High school reunions in the time of COVID
I recently attended my 50th high school reunion. While it's interesting seeing kids you knew in high school as old folks (look at your H.S. yearbook picture, and then look in a mirror), our reunion in the Time of COVID had some truly unique aspects.
The head of the Reunion Committee (all kudos to someone willing to take on that thankless task) sent out reunion info and included some COVID comments. They included the state guidelines:
SAFETY CONCERNS FOR THE REUNION
* ... staff are all vaccinated and will be masked
* Illinois rules require masks indoors save when eating or drinking
* If you are up to date on COVID shots, consider a booster before the events
The comments also included this:
We plan on a safe event. The ... staff are vaccinated and will be masked. We are asked to wear masks when not eating or drinking.
For myself, I had the booster yesterday. If you are currently up to date on your COVID vaccination, you can get a booster[.]
Since the staff at the reunion site were vaccinated and wearing masks, the logic of how the reunioners wearing masks part-time protects the vaccinated, masked employees escapes me.
Since the reunion was in a Democrat stronghold with the normal (for a police state) COVID rules, logic is irrelevant. In Wonderland, COVID rules are what the Queen says they are.
Fortunately, the reunion crowd followed Gavin Newsom's French Laundry COVID protocols, and it wasn't a super-spreader event. Everybody appeared to have a pretty good unmasked time.
"Wear masks part-time" was only part of the reunion memo. The instructions also included a positive statement pushing boosters.
While I am sure that the head of the Reunion Committee's heart was in the right place, I thought this was totally inappropriate. Regardless of COVID views, bringing that debate into a 50th reunion misses a critically important point.
Most of human existence can be summarized by the famous phrase from Hobbes's Leviathan that life is "poor, nasty, brutish, and short." Not for us.
We have had physical wealth (i.e., access to food, medicine, energy, plumbing, information, mobility, rule of law, etc.) that our forefathers couldn't have imagined. The poorest Americans have physical wealth that kings would envy. And we don't even notice.
While physical wealth is hugely important, I would argue that psychological wealth may be the greater gift.
I define psychological wealth as having many more positive-weighted life experiences than negative. If we aren't the psychologically wealthiest people who ever lived, it is our fault.
Historically, up to half of all children died before age five. In one Boston, Indiana family, a cholera epidemic killed the parents and seven of their nine children in weeks. Imagine being the surviving kids or the adults who buried nine of their dead relatives. There was no "Love in the Time of Cholera."
What would it do to your head if you watched half your siblings die by age five and then watched your parents die crippled and in pain in their twenties? Death here, death there, death everywhere. And you know that fate awaits you and your kids! People's minds must have been truly messed up, almost from birth.
Fortunately, my reunion mates and I have experienced virtually none of that. We did well for ourselves. We also did great for the world.
Life expectancies for billions of people have roughly doubled since I was getting kicked out of high school for discipline problems. That is the greatest improvement in the human condition in history.
For you Critical Race Clowns, if you want to blame the current world conditions on racist White Americans...thank you. We are proud that we doubled the life expectancies of the world's poorest people "of color." What have you clowns done?
While saving countless other lives, my fellow grads have had almost a "psychological free ride through life." Our lives have been anything but "poor, nasty, brutish, and short."
Back to the reunion. Adding COVID politics to the reunion is a distraction. We are incredibly blessed just to be here.
Graduating high school, an immense societal resource commitment on nonproductive people, was rare until relatively recently. It was something only rich societies could afford.
Living an additional fifty years after high school is historically incredibly rare. The reunioners' time since graduating is probably twice the average human life expectancy before the rise of Western civilization.
How huge is the difference in psychological wealth, knowing you have a good shot at being 70 versus dying in your twenties?
Our focus at the reunion, and in our lives, should be on celebrating the joy and amazement of our incredibly rare lives while we can — not booster debates.
In case you haven't figured it out yet, this article is not about my high school reunion. It is about all of us living our lives, even in the time of COVID. We are living the greatest lives that have ever been lived in human history, and if that isn't the first thing we tell ourselves every morning, we're fools!
Image via Pexels.
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