Living in interesting times


By Michael Seffrin - Guest columnist



“May you live in interesting times.”

The origin of that quote (some call it a curse) has been disputed. Some say it originated in China, which would be appropriate considering the coronavirus pandemic with which we currently are dealing.

Whatever the quote’s origins, we certainly are living in interesting times.

Activity even on my little street has dropped. I joked that I wouldn’t be surprised to walk out my front door some morning and find myself all alone — like a scene from an old “Twilight Zone” episode.

I noticed the subdued atmosphere during a recent run. Normally, I see several people walking their dogs or bicycling. I also have to beware of cars that sometimes fail to yield to pedestrians. None of that happened. Traffic was lighter than normal. I did encounter a man walking on the opposite side of the street. He waved at me and I did the same to him. Maybe he was thinking the same thing as me: “Yes, we’re both still alive and healthy.” We were more than the recommended six feet apart for “social distancing.”

That’s another thing. This crisis has spawned its own lingo: “social distancing” and “self-quarantine.” I’m sure there will be more before it’s all over.

I’ve been encouraged by the government’s response at the state and national levels. Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine has been criticized for his quick action to order the shutdown of some businesses and to delay the primary election. In the end, I think he will be proven right.

I’ve never been a fan of President Trump. I don’t like bullies. But recently he apparently has realized the severity of the health crisis and is following the recommendations of experts. I hope he continues on that course.

Thankfully, the silly conspiracy theories about the coronavirus largely are vanishing. And yes, you can safely drink Corona beer.

The impact of this health crisis on businesses will be tremendous. I hope our legislators can offer them help.

As the father of two daughters directly affected by this crisis — one a registered nurse and the other a staff member at a senior assisted-living facility — I pray that they will remain virus-free and be able to continue to help their patients.

As a retired Sidney Daily News reporter, I also think of my former colleagues as they work under the stress of a fast-changing story and strive to provide the public with vital information.

One of my favorite figures from history is Winston Churchill. Some words from a speech he gave at the beginning of World War II are perhaps appropriate to these times, too:

“We shall not flag or fail. We shall go on to the end. … We shall never surrender!”

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By Michael Seffrin

Guest columnist

The writer is a former reporter with the Sidney Daily News. He retired in 2016 after 37 years with the newspaper.

The writer is a former reporter with the Sidney Daily News. He retired in 2016 after 37 years with the newspaper.