The Year That Wasn’t

As of this week, it’s been a year since the world collectively lost its shit and proceeded to panic mightily. A year ago I was recovering from a colonoscopy and thinking I’d be working from home for a couple of weeks, a month at most.

We all know where that went.

If there’s one thing the last 12 months has taught me, it’s that it’s impossible to overestimate the power of stupidity. I don’t know why it is, but throw a more or less intelligent person a collection of scare headlines and enough media slavering, and the ability to think for oneself takes a nosedive.

It’s enough to make you wonder if you actually do need tin foil hats to watch TV safely. Because TV is the single most moronic form of media. The TV channels are to intelligent discourse what Famine’s restaurant chain in Good Omens was to food – nicely packaged, designed to be appealing, and completely devoid of any form of nourishment (intellectual or otherwise).

On the flip side, The Husband is down to a few days left before he ceases to be employed. This means he’s applying and interviewing – while he’s got a good severance package, with the rest of the year at full pay with health coverage, we’d still prefer to be able to save the money. Besides, I give it a week before he’s stir crazy.

Of course, the need to avoid extraneous noise while doing phone interviews has caused a bit of an issue. The cats do not appreciate being removed from the room so the interview will not be disturbed by feline keyboarding, or said felines displaying their rear ends to the webcam.

The featured image is the result – Buttercup and Midnight doing the “But… Daddy! You’re not supposed to shut us out!” sorrowful looks (Westley was trying to sleep on my work keyboard at the time – every human must always be supervised by at least one cat).

36 thoughts on “The Year That Wasn’t

  1. I had the same sort of timing with my gall bladder surgery–I was out for two weeks and when I returned from my medical leave the campus was shut down and we were working one day a week, walking empty buildings watching for leaks and whatnot. I felt like the guy in 28 Days Later.

    1. I can imagine. It feels like you leave for a few days and the whole world goes freaking insane.

  2. Buttercup looks as if she’s already decided how to Get Even.

    I went on Spring Break, which became a week and a half of break and three days of “Grab everything you need because we want you to do everything you can on-line and not come to the building at all. Oh, and clear off every single hard, flat surface and the walls so we can fog the rooms. Your comfortable chair with fluffy pillows? Take it home.”

    And then watching the world go bat-guano insane. I think the media and bureaucrat-induced cognitive dissonance played a major role. “You’ll kill grandma if you meet with two buddies on an outdoor patio for coffee, but massing in the tens of thousands to march in the streets and break stuff is perfectly safe and healthy.”

    1. This. Definitely. Nothing breaks people’s brains like being FORCED to hold two ideas that are absolutely contradictory as both true. It’s gaslighting, and… there’s a limit to how much I can even think about it before I start wanting to do things that might be considered overreacting, and possibly premeditated.

      1. Ditto last sentence with bells on.

        No comment on my own personal experience of that year of incremented crazy.

          1. Hence why I’ve been hermiting with such determination. It helps to control the urge to find all the bastards and line the streets with their impaled corpses.

              1. Need some tests first, but suffocation seems to have economic potential.

          2. The plus side of the whole nation being out of our minds is the possibility of being able to persuade people that my extreme policy ideas are correct.

            Of course, I was counting on a /sane/ outside perspective to help me evaluate those better.

            1. My life has been a black hole of other people’s crazy, and I finally had a light at the end of the tunnel.

              Cue the lockdowns.

              …It does tend to tip a patient person toward the homicidal.

              1. I’m not entirely sure how I ought to be classified.

                Definitely not pleased by recent developments.

      2. I’m with you on the premeditated.

        Do not wish to think on that.

        Zombies or aliens, that’s not premeditation, though. Invasion of weaponized Girl Scouts. :::insert picture of The Rock from Avatar, wearing a Girl Scout uniform:::

    2. Ah, yes. It’s perfectly safe to march in the streets and break stuff, but marching in the streets to peacefully ask the Government to let you go back to earning a living is horrible, evil, and utterly verboten.

  3. We had spring break, came back for three days, then shut down. We had a week (which was a lot longer than many universities) to turn all our classes into online classes. Tomorrow marks the anniversary of the beginning of online teaching for me. But, then, I decided to make the year more interesting and retired/resigned in June. Best decision ever. I watched my former colleagues deal with the stress of online teaching combined with an academic’s almost natural fear of the world outside of academia as they succumbed to the gaslighting.

    Not a lot I can do for them or family members who’ve gone down that path, so I’ve decided to just lead by example as it were.

    1. I hear you. Academia is a scary place, not helped by the people who are there because they can’t deal with the outside world.

      I respect the heck out of solid academic achievement, somewhat less when academics insist on pontificating about things outside their specialization, and laugh to myself whenever they start acting like they can tell non-academics how to live their lives.

      There’s a reason I’ve not pursued any further degree work – I have zero patience for the kind of academic hoop-jumping that’s come to infest colleges. With what’s happened in the last 12 months, I suspect said hoop-jumping is worse than it used to be. (If I’m going to do something, I want to know why. “Because that’s how you get a good grade” doesn’t count.)

      1. I have a friend who is an adjunct teacher at a local public college; she isn’t even bothering with trying for tenure track because the effort is way too high for the probable reward.

        Some people say the reason many academics think the work world is so messed up is because they think it must be like their world, academia.

        1. The sanest prof I had in grad school, not counting the rock docs and the retired Special Forces officer, had worked on a framing crew, then served five years in the Air Force. He was a little more level-headed than the 100% academic all the way types.

        2. Oh, totally. I’d say 98% of them have never had a full-time job outside of academia. And, they’re amazed at those of us who have NOT gone straight from undergrad to grad to faculty. They are like children…spoiled, know-it-all children. And, yes. Most of them love to pontificate outside of their own academic area. I have a PhD in political science, but for most of my colleagues that simply means I know *less* than they do about political systems and policies. . Whatever.

          1. The thumbnail test: if a random Dilbert gets a laugh, that person has probably experienced the real world, and may even have learned from it.

  4. DEMON CAT!! Look at those burning eyes!

    Strange how the panic came six months AFTER the communist Chinese spread their genetically modified virus around the world. I guess it’s never too late for panic and stupidity, and always too late for sanity.
    A good Zombie Apocalypse novel is at least as believable as anything we’ve heard out of the ‘publick health authorities’ over the last year.

    1. Recently re-read the “Black Tide Rising” series. In the first book, I kept on having a problem with suspending my disbelief, but couldn’t pin it down exactly. Until I realized that the survival of anyone at the CDC is highly unlikely. (I managed to make the background assumption that the politicos in charge turned first, and had their spines pureed for vaccination of the few competent ones left. Tenuous, but it let me keep going.)

      Right now, if we have an actually dangerous disease come around, we’re hosed. Definitely as a nation, possibly as a species. Even Fort Detrick will probably be useless, while they are in “stand down to combat extremism.”

  5. Blargh. So much of this. Watching people my age (late twenties) freak out about how going out and doing stuff is literally risking their lives, when if you bother to actually look at the CDC’s numbers people under the age of 35 have a death rate of less than 30 per million, has been fantastically depressing.

    And don’t even get me started on the “news.”

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