Might Usually Wins - David Aitken
Might Usually Wins - David Aitken

Might is not always right but it usually wins, in the short term at least.

When Napoleon the Third (bronze medal only) began exiling hardened criminals to the penal colony on Devil’s Island, he was asked, “Who will look after all these hard cases?”  His answer was “Even harder cases.”

And let’s face it, when you’re being haunted by a deadly virus, who you gonna call, Sneezy the Dwarf?  Scooby-Doo?  Mary Poppins?  A superspreader, a pusillanimous dog, or a nanny who adds a spoonful of sugar to children’s medicine.  Had she never heard of diabetes?

No, when outnumbered by an implacable foe, you require your own magnificent seven: masks, oxygen, nurses, needles, and at least three virologists.  No politician need apply.  How many medical researchers does it take to change a virus?  None, the virus will mutate all by itself.  Unfortunately.

On a historical note, an aged relative of mine supposedly invented the first lightbulb joke in 1947: “How many hands does it take to change a light bulb?”  Answer: “Many (…hands make light work.”)  It was a work in progress.

The uncomfortable fact is that wars have always been won by the side with the best weapons, whether bows and arrows, muskets, Colt 45’s, Trojan horses, or atomic bombs.  In the recent trial of The People versus Coronavirus, the people have laid down their arms to great effect to make the foe retreat in disarray.  Does this have the makings of a film script?  You think not?  You’re probably right.

Mankind has finally been able to make weapons so powerful that we cannot use them without obliterating ourselves, so most wars are now cold wars, especially in Russia.  These days we need tough guys and gals, with a moral rather than a nuclear core, to fight our battles for us.  Hollywood teaches us that strength of character finally wins the day — think Rick in Casablanca, Gary Cooper in High Noon, John Wayne in Stagecoach, or Homer Simpson in — well, no, but three out of four isn’t bad.  In Stagecoach, John Wayne played the Ringo Kid, but the only drums were the war drums of Geronimo and the Apaches.

Lately, we have all unwittingly been following Napoleon’s example, employing superior force against the enemy in the cells (still no phone call from a movie producer) which makes me wonder if we shouldn’t perhaps promote our trailblazer posthumously.  “And the Gold Medal goes to… Napoleon the First!”

But as so often, second thoughts are the ones first committed to paper, or Chromebook screen.  I don’t know how many scientists are working flat out to keep one step ahead of mutating strains of the virus, because I would then know the answer to the question, “How many virologists does it take to change a vaccine?”  However many there are, they all deserve a medal.



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