Shelter-In-Place Involuntary Quarantine, Day 8: More housecleaning today. No one's ever accused me of being Housekeeper of the Year and when I contemplate using some of my Trump flu free time to clean the house, the entire task gets overwhelming - vacuuming, mopping, bathrooms, dusting, appliances, windows . . . it's all too much. So I mentally divided the house into seven separate sections and decided to clean one section per day. Yesterday, I cleaned the kitchen. Today, I deep cleaned the dining room.
And when I say "deep clean," I mean on my hands and knees, scrubbing the tiles floors with PineSol and scalding hot water, and taking each and every little knick-knack and tchotchke off the cabinet shelves and dusting and cleaning each one individually (and there's a lot of them).
Two rooms down and five sections to go, and then I'll start over on the kitchen again.
One thing about this pandemic - it really exposes the flaws in late-stage capitalism and makes you hate the rich. First, we have piece-of-shit Republican Senators Kelly Loeffler and Richard Barr short-selling the American public by dumping stocks based on insider information from closed-door Senate briefings on the Trump flu pandemic (while publicly saying there is no crisis and everything's under control). Now we have Boston Red Sox pitcher Chris Sale getting elective surgery at a time when medical equipment and protective gear are in critically short supply and the public is told that for them all elective surgeries are otherwise to be discouraged.
Don't get me wrong - I'm a Red Sox fan and I like Chris Sale, although I was pretty disappointed when he lost two games to the Astros in 2017, eliminating the Red Sox from the post-season that year. He did, however, make up for that to some degree with some clutch pitching in Boston's 2018 World Series victory, although he did have to pitch his way out of a lot of jams into which he had gotten himself. But I'm a fan and not a fanatic, so when he got Tommy John surgery this week, I was glad the operation was successful and that Sale is healthy, but I'm also angry that once again, celebrities and the rich get to play by a different set of rules than the rest of us.
The Red Sox front office said they were concerned that Sale's surgery might take resources away from the battle against the pandemic and wanted to make sure that there would be no negative consequences, but provide absolutely no concrete evidence of how it didn't. Two doctors had been seeing Sale, one in Florida and one in Los Angeles, and the Florida doctor refused to do the surgery at this time as it was elective and violated the edict against such surgeries during the pandemic.
But the L.A. doctor saw no problem and rationalized it by saying that if the surgery would extend Sale's career by a year or two, then it wasn't merely "elective," was it? It's been reported that he told the Red Sox front office that the surgery wouldn't take anything away from the pandemic response, but I saw no description or explanation of how it wouldn't. Just the good doctor's word for it.
Look, Chris Sale is a multi-millionaire - after several successful and lucrative seasons, he got paid $15,000,000 for the 2019 season alone, and is under contract to get another $20,000,000 for 2020. The man and his family are taken care of - we don't have to worry about their well being. While he could make even tens of millions more playing additional seasons, it's not like he's in dire straits if he missed a season. Meanwhile, working class manual laborers are being forced to accept physical therapy and rehab and continue to work in pain that could be fixed with the surgery they're being denied until the pandemic passes.
It's been argued that the surgeons and clinic that performed the surgery weren't otherwise involved in the coronavirus response, so no resources were taken away from the crisis. But the surgeons used latex gloves and face masks that are otherwise in critically short supply. I don't know, but a ventilator might even have been there on standby in case the patient went into respiratory arrest. And why weren't the high-priced L.A. surgeons out on the front lines fighting the pandemic, anyway? Couldn't they leave their BelAir homes and Beverly Hills clinics, roll up their sleeves (so to speak), and pitch in. Hell, rock star Jon Bon Jovi was washing dishes in a soup kitchen last week. Why couldn't the Surgeons To The Stars delay their high-priced services for a few months until the rest of the world had stabilized a little bit?
We all know the reason why. Money. Pure and simple. Sale has the potential for another $40 to $50 million in salary if he can be back in shape whenever baseball resumes, and I'm sure the surgeons didn't exactly hurt themselves with the medical fees and charges earned during the procedure, not to mention the future referral opportunities as word gets out that they were the ones that fixed Chris Sale's arm. With that kind of money on the line, it's easy to convince yourself that no, there's no conflict here, it's not elective, this is a perfectly ethical thing to do. To paraphrase Mark Twain, if your livelihood depends on you not understanding something, it won't be understood.
NBA players, sometimes whole teams, get covid tests even though they feel perfectly fine, while test kits and lab access are meanwhile in incredibly short supply in the rest of the country. At the same time, their working-class fans are coughing up blood but are told they aren't eligible for testing as they're too young, or don't exhibit all of the other symptoms, or just fuck you, you're not getting the test, you blue-collar loser.
Look, no one died because Chris Sale cut to the front of the line and got elective surgery at a time when others couldn't. But no one was otherwise cured or treated, either, and no nurse or front-line medical services worker had access to the protective gear and clothing used during his procedure.
What it is, though, is just another glaring example of the economic inequality in America, of how celebrity culture favors the rich and famous, and how if there's enough money to be made, greed takes over and ethics are given the back seat.
In closing, yesterday was also Chris Sale's birthday, so Happy Birthday, Chris! You monster, you!