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Tea changing into wine is a rare coronavirus compensation as crisis gives shades of misery to choose from

Frank Coughlan



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'At the next election I'm voting Covid out. It has the place in tatters.' Photo: Stephen Collins/Collins Photos

'At the next election I'm voting Covid out. It has the place in tatters.' Photo: Stephen Collins/Collins Photos

'At the next election I'm voting Covid out. It has the place in tatters.' Photo: Stephen Collins/Collins Photos

It was another miserable day in the Republic of Covid. In fairness, this pandemic has given us various shades of miserable to choose from.

The day started with that very even-mannered lady on the radio again telling us we are all in this together.

Except, of course, for those right-on street demonstrators who think their self-evident moral superiority gives them a free pass.

She followed this up with a reminder of the various steps we still have to take. The tyranny of repetition should not be under-estimated when it comes to this stuff. Then the news bulletins were full of more stats and projections.

The truly scary ones these days are to do with the economy.

Competing experts in various disciplines were out-doing each other on the scaredom front. Death, poverty, floods and pestilence await.

The newspapers were full of all of this stuff and more.

If you read half of it you'd hide under the duvet and only climb out for the occasional cup of tea.

Although, after 5pm that tea does change into wine. It's the miracle of Covid. One of its rare compensations.

God indeed works in mysterious ways.

I found precious little out on the streets to make me feel less of a Covid hostage.

I had been looking forward to my first visit to the local library. When I got there I found I couldn't go in for a poke around. Instead I got as far as the door. Behind a Perspex screen, thousands of books were waiting. Unless I had a particular one in mind the staff couldn't help me.

Book buying or borrowing is all in the browse. Everyone knows that.

Not the library's fault, or anybody else's either. But it was disappointing. I'd go so far as to say soul-destroying.

Then there was a snaking queue outside my local supermarket. As I only needed a few items, none of them urgent, I walked on. I refuse to get in line for half a dozen eggs.

I thought perhaps a cup of coffee would be nice. But it was cold and threatening rain so there would have been little or no pleasure in drinking it. Or anyone to drink it with.

So passed up on that too.

Instead I headed home. Dragging my heels like a sulky child who had been promised an ice cream that was never delivered.

Not fair, I said to no one in particular. But no one in particular was two metres away and couldn't hear.

At the next election I'm voting Covid out. It has the place in tatters.

Don't be an a**hole and check you have facts first

Here's one simple barometer to safely live by: those who are absolutely convinced about their interpretation of history are the very ones who have read very little or none of it. Because good history doesn't do black and white or goodies and baddies. It's as layered as an onion.

This current fuss about statues is a fascinating one and comes from the same sort of misconception.

This eagerness to tear them down is a characteristic of those who blow hard about history but have little real curiosity about the past and less knowledge.

Presentism - the tendency to view the past through the prism of today's certainties and values - is at the heart of this. As if we are somehow morally superior to our antecedents.

Slavery was shameful, racism still is. People are right to be offended and it is only natural to want to make a stand.

But as Clint tells us in 'Dirty Harry': "Opinions are like a**holes, everyone has one." Make sure yours is one of the informed ones.

Irish Independent