Pre-Existing Conditions

By Lawrence “Mack in Texas” Hall

The topic of trust came up the other day when one of the prisoners I visit each week remarked on the challenge of knowing how to find reliable information about the Virus-of-Many-Names.

Trust is a big deal – after all, Jesus was murdered because a provincial governor believed gossip. And it may be that some governors still fail to think critically. 

When I was a small boy I did not know that the key to a car or pickup was removable. I understood that the key was a part of the magic that made the engine go, but I thought it was a fixed part of the vehicle, like the starter switch on the floor and the gearshift on the steering column.

I was surprised when in a movie at the Palace Theatre of happy memory I saw a driver park his car and remove the key, and I asked my parents about that curious behavior.

My father explained that in cities people stole things from each other and the character in the movie removed his key so that wouldn’t happen.

When some years later my parents decided that locking the house when they were gone had become a necessity, they had to look for the door keys. That was also about the time they began pocketing the key to the pickup truck.

The trust was broken.

When later in life I had occasion to visit London with my mother and daughter, we noticed that because of the compactness of so many shops young mothers often left their babies in prams at the door, along with the occasional dog. This was surprising, and especially troubling to my mother, who asked someone about that. A nice lady assured her that the children were in no danger because everyone who walked by was as a matter of routine looking at each baby to see that all was well.  

We observed for a few minutes, and yes, that was exactly what happened – everyone walking along – teenagers, men in overalls, men in suits, rough-looking lads with cigarettes and attitudes, women dressed for business, shop girls, hippie chicks – gave each child a visual check while passing.

Which is the way it’s supposed to be.

This is no longer a practice in London; indeed, children everywhere are the targets of knifings and shootings and abductions. When we read of a child being shot because one group of idiots chooses to shoot at another group, the topic of trust is far beyond car keys.

Which is not the way it’s supposed to be.

As for the question of the Virus-of-Many-Names, my response, as always, is that the best source of knowledge is the MD or NP sitting across from you in a consulting room. 

“I saw a doctor on tv, and she said…” won’t do.

“I saw a doctor on the news, and he said…” won’t do.

“I read on a reliable site on the InterGossip that…” won’t do.

“My buddy said that his doctor said…” won’t do.

“My favorite guy on the Hamster Network said…” won’t do.

“All my friends at work said…” won’t do.

“My cousin in Houston who almost finished nurses’ aide school said…” won’t do.

What will do is the MD or NP whom you know and who knows you. And then you must put on grown-up thinking skills – not feelings or trends or moods – and make an adult decision about what’s right, not for you but for MeeMaw, babies, children, and other vulnerable people around you.

Sometimes you get the idea that there are among us some who, if they were transported back in time to July 5th, 1863 to see the 50,000+ dead on the fields around Gettysburg, would dismiss all those young men with, “Well, they must have had pre-existing conditions.”

What do you think?

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