The word of the day is “unprecedented.” Common usage lately has been to describe the health and economic impact of the virus which shall not be named. As far as global health crises go, it’s fair to say that here in America, during our lifetimes, yes, this has been unprecedented.
The same cannot be said for many other places of the world who have had to endure similar events over the past few decades. For them, this is just the latest in the pandemic series.
So then, “unprecedented” is the word of choice for this place and this particular situation. But its usage has become so overused and overblown that tv reporters, advertisers and others are desperate to find alternatives that will still carry the same weight and convey a similar meaning. And they are getting creative.
“These are crazy times.” I heard that message recently in place of “unprecedented.” That’s for sure, these are certainly crazy times. But I would have said that even before the pandemic reached us. Crazy has been the “new normal” for quite a while now.
Another alternative statement is “These are uncertain times.” Well, that could be a fair assessment. Or another, “we’re all in uncharted territory.” I love a good map reference, even though I find the maps themselves can be hard to fold.
Sticking with the uncharted territory analogy, here we are trying to find our way down an unknown road. We have been provided guidelines to help us navigate, along with using our own common sense. And I do believe we are getting there, albeit slower than anyone might have imagined.
There are also the positive statements that go along with the “unprecedented” messages, e.g., that “we are all in this together.” To a certain extent, I suppose that’s true. We are all reliant upon each other to do what’s necessary to protect not only ourselves but others in our lives. Still, I don’t believe that everyone has borne their share of the burden, and higher risk individuals are the ones who will most likely pay the price.
Another common positive message is “pulling together means pulling apart.” I’ve heard that statement used several times. “Pulling apart” actually sounds painful. And, you know, it has been. Recent efforts in our community to try to return some normalcy have felt great. But then in the midst of that effort, both locally and statewide, our cases are on the rise. I haven’t heard of any direct connection with these local events and the rise of cases, but prudence would suggest a close evaluation to make sure that local events don’t add to our problem.
Look, there isn’t a lot to say that’s light-hearted about this situation. That the “unprecedented” messaging has been overdone to the point of annoyance is one thing. But the rising numbers are something else entirely and can’t be ignored.
However, it is communicated, packaged, crafted, etc., I hope that we all pull apart, come together, find our way, avoid the crazy and just make the most of these unprecedented and uncertain times.
Johnny McNally is Grimes County’s Best Dressed Businessman advocating for Grimes County and writes a bi-weekly column for the Navasota Examiner.