Risky Business…

Johnny-on-the-Spot

One of the games that might make it into the National Toy Hall of Fame in Rochester, N.Y. Hall of Fame might be the game of “Risk”.

If it’s something you’ve never played, it’s a strategy board game involving diplomacy, conflict and conquest.

I find it interesting that the game of “Risk” is on the Toy Hall of Fame ballot in the year 2020, which has been all about risks.

The word “risk”, as a noun, is defined as “a situation involving exposure to danger.”

“Flouting the law was too much of a risk.”

The verb “risk” is defined to “expose (someone or something valued) to danger, harm or loss.”

“He risked his life to save his dog.”

This 2020 COVID-19 experience has always been about risks.

We are told by health officials to wear masks, stay 6 feet apart, wash our hands frequently and avoid lots of people in confined spaces.

They also tell us to wear our masks when we visit restaurants but we can remove them while we dine.

Common sense tells me that’s risky.

Statistics reveal to me that I’m at greater risk of harm driving to the restaurant than eating there with my mask off.

On the 19th anniversary of 911, I was reminded how we flocked to churches after the attack.

But when we’re attacked by the Chinese flu, you can’t go to church.

Some children can go to schools, other folks can go to football games…BUT…no one can go to a baseball game and the NBA plays in a “bubble”.

Are health and government officials using a Magic 8 Ball (which is in the Toy Hall of Fame”) or a dart board to determine strategy?

I hear from some who think I’m too flippant with my comments on the coronavirus.

They claim I would have a totally different response if I lost someone close to me due to the pandemic.

I haven’t.

But that’s why I’m not flippant when I remind you that significantly more Americans will die this year from heart disease than from this virus.

Cardiovascular disease will claim in the neighborhood of 650 thousand lives this year.

Heart disease claimed my Dad’s life (at 47), my uncle and now my oldest sister is recovering from a massive heart attack she suffered earlier this year.

I even had open heart surgery a few years ago to repair an anneurism on the ascending aorta of my ticker plus two blockages.

So I get the risk of that health malady.

Wanna talk about the #2 killer in America?

Cancer.

I’ve been dealing with skin cancers, including the deadliest form, melanoma, for the last 20 years.

Cancer will take the lives of nearly 600 thousand Americans this year.

Probably with those two factors impacting my health, I should be cowering in the fetal position, locked inside my house.

But I choose not to live my life that way.

I’ll wear my mask and use my mental tape measure to stay clear of strangers.

But I also realize that life is far from a “no risk” experience.

That’s one of our nation’s problems today.

I know some folks who have pretty much “cocooned” since March.

I’ll also bet they spend way too much time with the national news and social media.

A steady diet of that can distort your view, if you don’t consume it with an open mind.

I have never said the COVID-19 pandemic is not a health risk.

Early on, I told folks our response needed to be on a par with the risk.

However, I think at times, we’ve used a 5 gallon bucket of water to douse a match.

So, what do I have an issue with?

Allow me to answer that with this story.

On September 10th, 1813, during the War of 1812, American naval commander Oliver Hazard Perry earned a Congressional Gold Medal and the Thanks of Congress.

Why?

He lead the American naval forces in a battle against the British on Lake Erie.

Although this was a relatively small naval battle, it marked the first time in history that an entire British naval squadron had surrendered.

Perry’s battle flag was “Don’t give up the ship!”.

To honor the “Battle of Lake Erie” and the long lasting peace between we Americans, the Canadians and the British, a 352 foot tall doric column was erected.

It opened to the public in 1931 and the remains of three British and American sailors are buried beneath it.

Perry’s Monument is on the slender isthmus of South Bass Island, just 5 miles from the longest unprotected border in the world, between the U.S. and Canada.

When Perry captured the British flag in the conflict, he sent a message to General William Henry Harrison, stating, “We have met the enemy and they are ours.”

Years later cartoonist Walt Kelly’s character, Pogo stated in a 1970 Earth Day poster, “We have meet the enemy and he is us.”

So what do I have an issue with?

America, look in the mirror.

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