Cats, eh?

“The fog comes on little cat feet. It sits looking over harbor and city on silent haunches and then moves on.”

Those are the well-known, first lines of Carl Sandburg’s poem, ‘FOG’. It is a somewhat shallow poem in that there is only the intended comparison drawn between a cat’s quiet approach and the even quieter approach of fog. Left at that, it is simply a six line poem that states the obvious. Fog is quiet. Duh.

But, in Covid Days, the poem takes a bit of a shift in meaning. Like the virus, the fog and the cat are alive, they hunt and they kill, they stalk their prey on the edges and they come and go without hiding and yet do so almost sight unseen. Like a virus, they may seem to go away only to return a bit later.

And that is what C-19 has become. It is like a hunter. It quietly takes it’s prey. It comes and goes as it pleases and the hunted never seem to ‘get it’.

I can go a bit further with the comparison: the prey (us) is remarkably unmoved, unafraid, unaware and constantly in denial as to the threat around us. That, too, seems to be the attitude of the almost 8 billion victims-in-waiting regarding the virus. Despite more public service propaganda than almost any other public health threat I can remember, no one seems to be taking the right precautions or even taking the virus all that seriously. Certainly NOT the Bubbas. People want to go back to hugging and kissing and sharing germs over a beer at football games. The virus may or may not be a cat or a fog but humans are definitely dumber than rocks.

I write this not to overly state the obvious myself but because the obvious is NOT really being stated. This virus is not over. It is not even waning. In fact, it is still growing and destroying at will. Yes, we in BC have fared better than the rest of Canada and Canada has fared a bit better than the Stupid States but we still have a deluge of cases in the two main provinces and surges here and there all the damn time.

This virus seems to act like an STD and it virtually blossoms after close gatherings and contacts. And yet, all the talk, all the action, all the news is about re-opening the economy. That’s like spiking the punch bowl at a VD clinic party!

I suppose it will all work out in the end. Humans will likely continue. This – as bad as it is – does not feel like the END OF DAYS or TEOTWAWKI. We will likely endure. Especially locally. But another undeniable observation is that nothing will be the same again. The Global economy is taking a huge hit. All the ‘public’, National and Global industries are doing even worse than regional and local businesses but they are likely to eventually be rescued by government so they have a future.

So does the taxpayer – they are the ‘host’ for those parasites.

The little guys will have to close their doors. BIG Corp will survive on the public teat and, like the natural opportunists they are, they will seize the chance to eat up and swallow the smaller competition. Big Corp will struggle but they will emerge back into the marketplace without the competition. They will thrive.

Institutions will have a harder time. Institutions are largely less-profit, non-profit and semi-profit (schools, libraries, blood banks, non-USA hospitals, office complexes). That even includes the marginally profitable like ma-and-pop businesses. They do not have the depths-of-pocket. They will depreciate even more. Many will disappear.

Absolutely gob-smacking to me is the very possible, very likely outcome that, in ten years time, the world will have experienced a major makeover unimaginable even with today’s perspective. This might be the much-anticipated revolution of sorts we felt would happen someday but did not see how it ever could. This virus may just be the game changer, the global disruption, the quiet destruction of the status quo that the world actually needs. Covid is a cat, cat, catalyst.

It may come quietly. It may grow bigger. But it will NOT be cute.

17 thoughts on “Cats, eh?

  1. Have you been reading my mind, Dave? The community transmission cat has hit the fan here in Oz. People don’t want to change their new travel plans until governments legislate a new lockdown. Now where have I heard that before? Oh yeah, cruise ships.


  2. ‘’The Fog” one of the top five poems written by Sandburg. Much admired for its imagery and compression of thought. It is an extended metaphor and rarely Is characterized as simple. More akin to ominous and thought provoking!


