Self Isolate, Master Jack…


4 Jacks and a Jill

In 1964, a South African folk-rock ensemble was formed.

Originally, an all-guy foursome, they chose the name “The Nevadas”.

They were the first group in South Africa with long hair which became the rage in the 60’s.

Later they became “The Zombies” which should not be confused with the Rod Argent-led  British group that hit it big with “Time of the Season”.

This group added a gal and they became “4 Jacks and a Jill”.

In 1968, they had a song that made it to #18 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and also #3 on the U.S. Adult Contemporary charts, which was topped by Paul Mauriat’s “Love is Blue”.

Remember that?

Well, “4 Jacks and a Jill” had a brief moment in the sunshine with the song, “Master Jack”.

“It’s a strange, strange world we live in, Master Jack.

You taught me all I know and I’ll never look back.

It’s a strange, strange word and I thank you, Master Jack”.

$ Jacks and a Jill are your poster children for “One Hit Wonders”.

However, they did get a mention in the movie, “This is Spinal Tap”.

Today, “4 Jacks and a Jill” come off like prophets.

It is a strange, strange world we live in, Master Jack.

The other day, my wife got a hankering for a baked potato.

I popped in two different establishments and it seemed as though I was preceded by vultures and dingoes.

Especially in the paper aisle.

I’m letting the grass grow long in the backyard if we run out of TP so I’ll be able to “scoot in the high grass” if necessary.

Leads me to believe that the cute blue Charmin bear family and Mr. Whipple might be the culprits behind this coronavirus “panic buying” thing we’ve seen.

No potatoes either.

The professionals tell us that purchasing products in bulk gives us a sense of control over our situation  and helps us release some pent-up anxiety.

Some folks are buying lots now so they won’t have to come back for some time, in case they can’t or aren’t allowed to.

I just hope we don’t have a big snowstorm to further incite the hoarders.

I mean, after all, if you read it on Facebook, it must be true!

Therein lies a big part of the “panic” issue.

In 1997, “Six Degrees” was the first “social media.

In 1999, we had the first blogging site.

In the early 2000’s, “My Space” and “Linked In” became part of the new norm, followed in 2006 by “Facebook” and “Twitter”.

All neat concepts until lots of folks just assumed that everything they read was based on fact and truths.

Freedom of expression can be abused.

Someone needs to create a “BS filter” for social media.

A couple of months ago, who knew or cared about COVID-19? Coronavirus?

A couple of weeks ago, were you concerned about “self isolation” or “social distancing”?

Did you have any idea what either was in the first place?

By the way, why is there a “politically correct”  way to refer to this malady?

Despite the fact that it got started in a Chinese province,  some think it’s improper or “racist” to refer to it as “Wuhan Flu”.

I remember reading about the Spanish flu in my history lessons, I’ve experienced Asian flu, Swine flu (I still like bacon!)  and even German measles.

Don’t recall if Frank Perdue or the Colonel got ticked when we came down with “chicken pox”.

If it looks like a duck and sounds like a duck, to me, the verdict is in.

Wuhan flu.

While I always think it’s wise to be “safe than sorry”,  I was still unsettled, at times, by the “herd mentality” when it came to making decisions.

I almost felt as many decisions were driven by fear of a “social media backlash” or a bit of “keeping up with the Joneses”.

Clearly, a lot of this is driven by the fact that we live in a “litigious” society”.

We’re “unreasonably prone to go to law to settle disputes’.

If my numbers are right, here in America we have 1.35 million lawyers which is 15% higher that 10 years ago.

That figures out to one attorney for every 25 hundred of us.

By comparison, with a pandemic pressing down on us, we have about 1.1 million physicians in this country, 160,000 of them inactive and 55,000 unclassified.

If your nose starts running tomorrow, who you gonna call?

Not Ghostbusters!

Understand, I would not want to be heading up the organization that didn’t shut down and heaven forbid, someone comes down with COVID-19.

You’d be hammered,  it’s just that easy.

I’m also concerned in times like these we are are driven by the feeling that we need to do something and fast and not taking time for a bigger picture perspective.

Shortly after the events of September 11th. 2001, I remember a friend of mine, whose opinion I hold in high regard said, “We must be careful making decisions in the heat of the battle that might have long-term negative results”.

Author Mark Lane wrote a book, “Rush to Judgement” regarding the Warren Commission’s investigation into the murder of President John F. Kennedy.

President Lyndon Baines Johnson appointed this group,  headed by Earl Warren,  the Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court.

This body was charged to action just 7 days after the assassination.

Lane’s contention was the commission was probably pressured to come to conclusions that he felt were shaky, at best.

I remember my Father saying more than 50 years ago  Americans don’t like to believe we can have conspiracies like other nations have had throughout history.

But public and political pressures demanded answers…quickly…so we could put all the nastiness behind us and move on.

No, I’m not saying Wuhan flu is a hoax or conspiracy but let’s be careful how we deal with it, especially legislatively.

Closing schools, washing hands, things like that make good medical sense but be wary of some things advanced in the name of health and/or safety.

Finally, let’s all remember that life comes with risks.

I don’t think that’s all bad.

We Americans have always been risk-takers.

Hey! Pilgrims, let’s climb aboard this rickety boat and sail to a new land to avoid religious prosecution.

Hey! John Hancock, let’s sign this piece of paper and basically tell England to “buzz off”.

Hey! Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Cooper, climb in this space capsule (made by the lowest bidders) and go to the moon.

But, Americans today need to be smart risk-takers.

So, I’ll stay at home, wash my hands and sing “Happy Birthday” 3 times and remember not to sneeze on my co-worker.

Strange times indeed, Master Jack.


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