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Movies, God, Vodka

Being stuck in the house provides me with ample opportunity to ponder those issues I would have otherwise never even thought about prior to this pandemic. For instance, I wonder how many divorce lawyers are salivating while waiting for their phone to ring as the number of days spouses are confined together keeps growing. Particular attention should be paid to those couples who now find it amusing to write, “REDRUM” on the bedroom wall while their partner is showering.

I also find that during this stressful time, I tend to spend an inordinate amount of time seeking out those world leaders who think outside the box for ways to combat this problem. Case in point, in the Eastern European country of Belarus, borders remain open, quarantines are non-existent, and President Alexander Lukashenko remains unmoved by the Coronavirus pandemic. Lukashenko has refused to implement a lock-down in the country of roughly 9.5 million people, reportedly suggesting that others have done so as an act of “frenzy and psychosis.” Instead, President Lukashenko is encouraging his citizens to drink vodka (unless working) and visit the sauna at least twice a week to stay healthy. In no way am I endorsing this politician’s prophylaxis, but I do admire his socially conscious admonishment for imbibing while at work.

With the falling price of oil, the price of a gallon of unleaded gasoline in our area has also fallen almost 11% from where it was this time last year. Thus, we are faced with a glut of inexpensive gas for our cars which, unfortunately, all sit idly parked on empty streets due to the “stay at home” edict in place to combat the spread of the Coronavirus. Adding insult to injury, we have also foolishly seen fit to allow the extinction of the grand American entertainment tradition of the drive-in movie theater. All I could think about was the old cliché: “all dressed up with nowhere to go.” 

Now, I am not an overly religious individual but, as a veteran of a Catholic school education (the Sisters of Charity in elementary school and the Christian Brothers in high school), I find that I tend to leave all my options open regarding the actual presence of a Supreme Being (aka: Big Kahuna in the sky) who may be keeping a tally of all my misdeeds while engaged in this big reality show we call life. Speaking quite frankly, I must admit that, if God really does exist, then He (or She) really does have a rather morbid sense of humor.

My 70th birthday is fast approaching next week, and I have decided that I will spend the entire day watching those movies that reflect the uncertainty of our time. I have squirreled away copies of “The Shining,” “Contagion,” “The Seventh Seal,” “Outbreak,” “The Flu, Carriers,” “Panic in the Streets,” and finally, one of my favorites, Disney’s “Chicken Little.” Everyone questions my last choice but if you really pay attention, the moral of the traditional Chicken Little story is to have courage, even when it feels like the sky is falling. 

Nevertheless, truth be told, on my birthday I may also borrow from the remedy proffered by President Alexander Lukashenko but, instead of vodka, I may substitute some real Irish potato whiskey or Poitin.

Stay safe.

Broad Channel, why would anyone want to live anywhere else?

By Petter Mahon

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