not want 80 people at any event."
The room, of the Station House Hotel in Clifden, Co Galway, was partitioned into two, which sounds suspiciously like a tokenistic approach to the rules. The gardaí are investigating whether the Health Act was breached.
It's worth noting Mr Calleary resigned quickly in a political establishment known for clinging to office and bleating excuses.
And so to muddles around restrictions - the situation has been as clear as mud.
We didn't have mixed messaging with Leo Varadkar as Taoiseach. If Fine Gael pulled out of government now, his party would gain seats in a general election.
Apparently the Tánaiste told the Cabinet meeting that if they kept doing business in the present fashion, they wouldn't be doing business together for long. It looks as if he wants an input before any new regulations are announced.
Mr Varadkar is crystal clear in his communications. The same cannot be said of Micheál Martin. He says there's no confusion. He would, wouldn't he? But contradictory advice from Stephen Donnelly, in Health, and Government spokespeople is not a cohesive approach. Messaging must be clear, transparent and unambiguous for buy-in to happen. Explaining the benefits is crucial.
"People will make sacrifices for the common good provided they can see why and how what they are being asked to do is best for everybody. So communicating clearly and repeatedly what the common goal is and how people's behaviour contributes to it is vital," says Dr Pete Lunn of the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI).
"The guidelines don't tell us what is and is not safe, they are decisions about the levels of risk we will accept.
"It's not a contradiction to take higher risk to get schools open than to hold social events - it's a just a sensible decision if you think opening schools is a bigger priority," the institute's head of behavioural research told the Irish Independent.
In other words, a dinner party - or a golf dinner for that matter - is less important by a country mile than children's education.
Unless the Government drastically improves its communications, compliance will be patchy and the curve will not flatten. Rules need to be underpinned by logic.
Otherwise we may as well tell ourselves that hanging garlic cloves at every window will stop the virus spreading, or wearing our clothes inside out, or everyone going to bed on the stroke of 9.30 every night.
During a pandemic, behaviour is not only about me but about us. This is about shared responsibility. "The lack of solidarity is first of all a lack of imagination," according to Italian physicist Paolo Giordano.
In his essay How Contagion Works, he says from the point of view of the virus, the human species falls into three categories: susceptible, infected, recovery.
Within the first category is a sub-stratum: ultra-susceptible - elderly people and those with an underlying medical condition. But it encompasses others such as those living in close proximity to an unrelated group - for example, in direct provision.
The susceptibles and ultras represent happy hunting grounds for the virus. But if young and healthy people (or members of the Oireachtas and judiciary) expose themselves to the virus by interacting with others, they bring it closer to the ultra- susceptible.
Dr Giordano says the spread of contagion is halted if we change our behaviour, interacting less with others and suspending activities. We have to be determined and unselfish - and it is a sacrifice because we are social animals.
The pandemic will take patience to overcome. We have been too impatient to spring back to normal life as we knew it before Covid-19. In the space of just 10 days, the rate of community transmission doubled.
Elsewhere in the Coalition, travel planning for the new school term is in disarray after Nphet told the Government secondary pupils must socially distance on school buses.
Pupils are starting back next week so the timeframe for new, logistically challenging arrangements is tight.
It was obvious the return to schools would be a vulnerable area. Just as it was obvious the nursing homes - more than half of all deaths happened there - were vulnerable. It was obvious meat plants were vulnerable.
And that young people's behaviour was transmitting the disease. It's obvious there'll be problems arising from disappointing Leaving Cert results.
Why are we always one step behind? Less reacting and more pre-empting must take place. This virus is smart. Unlike, unfortunately, some of those in leadership positions.