COVID-19 is far from being over. Although the United States has only 4 percent of the world’s population, it has 25 percent of coronavirus cases.
As Americans, we pride ourselves at being number one. Well, we’re well on our way to being there with this virus. While most countries are flattening the curve, ours is spiking.
Why? We Americans are stubborn. We don’t want anybody telling us what to do. We think we are invincible. You hear, “how dare you ask me to wear a mask or avoid crowds.”
I saw a picture on Facebook of a kid with this message, “So me, wearing a bulletproof backpack to school with metal detectors, armed guards and routine mass-shooter drill is the price of freedom…But you, wearing a mask in Walmart for 10 minutes is ‘tyranny’?”
We set bad examples. For example, all scientists and doctors are telling us to wear a mask, but even our president refuses to wear one. If he wore one most of his followers would do the same.
This virus is affecting everybody in a negative way. This brings me to a story of what I thought was one of my worst summers, that is, until now.
I was 17-years-old and had just graduated from high school. I had my mind set on going to Midwestern Broadcasting School in Chicago. I had received a brochure from them and I had dreams of being a broadcast announcer and working in radio. It was 1957 and radio was king.
As a senior in high school, Phil Taylor and I had talked the management at radio station WCTT into letting us play rock n’ roll music every Saturday morning on a program we called “Teenage Platter Party.” It was the only rock music played at the station at that time.
I had this idea of going to Chicago to school. I had never been to a city larger than Louisville, and the idea of going by myself to the big city intimidated me. Thus, I dropped that idea.
It was summer and I had no plans. My dad was a highway contractor. He and Buckner Hinkle from Paris, Ky. were partners in highway construction and they had won the bid to build rest areas along the new Interstate 75 in Ohio. That state was one of the first in the nation to construct Interstate highways.
My dad offered me a job as a laborer. It was in Piqua, Ohio. I felt I had no choice but to take him up on the offer.
My awful summer started by having to ride with my parents in a pickup truck to Piqua. It was about a six-hour journey. You can imagine the humiliation I felt as a teenager.
The first day on the job my dad took me to a shed in an open field, handed me tools to take the chains off of anchors that would be put in concrete for picnic tables. Then he left. There wasn’t a house in sight, just open fields. I know it was the longest day in my life.
The next day was better. I joined a crew of six men on the job site. I carried rebar, vibrated concrete, set fence posts and did men’s work. It was hard work. We started at six in the morning and worked until three in the afternoon.
It was the summer that changed my life. There I was, alone in a strange city and working as a common laborer. All my friends were going to college. I had to do something, so I called information for the telephone number at the University of Kentucky. I wanted to enroll for the upcoming year.
For the summer I made almost $1,000, and that was enough to pay my way through college that year. I learned to cope with it and work in the summers each year to finance my college education.
I was thinking the summer of 1957 was the worst, that is, until this summer. With the coronavirus and all the other things going on, this may be the worst. I like how Serena Williams, the tennis star, put it…
“I’m sick of COVID-19. I’m sick of black vs. white. I’m sick of Democrats vs. Republicans. I’m sick of gay vs. straight. I’m sick of Christians vs. atheists. I’m really sick of the media. I’m sick of no one being allowed to think what they want & feel what they do without offending someone. I sick of nosey people who call the cops when anyone does anything they don’t approve of. I am sick of blaming the whole for the sins of a few.”
It, by far, is not the best of times. Listen to the experts and follow their advice. Better times are just around the corner.