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It’s a biblical life

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HOWARD FELDMAN

Not that being unqualified has ever stopped me from voicing an opinion before.

That said, it’s difficult to ignore the “biblical” feeling that surrounds COVID-19. The viral plague, along with the fall-out it has caused, encapsulates so many themes that it’s difficult to be surprised by anything.

News of the splitting of the Zoo Lake (or Emmarentia Dam) is hardly likely to survive a news cycle (if it were true) and would probably gain as much press coverage as the fact that the oil price is hovering in negative territory.

We have been through so many bizarre things that we have become desensitized to pretty much any event.

We have been locked in our homes for nearly 40 days and 40 nights. We have been told that the world is a dangerous place, and that we need to take our families (and animals) and remain there until we are told that it is safe to re-enter. When we emerge, as did Noah, we will find that the world we are likely to encounter will be forever altered, and it will be our job to rebuild it in a way that is different to the one we left behind. Much like Noah, we miss our alcohol, and whereas we might not plant a vineyard, a quick visit to Norman Goodfellows is likely to be an early order of business.

Although much of the news about dolphins frolicking majestically in the pristine waters of the channels in Venice is overstated to the point of being fake, there’s no doubting the positive impact on the world.

Air pollution is down, and restoration is taking place simply because of our absence. If that doesn’t sound biblical to you, then you might be forgetting about the concept of the shmitashmitta year, where every seven years, farmers (in Israel) are commanded to let their land lie fallow. True story. Anyone who has tried buying a Jaffa orange in Israel during that time will know what I mean.

I should also mention the strange concept of biblical leprosy that placed people in quarantine until they were given the all clear by the kohen (priest). And, the fact that if he wasn’t certain, he would ask them to remain isolated until he was certain that the PUI (person under investigation) could rejoin society.

More than anything, the age of COVID-19 has demonstrated how not in control we are. Although Netflix and Bill Gates might have predicted the possibility of a pandemic, there’s still the feeling that it was more the product of a Steven Spielberg movie than something that was likely to be enacted in the streets of Glenhazel, Sandton, or Brooklyn.

And whereas we might be adjusting to the bizarreness of it all, we still continue to shake our heads in disbelief. It’s all so fantastical, that the only possible explanation is that this is way bigger than us.

One of the positive aspects of not being qualified to mete out either medical or biblical advice is that anyone who does heed my words does so at their own peril. Which is why, come Level 3 (or is it 2), I advise you, much like Noah, to meet me down at the nearest bottle store, where I won’t be planting a vineyard.

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