  3. I agree, things are changing. Over here, big companies are suffering a lot, they are restructuring at a fast pace, at the expense of a lot of jobs. Airlines will fall in the next months (some already did). We see a tendency to go and buy local, which is a good thing in my opinion. I remember when I was young that we bought everything local, and it felt good. There was a sense of community, helping each other out, until the big supermarkets pushed away all the small shops and individuality was lost…everything looked and tasted the same. Initially, at the beginning of the outbreak we bought local because we were not allowed to drive to the big shops (or they were closed). So we had to buy local (if these shops were open). But now, we are allowed to drive our cars, but we keep on buying local, support the small local shops and (bio) farmers who produce and sell locally. Feels good (and the food definitely tastes better). So let’s hope this stays in the future, and that we will buy local, green, even bio, because it makes sense to eat things when its the season, and not eating things in the middle of winter when you harvest in june. Even the small initiatives on circular eceonomy are booming again…it was hapening on a small scale (mostly young people), but now it has grown, and even in this crisis, some (young) people open shops and initiatives….so ther might be SOME hope for us mankind


  4. I was in a suppliers outlet a few months ago (early April) and someone asked me what I thought of the CERB cash handout by the Canadian govt,
    “Too soon.” was my reply.
    The gal behind the counter went ballistic,” What the HELL are people without money SUPPOSED to DO if they’re not allowed to work?”
    “Gee, maybe they should have saved some money for a rainy day?”, was my reply.
    “Thats easy for YOU to say! I’m single and have no savings!” , said the irate cashier.
    “Well, I’m single and I have lots of savings. Why should the govt immediately bail out millions of people who cant balance a cheque book?, The govt gave away this money too soon…they should have waited a few weeks to slap people in the face with their brainless budgeting….. so now everyone is going to expect them to do this forever. Wait til the Fall, its going to get worse and the Govt will be broke…..”
    She glared at me…..and said nothing.
    And everything I said is coming true.
    Ya cant fix stupid.


    • Yesterday I talked to a 27 year old kid in the underground parking.
      Working on his car while smoking a huge joint.
      His car battery was dead.
      Hasnt driven it since March.
      Laid off in March.
      Hasnt paid his rent since march…deferred.
      Bills mounting. Car insurance expired, Car loan unpaid.
      Living off CERB.
      Didnt seem too concerned….Summers coming.
      And he’s a typical story.

      The economy is going to be ……..on……. its……….knees
      by this time next year.


  5. The word on the street is that the Canadian deficit will not be repaid. It will not be paid down. The Central Bank of Canada is busy buying paper and much more paper will be purchased in the future. Balanced budgets are a policy of the past. Fiscal hawks are beside themselves.


    • A $0.50 Canadian dollar by 2022?
      Enjoy expensive holidays to the US, foreign purchases, food, on and on and on.
      “The budget will balance itself…” ( no matter how much we balloon the national debt)
      Ya cant fix stupid.


  6. I agree. That has been the modus operendi for the US govt. for decades. Print more. Sell bonds. Run up the debt. Who’s gonna collect? And Canada will follow suit. All Capitalist countries then HAVE to follow suit. Ever since the $ went off the gold standard and floated with ‘perception’ there has been stopping the press. Print more. That’s the ticket. Print, print, print.
    Money is an illusion on so many levels.


  7. Good comments nonconfidence.

    I heard a radio interview yesterday with a restaurateur in Courtenay. She was trying to bring her laid off staff back to work. Almost all refused to work other than minimal hours so their CERB would not be cut. They should serve long jail sentences. Instead, the gangsters in Ottawa will hand them more money and raise taxes even more for those few of us remaining who are still what I call “net contributors”. The “net takers” are in the majority in this pathetic country.


    • That’s the spirit send those young people to jail to”…serve long jail sentences…”! Now why would the CERB be more attractive than minimum wage? Let’s put our thinking caps on…! It might be that young people feel valued by the CERB benefit. The economy needs a cash flow that the CERB provides and without the CERB the prospect is of the Canadian Economy going deeper into recession. Now usually what happens is that the businesses are given money and they buy back stock, pay bonuses to the executives, pay dividends to stockholders and layoff employees. A strategy that only deepens recessions. So let’s try something different. Let’s give money to the consumer and stimulate the economy from the bottom up. Seventy percent of our economy depends upon consumer spending so put the stimulus there.


