Column: Reacting to the COVID-19 pandemic

Column: Reacting to the COVID-19 pandemic

Lead, follow or get the hell out of the way

I don’t even have to close my eyes to visualize my dad spouting off one of his favourite adages at times like this.

Dear old dad would shake his head in bewilderment at his fellow man when they were acting childish and ponder at the chaos for a second or two.

Then with a frump, followed by a dramatic raising and lowering of his shoulders, he would blurt out, “Lead, follow or get the hell out of the way.”

Apparently it was a military euphemism by origin, or at least that was dad’s spin on it.

He would quickly remind me that, “Your grandpa believes the same thing. You either take charge, or allow someone else to do so, but don’t simply do nothing and stare at your belly button.”

Dad was generally a man of action and did not suffer fools well. He sadly, also lacked much patience or tenderness — at least on the outside.

Tolerance and gentleness were not things he learned or mastered as a young person growing up.

Still, his ability to cut through the rhetoric and take a position was impressive and served himself and others well.

Great community man. However, not much on the home front.

It’s a genetic germ I have to be cautious of.

Regardless, my dad would have gone off his rocker watching the world go nuts in grocery stores — hoarding, selfless acts of paranoia disguised as survival, independent actions with social ramifications.

Ironically, despite his personal control in such scenarios, dad was also obsessive-compulsive. I have no idea how he functioned in such a complex way.

Dad was the sort of fellow that was needed near the top at times like this, when the world is spinning at treacherous speed with chaos, fear, and change engulfing day to day lives.

When in charge he (and others like him) are much better doing something than not. Stuck at home, dad would have been an insane bear, impossible to be around, and easily consumed by cabin fever after a day or two.

Good thing I take after my mom.

While many folks perceive me as a social butterfly, close friends understand I am a loner at heart. An enigma of sorts, I am comfortable around people, but prefer to be alone or certainly with one or two people max.

I can comfortably go weeks without seeing or talking to anyone. My favourite hobbies are hiding in my garden, canoeing, and (when I could breathe better) hiking alone in the mountains.

As a youngster, I spent many of my weekends backpacking by myself around the valley while others were off partying.

Read more: 50 things to do at home during pandemic

Read more: Pandemic sees Americans turn to pot in record numbers

For the better part of the past 15 years I have worked out of my home writing columns, books and running my former strategic planning and public relations company off my home computer.

After 30 years of either full-time journalism, music or environment work surrounded by crowds, I welcomed the change and still do.

I do not feel ‘stuck’ or ‘trapped’ at home. For me, the only real adaption has been not going to city hall for council meetings or to a pub for a Friday beer and burger.

Of course, I am also adapting to Tez being home full-time — which is different for both of us. (I’m thinking I like it more than her…lol).

One habit Tez and I have continued during these times of adaptation has been watching the news together. In doing so, I get a better idea of the insanity taking place in the world outside my door.

Tez, despite her diabetes issues, is still the one that braves the world to get the occasional groceries as my suppressed immune system makes it even more absurd to consider leaving the house.

Watching TV, we find it hard to believe some people are so clueless or self-centred as to still ignore warnings and pleas to not congregate or be in close physical contact with others.

It’s difficult to comprehend how despite around the clock, updated news about the deadly virus — the fear factor does not sink in.

This disease kills people. No one is guaranteed safe passage. This morning as I send this email with my column off to the Capital News, we’ve learned Prince Charles has contracted the virus.

What does one do with such a scenario when the safety of all is placed in the hands of a few idiots who refuse to obey basic guidelines of survival? The answer takes me back to the harsh world of reality my father thrived in.

We cannot afford to suffer fools.

While the ‘normal’ world may have had the option of simply tolerating or ignoring such selfish stupidity in the big picture, the big picture has now changed.

We are it.

What we do directly and dramatically impacts those around us. Never before in our lives, have our actions had the potential to impact others as we face today.

That is why if you have travelled anywhere recently it is imperative you stay home and work out of your house, alone.

Living and working with family members is logical, but otherwise — adapt. Many businesses are learning to have employees work out of their own homes if possible.

Very soon, perhaps even before this column is printed, severe rules and guidelines will be enacted by government curtailing people gathering for work or play unless essential.

Those still not listening will pay an ultimate cost. Play smart, play safe, stay healthy.

Stay alive.


Just Posted

(Dave Ogilvie photo)
One injured after being pinned by fallen forklift near Peachland

West Kelowna emergency crews responded to reports of a person stuck under a forklift

(Big White Ski Resort/Contributed)
Big White’s big clean-up: Large turnout for post-melt mountain tidy

More than 165 people showed up to help gather the litter left behind from the winter season

Mounties cover a burgundy truck with a tent at Buckerfields in West Kelowna on Monday, June 14. The RCMP is investigating after a woman’s body was found inside the truck. (Amandalina Letterio/Capital News)
West Kelowna RCMP investigating suspicious death after body found in truck

Police responded to a truck parked out front of a Main Street business where the body was found

(Jenna Cocullo / The Northern View)
Delays expected on Lakeshore Road this week

Northbound traffic on Lakeshore between Richter and Barrera will be detoured for paving

David Larsen, left, and co-host Tony Peyton. (K96.3/Twitter)
Popular Kelowna radio host dies after battle with cancer

David Larsen was half of the longtime Kelowna morning-show duo David and Tony

Singer-songwriter Jann Arden is pictured with a draft horse. (Canadian Horse Defence Coalition)
Jann Arden backs petition to stop live horse export

June 14 is the International Day to End Live Export of Animals

Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price (31) is scored on by Vegas Golden Knights defenseman Alec Martinez, not pictured, during the second period in Game 1 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup semifinal playoff series Monday, June 14, 2021, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
Habs fall 4-1 to Vegas Golden Knights in Game 1 of NHL semifinal series

Match was Montreal’s first game outside of Canada in 2021

Penticton Overdose Prevention Society co-founders Desiree Franz, Shane Surowski and Stephanie Lines have created the city’s first unsanctioned public overdose prevention site using an old wine-tour bus. The site began operations in June 2021. (Desiree Franz/Facebook)
Volunteers launch Penticton’s first public supervised injection site

2021 is on pace to be the deadliest year for overdoses in Penticton on record

Kelowna-Lake Country MLA Norm Letnick, assistant deputy speaker at the B.C. legislature, presides over committee discussions. The legislature is completing its delayed spring session this week, with most MLAs participating by video conference. (Hansard TV)
B.C.’s daily COVID-19 infections dip below 100 over weekend

Only 68 new cases recorded Monday, four additional deaths

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

B.C. ambulance station in Revelstoke is expected to get a new system called the Scheduled On-Call (SOC) this fall. (Liam Harrap - Revelstoke Review)
B.C. ambulance changes could put Revelstoke residents at risk, warn local paramedics

Paramedics said to expect a substantial increase in ambulance response time starting this fall

Jane Linden
KCR: Volunteering keeps you active

Kelowna Community Resources shares stories of its volunteers in a weekly column

This goose family went for a leisurely stroll down Vernon’s Main Street Saturday, April 25. (Dave Deshane photo)
Controversial Vernon goose cull won’t fly this year

Necessary permit procedures held up at a federal level

The BC Ferries website went down for a short while Monday morning following a provincial announcement that recreational travel between health authorities can resume Tuesday. (Black Press Media file photo)
BC Ferries’ website crashes in wake of provincial reopening announcement

Website back up now, recreational travel between health regions to resume as of Tuesday

Most Read