This Coronavirus is really having an impact on our lives. The stock market has been in free-fall because of the uncertainty of how many people will get sick and what it’s doing to all sectors of the economy, especially the travel industry. Cruise ships are empty, entire nations like Italy, are virtually shutting down, and flights are being canceled all over the world as well as major events being canceled like the South by Southwest Festival in Austin. At public events, I’m now noticing that most people prefer an elbow bump or a wave instead of the customary handshake. Here in our theater, I conduct a meet and greet with our audience after the show, and I’m finding that more of the audience prefers a simple hello rather than shaking hands as well, but I think it’s mostly because there are rumors about me—not that I have coronavirus, but that I have cooties.
The medical advice hasn’t been consistent in this. Some say not to worry, go on with your business and others say don’t travel at all and stay home. The one thing agreed upon is to wash your hands—a lot.
The one sector of our economy that’s booming is the sale of hand-sanitizers and disinfectant wipes. They’re sold out everywhere. There are even instructions on how to make your own sanitizer by mixing aloe vera gel with rubbing alcohol or with vodka. So, if you see a bunch of your Baptist friends at the liquor store buying up the booze, I’m sure they are there to get the ingredients for hand sanitizer. But boy are they licking their fingers a lot!
I don’t mean to make light of this. It’s a serious issue and one death from it is one too many, but while I’ll take all the precautions I can, I’m not going to stop living my life out of fear of what might happen. I will stop eating directly off buffets with the serving spoon or drinking out of water bottles that people have left opened and half used in airplane seat-back pockets. But I already wash my hands a lot and usually scrub them like a surgeon, especially after shaking a lot of hands. I try to never touch the bottom of my shoes and I do wipe the surfaces around my tray table and seat on airplanes. I only sneeze on planes when the guy in front of me puts his seat right in my face and try to limit my coughing in the direction of people who talk loudly on their cell phones on planes or in restrooms.
We have to take the coronavirus seriously, but we need to use common sense and ultimately trust the Lord to protect us when all our efforts won’t. It’s not practical for me to stop flying, but now that so many in the public are afraid of being on planes because of the virus, I’m flying with fewer people these days so there is a silver lining in those clouds. So if I see you in the airport or on the streets, a nice wave, deep bow from the waist, or tip of the hat will do fine as a greeting to replace the handshake or the kiss on the cheek. And I’m speaking of the cheek on my face of course!