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  • Kerry D. Krauss

Yngwie Malmstrom

Early in the COVID-19 stay at home order, I borrowed a friend’s electric guitar. The season seemed right to learn a new skill.

The guitar needed new strings, so I ordered them. I waited two weeks for their delivery. On the Monday after they arrived, I excitedly strung the guitar. I broke the high E. Helpful hint: Ernie Ball Super Slinky strings are daintier than the Martin Marquis that I am accustomed to handling. I had only ordered one pack.

Two weeks later, my three pack of strings arrived. I gingerly strung the high E and I expected wonders. I liked the lower action and noodled around for two days. After an hour of pounding power chords, my amp quit. It just stopped. I looked at it. It looked at me. Silence.

I have since discovered that tube amps require new tubes on a regular basis. I’ve had this amp for almost twenty years. Never changed a tube. Perhaps electric acoustic played sparingly requires significantly less juice than an Ibanez RX series (cranked to 11).

I use this as a parable, a metaphor. In March, I fully expected that by June 18th I would sound like Yngwie Malmstrom (google him and turn up your volume!) In March, I expected that by June 18th, we would be worshipping, and working, and living as we once did. In March, I expected that by June 18th we would have found our new normal and it would look a lot like our old normal.

I could not have been more wrong.

In March, even though we didn’t appreciate it, we had a collective assent to our situation. We didn’t like it, but we understood the consequences of not wearing masks and not practicing physical distancing and not gathering. We’ve lost that unity. Now we mask shame people for wearing masks and NOT wearing masks. Now we defy public health official recommendations and worse, consider ourselves infectious disease experts because we read a thing on Facebook.

In March we had one voice. It was the voice of caution. It was the voice of mutual care and concern. It was a voice of wisdom and commonality.

I want that voice to come back because it was our better voice. We genuinely cared about each other’s survival. Our collective benefit mattered more than our personal profit or desire.

I fear that we have withdrawn to selfishness. I fear that we have chosen self over other AGAIN. I fear that we have retreated to our pre-COVID ways without a thought of who we could have been.

Please prove me wrong.

I love you.

I need you.

I hope for you.

Please be safe.

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