For those of you not into British literature, that was the title of an Anthony Trollope novel, basically bemoaning the loss of a certain ethic or moral standard in British life. Feels apt to describe the last few weeks. People are fearful of getting too close to each other, of giving a hug, of breathing on another person. We give each other distrustful glances–are you infecting me? We have become a little people, a nation of quarantine and social distancing scolds. We have become a fearful people, cowering in our homes. We have become a passive nation, meekly accepting the dictates of the GOVERNORS and their legion of public health gurus. God forbid we should gather in a group of even two, or appear to be having fun, playing a game, enjoying the company of others.
Dr. Fauci, the latest prophet of pandemic propriety, says we should never shake hands again. What a world that would be. I refuse. Maybe it is the unyielding contrarian in me, maybe it is a perception about what it means to be human. If I see you, I will shake your hand, I will give you a hug. We will laugh joyously, recklessly exhaling deeply, expelling who knows what infectious agent. Maybe an infection of reason, of wisdom, of proportion, of acceptance, of courage. An infection of freedom, of human possibility. Let it be so.