I used to think the title of the Beatles’ song, “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds,” meant Lucy was taking diamonds into the sky. But now I think it means Lucy is going into a sky that already has diamonds. I changed my mind about this after I realized why the air in my Bay Area home feels different. It has sparkles in it! The natural beauty here is covered in a light that our proximity to the ocean makes glittery.
I recently came across a reminder of a simple act of defiance that changed history. In 1517, Martin Luther tacked a document called the 95 Theses to the door of the Wittenburg Castle church. The 95 Theses questioned the foundations of the all-powerful Catholic church. Most specifically, the document challenged the church’s practice of “indulgences,” payments made by believers as a way to enter heaven. Indulgences empowered the church and enriched the church elite, mostly at the expense of the poor.
When I was 11, my mother said, apparently out of the blue, “You know, sometimes we don’t know how we are going to pay all the bills. When that happens, your dad and I write a check to the homeless shelter. It reminds us how fortunate we are.” I am still thanking her for that expression of my parents’ sense of community and humanity. Continue reading
Some people are actually happy about the current situation. They aren’t profiting from other people’s anxiety or misery, and they don’t think this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for epidemiological research. Best of all, they understand whatever we are feeling and will do their best to make us feel better.
Lots of talk these days about masks and not in a good way….Masks seem to have become a symbol of failed leadership. This is another one of those deals where, if we aren’t paying attention, the moment could change our associations with something that is more than a technical solution to a public health problem.
The human mind is interesting for soooo many reasons. One is the power of association. Our brains take short cuts so we don’t have to analyze every single situation every single time. So, for example, if you are at your favorite outdoor cafe eating lasagna when a cat throws up on your shoe, you may choose pizza the next time you go to that cafe. And your brain may be making this decision for you even if you don’t know it. Guessing this is why I never returned to my favorite Thai restaurant after I found a giant cockroach in my pad ke mow.
When I was in high school, “alternative” radio stations were starting up. KPPC in Pasadena was one of the first and, at the time, its programming was revolutionary. While most radio stations were playing 15 pop songs 100 times a day, KPPC was mixing rock and pop with jazz, classical, international, blues and folk. My favorite KPPC program was 50 pieces of music about birds.
Some people say it’s too late, that people are breaking the rules, that the whole thing is just political. But I believe the experts, having been one myself who was not believed 😁. So, for example, I won’t touch anyone.
I also believe the United States of America is on a serious time-out. “You just sit there for awhile and think about whether you want to leave your kids this mess you’ve made. Do you think all they care about is buying stuff when the whole world is turning into a giant cesspool? Well? Do you?”