Darin's fuzzier in 2020

'Point of No Return'

By Darin J. McCann

Executive Editor

Collectively, we’ve spent a ton of time lately discussing toilet paper shortages. Or the lack of bread in the stores. Or meat. Or produce. Well, let’s face it: We spend a ton of time complaining in general these days.

It’s what we do. It’s our thing.

But if we take a closer look at things — obviously, from at least 6 feet away — we can see that there are unheralded heroes all around us. While many of us are complaining that there isn’t enough of X, Y or Z, there are, in fact, people getting us X, Y and Z as fast as they can.

There are cashiers at grocery registers risking their own health so we can purchase supplies to feed our families. People are stocking those shelves and cleaning manically to try to keep the virus at bay while we shop for our essentials. Sure, they are earning a paycheck while many are unable to do so due to these wild circumstances around us, but at great risk to themselves — and while they are often being screamed at or demeaned by impatient shoppers who are upset that what they want at that very moment might not be available.

It’s like some of the lunatics I’ve watched at airports. I can never understand why somebody feels compelled to scream at some person running the counter for an airline because a plane is delayed. Do you feel that, when you weren’t looking, this person called in to the pilot to burn up fuel and fly around in circles just so they can irritate you? Do you feel that you are so important that other people spend their entire lives trying to mess with your day? Or are you just a self-absorbed piece of toilet-paper-hoarding...

But I digress.

Heroes. We have everyday heroes all around us right now. Think of that police officer having to perform his or her duties right now, not knowing what awaits them as they enter homes or search suspects or simply have to interact with people in the normal course of their jobs? Or prison guards. Or EMS or EMT responders. Or firefighters.

These people risk their lives each and every day for the betterment of society, and they willingly sign up to do it. But this virus adds that much more risk to them while they just try to keep us safe and return home to their families.

Pretty humbling, right?

How about our medical professionals? Not just those involved in testing for COVID-19 or treating patients with the highly-contagious virus, but those dialysis technicians having to get out and give people life-saving treatment. Or those nurses facing God-knows-what every time they encounter another patient. Or the doctors trying to maintain a sense of calm while the world around them appears to be anything but. Or, well, you name it. They can’t self-quarantine to avoid catching or spreading this virus. They walk into the face of fear every day, with the basic hope of helping a human being get healthy.

Come on. That is ridiculous bravery. In fact, let’s all give them a round of applause. But, please, don’t shake their hands. Not yet.

Heroes, heroes, everywhere.

I was at Hocker’s Super Center on Saturday morning and saw Mountaire bring two tractor trailers filled with remarkably-priced chicken to people, and watched folks from both companies out in the rain trying to help people get what they need to feed their families.

There are truck drivers doubling and tripling their efforts to get supplies to people, and people in warehouses trying to get those trucks loaded and unloaded as efficiently as possible. I’ve seen local restaurants — who are being absolutely ravaged by the restrictions put down to deal with the virus — donate food to medical personnel and first-responders, as well as organize efforts to raise money for servers and bartenders who right now do not have jobs.

And... brace yourself, ladies and gentlemen. After days of hemming and hawing, our leaders in Washington have apparently reached a stimulus deal to help us all get through this. This is not a drill. Grown-ups who we elected to govern and lead the country are actually leading.

What we’re going through is weird, a little frightening and completely unprecedented — particularly in this age of information, and misinformation. But there are selfless heroes all around us who are trying to get us through it, and some leadership that appears to be trying to help.

That’s something. And something is good these days.

Executive Editor

Darin is a native of Washington, D.C, and studied journalism at Temple University. He is a combat-veteran Marine, and has worked as a reporter and editor throughout the country. He is married and has one daughter, who doubles as his harshest critic.