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BC’s Tales of the Pacific | What people are doing right

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“Attention! For health reasons, the cemetery will remain closed until a later date”

CRISIS reveals character. So says an old proverb. When the chips are down, when disaster strikes, when the situation seems hopeless, that is when you find out what a person is really like on the inside. The inner saint and the inner scoundrel leap to the fore. Amid the unfolding Covid-19 crisis, people are revealing their true character. But instead of focusing on those who make humanity look bad: the hoarders, the thieves, the scam artists, let’s turn the spotlight on those who are revealing themselves to be guardians of human decency.

In Australia, Woolworth’s stores are devoting the first hour of every day to elderly shoppers only. After disinfecting overnight, they are guaranteed a clean store and no pushy younger shoppers to compete against. Hurray for Woolworth’s! Other stores are following suit, shouldn’t all of them? By the end of this week I would like to see every retail store on Saipan adopting manamko’-only shopping hours. Manamko’ should only support businesses that adopt this policy.

While it is true that physicians and nurses are working around the clock, and we love them for it, another professional continues to work, virtually unnoticed, making sure we all have what we need to fight this illness. I’m referring to your local pharmacist. They can’t shut down or self-isolate, in fact, they put themselves in harm’s way every day by willingly exposing themselves to the sickest among us, those most likely to have Covid-19. While the rest of us stay home and avoid anyone who may show symptoms, pharmacists head off to work and interact with the people most likely to infect them. Hurray for pharmacists! Give them more than a passing thank you.

Many people who have self-isolated have posted videos online and started group chats and the like. My favorite was put together by Gal Gadot; you know her as Wonder Woman. She gathered a few dozen celebrities for an emotional singing of John Lennon’s “Imagine.” Since it is going viral it should be easy to find, but grab a tissue before you watch it. While looking for things to do while isolated, support the positive sites and avoid the hysterics and fear mongers.

In Italy, one of the hardest-hit countries of Covid-19, a young man bakes bread and hand-delivers it for free to his neighbors in a locked down community.

In the United States, a grocery clerk who is not allowed to self-quarantine says, “I’d just like to get the virus now, get it out of the way, so I can come back to work.” His name is Philip and if you see him, tell him BC says “thank you.” Rather than stop working, an emergency room physician has moved into his garage in order to protect his family from potential exposure.

So, what is this crisis revealing about you? What kind of person are you showing yourself to be, a saint or a scoundrel? A giver or a taker? Part of the problem or part of the solution? This crisis, like all crises, will pass. When it does, for better or for worse, people will remember what you revealed about yourself.

BC Cook, PhD taught history for over 20 years. He lived on Saipan and travels the Pacific but currently lives on the mainland U.S.

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