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The non-legal guide to surviving the Coronavirus

Published

2020

Fri

24

Apr

 

Soon after the WHO declared COVID-19 a pandemic, and the declaration of the National Disaster, there was an outbreak of legal  and other publications, some more helpful than others, dealing with COVID-19, the law, the end of the world, and surviving the Coronavirus.

The law does not hold all the answers. You could seek guidance from a letter supposedly written by F. Scott Fitzgerald (no, not really) “Letter from Quarantine

 

“Dearest Rosemary,

It was a limpid dreary day, hung as in a basket from a single dull star. I thank you for your letter. Outside, I perceive what may be a collection of fallen leaves tussling against a trash can. It rings like jazz to my ears. The streets are that empty. It seems as though the bulk of the city has retreated to their quarters, rightfully so. At this time, it seems very poignant to avoid all public spaces. Even the bars, as I told Hemingway, but to that he punched me in the stomach, to which I asked if he had washed his hands. He hadn’t. He is much the denier, that one. Why, he considers the virus to be just influenza. I’m curious of his sources.

The officials have alerted us to ensure we have a month’s worth of necessities. Zelda and I have stocked up on red wine, whiskey, rum, vermouth, absinthe, white wine, sherry, gin, and lord, if we need it, brandy. Please pray for us.”

More cerebral and uplifting is the writing of Catherine M. O’Meara, published on 16 March 2020:

 

In the Time of Pandemic

And the people stayed home.

And they read books, and listened, and rested, and exercised, and made art, and played games, and learned new ways of being, and were still.       

And they listened more deeply. Some meditated, some prayed, some danced. Some met their shadows. And the people began to think differently.

And the people healed.

And, in the absence of people living in ignorant, dangerous, mindless, and heartless ways, the earth began to heal.

And when the danger passed, and the people joined together again, they grieved their losses, and made new choices, and dreamed new images, and created new ways to live and heal the earth fully, as they had been healed.”

As English scholar James Ward points out, it was not idiotic young love that brought down the star-crossed lovers in the Bard’s most famous tragic romance, but a fulfilment of Mercutio’s dying curse, “a plague on both your houses”, because Friar Laurence was not able to get his letter (explaining the fake-death plot) delivered to Romeo, due to the messengers’ fear of illness. They would not deliver it, “so fearful were they of infection.”

Apparently Shakespeare also wrote sonnets while stuck at home during a plague quarantine. Working from home had its perks back then too.

If you’re done watching the 2011 film Contagion and have moved on to Stephen King’s plague thriller The Stand, bear in mind that King recently tweeted “No, coronavirus is NOT like THE STAND. It’s not anywhere near as serous. It’s eminently survivable. Keep calm and take all reasonable precautions.”

For a more existentialist view on pandemics get a copy of La Pest  (once bookshops reopen) by Albert Camus. 


And finally if none of the above is attractive, or, if all else fails, sing!

 

            “Some things in life are bad

They can really make you mad

Other things just make you swear and curse

When you're chewing on life's gristle

Don't grumble, give a whistle

And this'll help things turn out for the best

 

And always look on the bright side of life

Always look on the light side of life of life

 

If life seems jolly rotten

There's something you've forgotten

And that's to laugh and smile and dance and sing

When you're feeling in the dumps

Don't be silly chumps

Just purse your lips and whistle, that's the thing

 

And always look on the bright side of life

(Come on)

Always look on the right side of life …”

 
Source: Donald Dinnie | Director Norton Rose Fulbright South Africa Inc
 
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