Early January, 2020, I got a Happy New Year email from an acquaintance in Milano. He, a well-known orthopedic surgeon and university professor. “Happy New Year, Stefano, and to your family. Have you heard, are you hearing about our new Chinese virus, exploding in Codogno? A COVID virus? Makes me wish I was a virologist, not a cutter.”

Even just two months later, as the world would become intimately acquainted with the scourge of COVID 19, I expect his altruism would have held on by righteous fingernails.

Within days of that email, as most of us, admittedly I was already late to the COVID picnic. Kinda like chasing a 12 cylinder Ferrari with a rusted-out, 1970 Pinto. By then, our old  buddy “19” was already doing 0 to 60 in mere nanoseconds. Yet, I forged ahead to write some stuff on COVID, specifically, the Italian experience and my theorizing about its genesis: a gift to the world from the Chinese-world-domination-long-game-players.

And, foolishly speculating on the future, my ignorance notwithstanding. Back then, in COVID terms — about when man/woman first began walking upright, I was characterized, at best, nuts. At worst a provocateur, an isolationist, blind Trumpian, racist, alarmist. And, finally, just a puke who had seen too many “B” movies. And that by people who knew me!

Full disclosure: I wrote all that stuff under a nom de plume, for the few who picked it up somewhere it might have been posted. Glory without the balls, I admit.

I heard about Wuhan, a “small” city of eight and a half million people in China. And then the thousands who fled—or were thrown out: Wuhan to Codogno (yes, that Codogno). And then the millions of Wuhanese who were unleashed on the world.

The single most efficient piece of warfare ever conducted in human history.

Eight million dead without the victor—yes, the VICTOR—having fired one eight cent bullet, much less spent billions of dollars of missiles and such. And human lives.

And incalculable quadrillions if not quintillions of dollars in damage to the economies of the WORLD.

And the most costly and ultimately unforgivable impact on the psyche and future of at least three living generations.

Fine piece of world-domination-chess.

My early—and now admittedly shallow fury on the “potential” of that COVID thing—demonstrates  how one can be absolutely accurate and wrong at the same time. Accurate as to its relevance. Entirely wrong about under-estimating the phenomenal Chinese “long-game”.

I imagine Sun Tzu averting his eyes in shame, having never anticipated being so entirely eclipsed by modern-day Chinese warriors.

As to chickens…

I was born and raised in communist Romania. I wrote some/much about all that in my book, Pimps Whores And Patrons Of Virtue, and elsewhere. There is a piece in the book that is apropos of what I am about to write. You know, the part where likely every unique population in the world makes jokes at the expense of other populations. Shamefully, in the US we make a lot of Polish jokes. Why, I wonder. I passed through Poland once or twice; I do not recall my hosts there telling any like jokes about Americans. Hmm. I reckon they tell some about Ukrainians and certainly Russians. The latter, well earned.

To stealing chickens.

There is an old, ugly, yet not entirely unfounded “story” about the recipe for making Romanian chicken soup: by Romanians, in Romania, yesteryear and beyond. Starts with: “First, you steal a chicken.” Certainly disparaging to an otherwise fine and generous people! [Romania has been and remains essentially anomalous: the people versus any of the leadership for the past hundred or more years, in that once hopeful, now struggling to become a third world country.]

When I was a boy, the poor people of that intrinsically really rich country, did not eat much chicken or meat. Much of the country experienced subsistence food, often enough. But for the elite—those would have been the Communist demi-Hitlers there—who always ate proverbial “steak.”

So… First, you steal a chicken. Then you panic. Because, stealing a chicken was a crime against the state, that, essentially owned all chickens. Might get you shot at dawn. Such was justice there.

First, we hear of COVID 19, Omicron, and likely-to-come COVID 20, 21, 22… 29, Omicron 2 or the varietal du jour come to mind.

Then, we panic! Panic feeds on itself mightily. It is a veritable, multi-dimensional Tsunami. Remarkably with social and political AFTER-EFFECTS, IN REAL TIME. There is a very real, natural oxymoron.

Then we engage in all manner of seppuku: social, economic, criminal and finally, the worst kind, emotional.

Pondering what we now know about COVID et al, to this day, and what may or may not be the accepted woke body of knowledge, let me reduce this to a question or two for my readers.

A couple smart people I know assert that descendants of COVID, Omicron and its brethren, may cause little more than mild flu-like symptoms. Some really smart people assert that that might be a good thing: natural immunity with little cost! So: how many people do you know who have not told you at least once in the past couple years that they got their miserable annual flu…

Just say’n.

Get your COVID shots. If sufficiently misguided, do not. Bitch vociferously about the absurd mask thing. And just about all of us will live to try to rehabilitate our children for the next decade or two. Beyond that, the more successful of those children will assure that their shrinks will be able to send their children to private schools.

With that, I think a toast to our collective health is in order. That is likely why God made Diet Mountain Dew.

©2022. Steven J. Manning. All rights reserved worldwide. Any reproduction in part or whole, in any medium whatsoever, is strictly prohibited.