The Sum of Our Fears….

The Sum of Our Fears…

As I mentally wander through the days between essays I am constantly on the lookout for things that interest me and hopefully you. I will jot down a note or a thought to come back to later. The latest list fills several dozen Post-its.Unknown-2.jpeg

I could address conspiracy theories, emergency equipment shortages, food supply chain screwups et al but a quick review of all things journalistic says I would have little to add to the fray. I am amazed at how many “experts” have popped up and how so many are contradictory to one   another. I think we can call that grasping at straws. 

Looking to myself I keep coming back to this thing called fear. In limited communication with my fellow men and women it is the thing I am most curious about. This varies greatly based on age and I guess personality. 

Fear is good if rational and dangerous if irrational. We size up a situation and decide if it is safe or not, or at least if it is worth taking the risk. Do I walk the long way around or do I run across six lanes of I 95 to get home quicker? That’s rational fear. Some of us even like the thrill of challenging the odds and the resulting adrenaline rush. Good for you. Unknown.jpeg

Irrational is a fear of something that does not exist or its possibility is so remote that it is of little actual consequence. You are afraid of rhinos. Cool, but how many times in your life will you run into a rhino wherever you call home. 

The key to understanding all this is knowledge. You determine a set of facts, lay them out in columns for and against and make a rational decision to avoid or deal with it. Sometimes facts are increasingly hard to find. 

It seems one of the great fears of life is groundlessness, a life careening out of control. We crave some sort of order and predictability. If there is indeed a danger, there is some sort of time frame during which you will have to endure discomfort. Ergo the perceived relief today that life may in some respects get back to normal. But does it?

Our world seems hell bent on taking all the uncertainties out of life. We have come up with predicted scenarios where you can fall off a bike, spend too much time in the sun, hedge your portfolio, eat poorly…yadda, yadda, and we will fix it. 150 ounces of prevention. images-9.jpegI am not saying this is wrong but we have also become somewhat obsessive.  

Constant fear is plain and simply bad. Adrenalin is nice once in awhile but constant stress can rip your insides to shreds. As we proceed down the COVID highway we actually get used to it. We figure out ways to deal with it. The numbers blur and we become numb to the gory photos. There is a sense of contentment in that in some strange way we are getting back the control over our lives that we crave so much. We are making do.  

The ultimate fear and maybe what drives all of this is that of death. Preserving one’s mortality is a worthwhile cause but to what extent? Prior to Wuhan we waxed eloquently about the possibility of living to 150. We will do anything and everything to continue on, but what is that life like?

 I enjoy a cocktail and an occasional cigar. TTG, don’t you realize you are shortening your lifespan by up to 3 years? Yes I do and I have decided the prospect of living to even 90 in a hermetically sealed and totally nutritious state sucks. I will not be profligate but I am going to have some fun. Do I really want my grandkids to look lovingly at me while I am somewhat comatose and drooling? Spare me. I am just not that afraid. 

We were convinced we had a perfect world. The world of AI and self driving cars have made our dreams come true. We wanted everything delivered to our door in two hours but now we yearn to go to a store. We have Skype, Zoom and FaceTime to facilitate our interactions but it does not  come anywhere near pressing the flesh. I want you to respect my space but it would be fabulous to give you a hug. Be careful what you wish for. 

Whether it is addressing fear or our daily routine we have to take a look at our lives. Somewhere we will be getting back to normal whatever that might be in the future. There is a marvelous outcome that could occur, but I am not sure it is in us. 

9/11 shook us to our core.reuters39_RTR2LVZB.jpg We looked around at the wasteland and took stock. We went to church and flew Old Glory from every eave and parapet and windshield. We were one but it was so fleeting. We created barriers as moats and the TSA, however imperfect, gave us a sense of security. Then we retreated for the most part to our old ways. Happy Day Were Here Again.

We have been hit once more. A super terrorist microorganism has brought the entire world to its knees. Guards in PPE gear will replace airport security as they search our bodies instead of our luggage. Thermal imaging will be the new body scanners. They will pull you out of line for further screening and questioning. All in the hopes of making people feel safe. 

I don’t have a particular fear of all this. Respect yes, fear no. I am not particularly heroic but I also do not consider myself a wimp. Maybe it is my age but maybe those years have brought me just a touch of wisdom. Think of the bullets we all have dodged. We are incredibly lucky to have gotten this far. So many never did. 

Enjoy life even if isolated. Call a friend or write a note. Read a book or listen to music. Life as we knew it will come back in some form. Maybe that is what I am afraid of .

As always

Ted The Great 


I have done a bit of research on the  figures of 30%-80% of people on ventilators dying. We just don’t know and anecdotal evidence should not be considered scientific. 

South Korea has been very successful in preventing the spread of COVID19. People on the streets, subways and stores pass through thermal imaging to determine if they have a fever. They then get further testing. This type of monitoring would never be allowed in the US. Should it?images-12.jpeg

Herd immunity. If a large percentage of people in a city or state have antibodies against Corona, from prior infection, then the virus is less likely to spread. This is why antibody testing is the theory of the moment. 

