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My wife and I were sitting on our front porch Labor Day evening sipping wine when two of our neighbors (who were strolling down the street) saw us and cut across our yard. When they got in speaking distance they asked, “Have you been paying attention to what our Governor and the Chancellor of the UW-Madison have been doing and saying?”
In Thiensville almost all the neighbors are very smart. So I smiled sweetly and responded, “It is a holiday weekend and I have been trying not to think of them…what fresh abominations have they espoused and/or perpetrated?”
“They blame our kids and us for spreading Covid-19 even though we have all been mask wearing and social distancing and everyone knows the spread is inevitable!” exclaimed the wife.
“Well you won’t hear me defending either Evers or Blank,” I declared cheerfully. I hoped that would make them happy but it didn’t. They kept staring at me like they wanted me to say more so I added, “People like that normally end up in Dante’s Inferno boiling in a pot of oil.”
That made the neighbors laugh and I thought to myself “what the Hell, it is Labor Day!” So I asked them if they would like some wine (they said yes) and after I poured it for them they sat down with us on the porch.
I tried to veer the conversation onto something more pleasant than a frank discussion of the character, mental attributes, judgment, and final destiny of Evers and Blank, two persons who have matched up poorly against the current crises, but my neighbors didn’t want to talk about the changing weather. Instead the two of them (whose children attend UW schools) interrupted my attempted small talk and asked, “Van, do you think it makes sense for the UW to impose a bunch of rules to prevent kids from being kids in a futile effort to stop the spread of covid-19?”
“Ha!” exclaimed Susan, my wife. “You are talking to the man who coined the phrase “there are three kinds of people in the world, those who have had it, those who have it, and those who are going to get it.” Van thinks trying to stop the virus at this point is the equivalent of spitting in the breeze – and that it is unconscionable to disrupt or sacrifice scarce and time-sensitive life opportunities in such a hopeless effort.”
The neighbors looked at me closely, like they were waiting for me to speak for myself.
“The odds of stopping the spread,” I winked at them, “are roughly similar to the odds of convincing UW students to forego keg parties. We are very fortunate the lethality of the thing is extremely miniscule for all but a tiny fraction of our population.”
We all laughed at the futility of Blank’s efforts to prevent UW students from planning and executing keg parties. “Keep it up, Blank,” laughed somebody, “and you will go down in history as the most despised Chancellor ever – plus the biggest failure – because you attempted to annihilate fun on the altar of an impossible and unscientific objective.”
“If you were Governor you would put a stop to this nonsense wouldn’t you, Van?” somebody else asked.
“If I were Governor I would do more to protect the vulnerable and would defend the people’s right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Life is short enough as it is, and our lives have been impeded long enough by the misbegotten mandates, orders, and directives promulgated by the clueless “Leaders” who plague our great state,” I said coldly.
After our neighbors left my wife said, “The people are moving on.”
“Yes,” I agreed. “The leaders had better catch up.”
–Mobley is president of Thiensville.