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I can’t remember if it was a philosopher or comedian that once said that the only reason the Earth continues to populate has to do with the direct correlation with the female of the species and their complete inability to remember pain. But like I said, I can’t remember where I heard it. If it was a philosopher then it’s so incredibly deep in a humbling way. If it was a comedian, it’s so incredibly deep in a humbling way — followed by applause.

But as I sit here thinking about the terror March 2020 brought, you would have thought we learned something. All the “hopey” sentiment that was tossed around social media that constantly reminded us of what we lost. The overdrive of sentimental memes to embrace what you have and never let it go. All the things we do when we’re scared, when we have no idea when and if it’s going to end and how. Couple that with an administration at the time that was so inept it’s amazing that any of us made it out alive, then you would think you’ve got a recipe for humility and gratefulness, but we don’t. We haven’t changed a blessed thing, we’re still out there acting like idiots emboldened that we’ve survived a global pandemic. I would like to take a moment to say that, through this entire thing I was still going to the store to get my seltzer that I like. So, if you’re one of those “I slayed the COVID dragon,” like you survived something like the movie “Contagion,” I want you to know that I like the lime seltzer and wrapping the equivalent of a t-shirt around my face made that happen.

As Americans are quickly awaiting herd immunity to hit, we’re starting to plan things again, maybe we’ve even ventured inside to a restaurant to eat. The muscle memory is slowly returning to what I referred to as the time before (2019). But along with that muscle memory comes some of the things that we wish we could have left behind. For instance, random shootings. I can’t believe that these are popping back up in the news again. Yes, they happened in “lockdown,” but let’s face it, it wasn’t with the frequency we’re seeing now. May 9 – seven dead in Colorado Springs; the same day one dead four injured in Phoenix; May 8 – four dead and one injured; May 7 – two dead and three injured. I didn’t even list them all. In three days, 14 dead and eight injured. For what? For nothing, and all of them gun violence!

So, rejoice, it looks like you’ll survive coronavirus. If you somehow actually contracted the virus, I’m glad you’re still around. The last 13 months should have shown us a few things. We should have all emerged kinder to one another, more grateful, and certainly I don’t think it’s unrealistic that we should all have been a little humbled by the experience. All you have to do is look at all the High School and College Seniors from 2020 that had their right of passage yanked away from them. All the big interruptions of annual events from fairs to marathons, all cancelled in 2020. Weddings postponed, big anniversary and birthday celebrations canceled, the list goes on. Yet, it would seem that we haven’t learned anything.

I do think it’s wonderful that the species is resilient, and we can bounce back from a huge blow like this, don’t get me wrong. I also think a few of us have come out of this completely changed. But not enough of us have stepped back and thought, “That was a close one, we need to make sure that never happens again.” But maybe that’s not a realistic expectation, perhaps a little pie in the sky, and as we all rush to get back to our 2019 lives, let’s do this: Let’s just bring the parts back that we liked and leave behind the parts we didn’t, the ones that caused us pain. That could mean something different for everyone, but we can at least try.

Peter “Fish” Case is a man with an opinion. He offers up a weekly podcast discussion that can be heard at Questions, compliments and complaints can be sent to him at The opinions expressed by columnists do not necessarily reflect the views of the Brattleboro Reformer.