Doctors Derek Poteryko and Marcia Fukunaga demonstrate the recommended social distancing of two metres in a news release issued by the Nanaimo Division of Family Practice about the importance of combating coronavirus spread and how to do it. (Photo submitted)

Rickter Scale: Keep safe, keep calm, keep your distance

The Rickter Scale is a regular column

Rick Stiebel/Columnist

You, me, us, and them are now linked forever by five letters and two digits we will never forget.

COVID-19 has trapped us all in the jaws of an invisible monster that walks among us for now and an indefinite future. It’s covered us in a cloud of stress woven from cactus needles and burrs that’s left us with an itch we cannot scratch. We are not completely powerless in its path, but we must strive now more than ever to adhere to the advice from those who devote their lives to studying how to stamp out the spread of disease.

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That advice is directed in particular from a distance to the five young teens in the bandshell at Ed MacGregor Park last week sharing a couple of bongs. Even if they mistakenly believe youth has wrapped them in an invincible shield, their blatant display of stupidity puts everyone they come in contact with in a heightened state of anxiety. Same goes for those who figured the weekend was the perfect time to throw a party in their home, the bush, or anywhere.

Unfortunately, there’s a segment of society that doesn’t care enough about themselves to show the slightest regard for those around them.

Based on that behaviour of the thoughtless who walk among us, it’s time the rest of us amped up the messaging; perhaps something scarier-sounding like anti-social distancing would be a good start. Maybe we need to start issuing fines to those who choose to ignore common sense, even on smaller levels. It may sound drastic, but it’s not that many links up the chain from the full-blown martial law that awaits us if we don’t ramp up efforts to stop the spread of this runaway train.

Have a talk with everyone you know to reinforce how precious they are and how sadly different and empty your life would be without them.

Where would we be without those who sell us groceries, fill our prescriptions and supply the salves of pot and booze (depending on your priorities)?

And let those people putting themselves under increased risk know how much you appreciate their efforts, from a safe distance, of course. We will persevere, we will get through this – somehow, some way – and come out on the other side worse for wear, but wiser.

In the meantime, I hope you find some comfort and wisdom in the words of a song by the Youngbloods called “Get Together” that my mother loved to listen to many, many years ago in times no less difficult and challenging as the one we’ll wake up to tomorrow.

“Some may come and some may go, we shall surely pass,

when the one that left us here returns for us at last.

We are but a moment’s sunlight, fading in the grass.

You hold the key to love and fear, all in your trembling hand.

Just one key unlocks them both, it’s there at your command.”

Rick Stiebel is a semi-retired local journalist.

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