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Somebody came up to me yesterday asking me to “invest” money for a secret government deal.

First of all, do I look like somebody who finances secret government deals? Do I look like a fucking drug lord to you?

Second of all, do you think I’d voluntarily dishonor the memory of my dead father, who gave a good portion of his life working in government and quit government precisely because of these secret deals?

And third of all, have you ever even read anything I’ve posted online for the last couple of years?

If not, I suggest you go over my blog or my personal Facebook page. In fact, if you’re going to ask me anything—a favor, a business deal, an under-the-table government transaction that you don’t want me writing about in public—go through the last couple of posts I’ve written and decide from there whether or not I’m the person you’re looking for.

It’s not my intention to shame this person. The specifics of what went through between us will be just between them and me. And Ronald. And my mother. And my sisters, if they ask. And nobody else.

This person and I actually go a long way back. We had a falling out, mostly because I was too different and rebellious and too much to handle. I’ve held grudges, yes, but my own journey has taken me to a point where I do want to see them happy with their life—just leave me out of it. After all, I’m never going to fit in with the rule-following, convention-seeking, we-don’t-rock-the-boat kind of people.

(Nothing wrong with you if that’s you. But that’s you. That’s not me. That’s the difference.)

But when they came up to me from out of nowhere asking for money in all-too-technical accounting terms my no-math-please mind cannot understand, I was confused. What? Why? Why me? We haven’t officially seen each other in more than half a decade. And those unofficial times we did see each other, they were pretending they didn’t see me. And why the hell are they asking for money?!

And then I remembered.

The world is changing. It’s changing so fast that people who have always lived by the same old rules and conventions have no idea what to do. That’s why they’re trying so hard to hold on to their old ways of doing things. If they didn’t, they’d go crazy.

Those who have always thought there’s nothing wrong with shady government deals you’re not supposed to tell anyone about will keep on trying to profit from these transactions.

Because that’s what they know to be true. That’s what’s normal for them. They may or may not know it’s called corruption. It doesn’t matter because it’s what they’ve always done. And they’ll stubbornly keep doing it until life finds a way to get them to see what they’ve been doing with their lives. If a pandemic ain’t enough, then expect life to slap you in the face harder next time, and sooner than you think.

By the same token, those who think it’s the way of business to keep bypassing common folk will keep trying to think of ways to profit from the coronavirus. It doesn’t matter that the lives and welfare of every person in the world are at stake. They never cared before, so they think they can march ahead into the future still not caring.

Those who think they can get away with things because they’ve been getting away with things for the last 70 years without getting caught will keep looking for legal loopholes they can exploit so they can get away with more things.

For them, the “new normal” is nothing more than the old normal, but with face masks and physical distancing. The coronavirus pandemic is really just an inconvenience, a major one, but still nothing more than that. You slap on a mask and get on with your pre-pandemic foolishness you never gave a second thought about before.

It’s not just “them,” really. It’s “us,” too. Quotation marks there to let you know there’s really no such thing as them and us. Whatever they do, we’re part of that. Whatever kind of world we see out there, we’re creating in here too.

So, what about you? What about all the pre-pandemic “normal” things you used to do that you know doesn’t have space in your new normal?

Will you keep insisting on doing something you have zero passion for because someone told you passion is overrated?

Will you keep choosing the interests of a vague entity called a company or a country or a religion over yourself, your dreams, and the people you love?

Will you keep defending your outdated beliefs that you have no choice, there is no free will, and that somewhere, an evil man in a swanky apartment is pulling strings to make you dance and sing and play dumb like an obedient little monkey?

Will you keep demanding the world to apologize for all the bad things you’ve felt, despite the fact that most people actually already feel sorry for the bad choices they’ve made, just because it’s been taught to us as children that we’re not really sorry unless we walk on our knees and kiss the feet of those we hurt?

Will you keep believing that the world is an evil place, that there are bombs where there are cupcakes and monsters where there are hurt children?

Will you keep grasping on to thoughts, beliefs, and perceptions that keep you from being fully yourself? And will you keep thinking you need to fully let these thoughts, beliefs, and perceptions go before you can start becoming the person you were always meant to be?

You can put a mask on, wash your hands more, sit away from other people, and think, “What a strange new world this is.” But if you’re going to keep thinking the same old thoughts, handing control over to the same old emotions, and believing the same old bullshit about how there’s nothing you can do to make the world better, then stop calling it the new normal.

Because it ain’t new.

It’s what we’ve all been living with since the day we could remember.

It being our perceived powerlessness. This belief that there’s not much we can do, so we might as well take advantage of what’s in front of us right now because we’re all going to die tomorrow. This pervasive thinking that we’re only human when, really and seriously, we’re more than that.

Many people need to reach rock bottom to realize that’s not true.

Some people have to go through war and death and physical mutation.

Others have to experience the entire world shutting down because of a pandemic.

And yet, for some people, a two-month preview of the apocalypse isn’t enough. Life will have to slap them in the face over and over and over again until they start to feel the sting.

Until then, we need to patiently wait for them to come around. In the meantime, take out your list of fun things to do. It looks like we have a lot of waiting to do.

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