For the past two months, I feel like a cast member in a science fiction reality drama series called “When the World Stood Still.”
The star of this drama is a child villain, a man-child named “COVID-19,” better known as “Coronavirus’ to those he seeks to conquer. You see the story line goes something like this:
In a recent time, in a far-away ancient land of great size and great numbers, a child was born to parents unknown.
Abandoned at birth at a market, in the belly of this place, an elderly village couple, having had no children of their own, took him in. They believed that he was a special gift, so they gave him a special name, “COVID-19.” In a very short time, they realized that this child was not ordinary. He grew and matured rapidly. Within days he had the disposition of a grown man, i.e., man-child. His fingertips assumed the shape of a crown, or corona; and, within him was a deadly and mean spirit.
They discovered that COVID-19 had a special power to take a person’s breath with a single touch of his crowned fingers. His touch was so deadly and silent that if applied to someone’s hand, clothes, face, or anything that in turn would be touched, the man-child would begin to suck the life from that person by the taking of their breath. When the man-child mastered his power of touch, he gave himself the name “Coronavirus.”
After 14 days, he set out to use this deadly power to conquer world, first by a siege on the village in which he was abandoned, then attacking the nations to its north, then those west across the great oceans, until eventually every nation in the world and their people feared his name and the death for which he was known. The death that he brought was overwhelmingly harsh.
The nations fought feverishly to hold back his attacks, but at that time, the world had no defense to his deadly touch. Within months, civilization as we knew it came to a halt. Nation after nation retreated in fear, closing their borders, shuttering their factories and houses of worship, emptying their schools, grounding their ships and iron birds, ordering their peoples not to gather rather to stay in their homes, and to stay distances from one another. Panic filled humanity. Markets of commerce and finance tumbled. That is when the world stood still.
In real life, as in the reality drama just described, we know that the Coronavirus/COVID-19 saga is far from over. We also know that where there is a villain, there must be a hero. While the hero class is still emerging as the drama plays on, the undisputed hero regardless of the ending is the men and women who work in healthcare around the world — doctors, nurses, emergency medical technicians, physician’s assistants, medical assistants, community health center workers, emergency room and other hospital personnel and other healthcare professionals on the frontline of this fight.
Other persons are either supporting characters, extras or those who help to put the production together. Time will tell which role each of us will be required to play and when. The key is to know your role, accept it and play it well.
The days, weeks and months ahead will require extensive soul searching and tough decisions. The way of life that we grew up with, that our parents and grandparents handed down to us or that we may have envisioned for ourselves, our children and their children, may never return.
Perhaps the world is standing still so that each of us, in our solitude, can figure out how to be better versions of ourselves. Just remember to wash your hands, cover your cough or sneeze, stay home, practice social distancing, and continue to be a blessing!
Moleto A. Smith Jr., St. Thomas resident