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A really neat thing about humans is how we’re all so different but manage to live on this big ball levitating through space like it’s going to make three points.

Some people worship money, some worship their own reflection, some worship their mate, others balk at worshipping anything.

Some people grow tomatoes, herbs and peppers, others think of gardening as outdoor housework. If we were all the same there would be no reason for Facebook.

The news said the other night that humans aren’t designed to be alone and that the social withdrawal we’re experiencing will have lingering aftershocks because it’s all so… unexpected.

Yes, we weren’t prepared for what we never anticipated. Americans have personal warehouses crammed with guns and ammo, chests of money buried out back under the chinkapin and cupboards plump with beans and rice.

That weird preparation isn’t getting us anywhere because something, somewhere, let a virus loose. Maybe a bat that did it after eating an infected something else. Maybe the virus has been here all the time, since the big bang, waiting for there to be enough of us so sloppy with hygiene that we simply wore our immune systems out before we needed them.

We know that as ordinary world citizens, there’s not a thing we can do about what has already happened. We also know that if we don’t, who will?

This country has been through a lot of extraordinary, public goofs ever since the Anasazi, the Vikings, or some intrepid group of travelers thought, “Sweet. We could live here for a long, long time.” They took whatever they were big enough to take and didn’t give much thought to viruses.

But viruses ruled.

This current pandemic is similar to smallpox that Europeans brought over on the boat. It was spread through close contact, infected blankets, and respiratory droplets. Thirty percent of people who contracted smallpox died.

There was no vaccine until Edward Jenner heard about a milkmaid who caught cowpox while she was milking, and never caught smallpox. Jenner figured if he could put some of the cow’s pox into a human, the human wouldn’t die of smallpox. It was his guess at triggering an immune response.

We humans have been through a lot, we go through a lot, but one of our talents is keeping things in perspective. When we use our heads for figuring things out, we seem to come back to the same thing – clean air, clean water, clean dirt (?), clean thinking and clean living work well for us.

We’ve come a long way this year, from wondering what the big deal about toilet paper was to buying and wearing masks and steering clear of crowds – none of that is like us, but we did it. Not because it was a law, but because we saw value in not getting sick or making anyone else sick.

We are succeeding in making our lives better without making anyone else’s worse, and we’re entertaining new ways of life.

It seems to me that in this solstice time of long nights, cold weather and unreliable tomorrows, we can feel noble knowing our worth is measured by our spirit, and honestly, isn’t that what Christmas smothering is about?

Or do we simply understand that we have to walk far to get somewhere special?

Hope we all get sturdy shoes for Christmas.

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