There is no cure for the Corona virus. It is hoped that therapeutic treatment as exists now with AIDS will help people live with it. 

There is a distinct possibility that a tech at the Wuhan center for virus research contracted the COVID 19 sometime on November and then spread to others. This would disprove the conspiracy theory as well s the “Wet Market”  but make China complicit in hiding the knowledge of such a contagion. 

Ethically Speaking…

The Coronavirus gets you thinking in so many ways. At first it is something from another part of the world . Even when it comes home to roost it is something in Washington state or New Orleans. Then little by little it shuts down just about every aspect of your life. You play by the rules, but why? 

When the good times are rolling we don’t give much thought to the outcomes of our daily actions. We don’t make life and death decisions except when you are going for the green in two..or three. You try to be a good citizen of your state and country and life goes on. Then in a matter of weeks all that changes. 

Unknown-2.jpegI got to thinking of the myriad of situations where ethics now enter into the conversation. What? Right here in LaLa Land? You bet and in every metropolis and burgh throughout our fair nation. How we react tells us a lot about ourselves and our country. 

It would be so easy just to hunker down and wait until this thing blows over. Sure I will see the nightly tallies and be concerned but it is still too far away to affect me. We are in a bubble both figuratively and physically. Yet open your eyes and look around you. It is closer than you think. 

In the simplest sense how do you handle social distancing? Do you play games about washing your hands? If there are supplies in the store do you stock up or think of someone else? images-3.jpegThe toilet paper thing is bizarre but this is the way some people think. I got mine. Hope you do too but it is every man or woman for themselves.

Let’s get out of the mundane and think about treatment. I spent the morning reading several articles on bioethics. Respirators are in short supply. When the rubber meets the road do you give it to a 30 year old dad with three kids or a failing septuagenarian, if all you have is one? It has been described as a war and it is. Do we use battlefield triage? We would love to be egalitarians but what if we can save more lives by meting out according to specific criteria? That’s a tough one. 

We have all witnessed the Captain of the Teddy Roosevelt aircraft carrier. Some will say he was a brave man and others will chastise him for not relying on his oath and the chain of command. It is ironic that he was just diagnosed with COVID 19 a few days after his dismissal. It is so easy to feel this way or that but is it really such a cut and dried situation? What if it were you? Unknown-5.jpegHave you ever been in the berthing spaces aboard ship with 5,000 guys and some even using “hot “ bunks? It scares me to even think about it.

We have a “Can Do” philosophy in the United States. I have no doubt that whether it be weeks or months or even years we will beat this thing. We have done the same with SARS, Ebola and the Zica virus. Years ago typhoid, tuberculosis heralded the end of humanity. But until then we have to maximize our resources. We can not make 250,000 respirators magically appear. If everyone is to wear a mask we would need 330 million a day. Is that rational?

Ethics is defined as a moral philosophy or code of morals practiced by a person or group of people. How do we want to live our life as a person and as a community?  I think it begs contrasts. Am I a hoarder of necessities or am I a doctor on the front lines risking my own safety for others? Should I get my ass out of the chair and give blood or do I just say that is for someone else. 

Can I really say non violent criminals should be locked up and let the chips fall where they may? What about a person with Alzheimers in a nursing home? A poor person is more prone to have diabetes and other comorbidities so I guess they are at risk and really don’t need to be saved or at least have priority for certain types of equipment. 

Sorry to be so heavy duty but these times are not for the faint of heart. You can look the other way and I probably would not blame you. I am also not going to tell you I have all the answers. This thing caught us with our pants down. It’s absurd to think we should have had 250,000 ventilators or a hundred million masks at the ready. It is even more unreal that we don’t have to face up to some moral and ethical issues. You can’t kiss this owie and make it all better. 

To be perfectly honest all this thinking is quite a wake up call for me. Heretofore my stock portfolio or lack thereof has been most on my mind. The social implications of all this are indeed hard to fathom. Does our whole way of life change? Have we exposed the banality of our politics and our social interaction? Yikes TTG, what has gotten into you? A lot, I am afraid to say. 

In closing I am stupefied by the Texas governor suggesting the we old folk sacrifice ourselves for the sake of the economy and our children. Not worrying about me as an old fart as much as the fact this enters into any conversation. I am bewildered by Pelosi, McConnell, Shumer and Trump trying to figure out how to turn a disaster into an opportunity.  We all and I mean all of us have to be better than that. It’s a matter of personal ethics or at least I hope so.

As always

Ted The Great 


Respirators cost up to $50,000. images-2.jpegThere are 160,000 spread throughout the country. There are 12,700 in stockpile. 336,376 have tested positive for the virus to date. You do the math.


There are:

1.5 million people in nursing homes

2.3 million people in jail

550,000 in homeless shelters. 

925 rental units in Hunters Point South in NYC

Unknown-1.jpeg6 million people normally ride the NYC Subway System. (Cheek to cheek so to speak)

Emergency Rooms

In normal times there are 136 million visits per annum (40 visits per 100 citizens)

By State per 100

• California: 38

• Florida: 44

• Illinois: 41

• New York: 37

• Texas: 49