      • “That’s the spirit send those young people to jail to”…serve long jail sentences…”

        Nah. Jail costs too much money for incarcerating scofflaws.
        Send them to forest fire fighting training and pay them CERB equivalent.
        Then , if we have a bad year of fires, they have to work off their CERB debt with compulsory fire fighting work OR prove they are already working and must pay back the CERB loan via extra income tax.
        Either way.
        Pound the message into their skulls that “NOTHING IS FREE”
        Eventually you will pay for CERB.
        Tax me now or tax me later at a much higher level.

        Liked by 1 person

  8. don’t agree completely with nonconfidence. I myself have been like forever a net contributor. But a lot of young people in their first jobs, simply don’t have the income to save money. Their first jobs are on minimum wages, their rent is high, even “basic” life is expensive these days. So at the end of the month, they can make ends meet, maybe save 100 bucks (or euro’s in our case). But these savings disappear quickly when things go wrong. I have 3 daughthers all workin now in this situation, have NOT lived from CERB, have worked almost every single day since this outbreak (except when they were not allowed to), but went straight to work when they were allowed to. But they all get paid almost minimum salaries, end can’t save that much at the end of the month. And no, they even can’t afford a car, they take the bus or ride a bike! As always, generalising “people” is dangerous! But on the other hand, there are lots of people profiting now from the system (CERB as you call it), and there I agree we should not be supporting them too soon or for too long


    • We are not “profiting” when the govt dives so deep into debt ……EVERYONE will pay through even higher taxes and less benefits….
      Trudeau’s fiscal socialism will stunt a generation of new wage earners……or we all smoke pot and draw CERB


  9. Buttons pressed! Those who think there are welfare bums and then those who think corporations are the only welfare bums. I don’t think there are many really bum-bums but there are definitely opportunists and they exist in all forms, corporate and individual. The real question is: is anyone an opportunist in a pandemic? I think the answer is no, not yet…to be determined. Who takes the CERB and takes a holiday while smoking pot and refusing soul-sucking labour vs those whose ‘life’s work’ is truly at risk? We’ll see how that shakes out. I do not think anecdotal incidents paint an accurate picture. NOT yet, anyway. But whether warranted, deserved, needed, or cheated, CERB and other ‘bailouts’ will cost the government and thus we, the taxpayer hugely. Noncon’s observation of ‘too soon’, I agree with. I think it was too soon, too. Still, even that is a judgment call so much easier to make from retrospect.
    All academic now, tho. What’s done…is done. And my point still remains: what is done will have changed everything, the likes of which we have still yet to see.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. An article by NPR(National Public Radio) Dec. 2, 2019 “Researchers find a remarkable ripple effect when you give cash to poor families‘’ (google this title.) The study found that for every dollar given without strings generated about two and one half dollars in the economy. The assumption of many was that giving away money to the poor was a bad idea but research suggests otherwise. NPR Goats and Soda.


  11. Back in the day, when the cost of living went up, my standard of living went down. We switched from barbecue T-bone to grilled hamburgers. Before switching to grilled cat food we upped our income by working harder and smarter to regain our previous standard of living. It was a juggling process, but by ‘keeping up with the times’ we were able to establish a comfortable living.

    Then working Mother came along and with that the disregard for ‘standard of living’. We were now able to afford a second car, holidays in the sun and a host of other benefits. Life was beautiful, for a while.
    Then, the Cost of Living caught up with that second income. No longer was it a luxury, but it became a necessity. Back to the juggling to afford hamburgers, but it became a little more complex. It required both parties clinging to their job(s) to maintain the status quo.

    And that’s where it hovers now. Ahead lie a series of conundrums. What will become of the two incomes? Will they keep abreast of ‘the cost of living’ and what will be come of ‘the cost of living’?
    It will obviously depend on income, but also on resources’
    We live in a troubled, but interesting time. I hope I’m able to ride it out to the end!
    There’s no doubt there’s an end (for me) but I hope to run the tunnel to see the light at the end.
    Trouble is ‘they’ keep adding sections of tunnel!


  12. The desire of some employers but not all for cheap labour, reaching out to temporary foreign workers, or teenagers and calling it a training wage which is lower than the minimum wage and generally grinding low paid workers. Or exporting jobs to low pay regions such as Mexico. John, I understand your frustration.


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