If the sky were to fall, what would we do?
Updated: Mar 20
I have a friend who thinks my theories are too pessimistic and yes it is true that I have written blogs where I can see the world ending with a child’s balloon* or even down in my local pub** but I am more optimistic than she thinks and even if the sky was to fall down, I’d imagine we could still lookup.
Grey skies and great television on Sky might mean that we don’t always look up at the sky or ceiling but anyone who has ever done some swimming, will inevitably look up to the ceiling of their local pool and count rafters or rivets, as they swim backstroke.
Not my preferred stroke as I have a shoulder injury but still even in recent years I have found myself staring at the roof, hoping I don’t hit my head off the wall, as I count ceiling fans.
Yesterday as I talked with my mother about the seriousness of the situation with Coronavirus, I told her, “We have been down this path before and have probably already forgotten about it.”
I gave the example of Foot and Mouth, which she said was mostly felt by farmers and not the whole community. I then suggested tuberculosis and she said that that was before her time but that my paternal grandmother used to tell her that it wiped out entire families in our area.
Tuberculosis devasted communities and I find it strange how a hero who grew up on Sean Costello Street in Athlone and was educated in the Marist College before going on to study medicine in Trinity and later entered politics as a doctor and became Health Minister on his very first day in Dáil Éireann, could go on to eradicate a disease and then be forgotten.
Strange that Athlone doesn’t claim this gifted man as our own just because he was born in another town.
Maybe after all of this, we will have to refocus our attention on health and build a new hospital in Athlone where those nurses in AIT can practice and train and wouldn’t it be great if that hospital was called Dr. Noël Browne hospital after the man who helped to set up the Irish Blood Transfusion Board and eradicate tuberculosis.
If TB is too long ago to be remembered then I won’t mention the Spanish Flu which killed over 50 million people and clearly Spain hasn’t learned their lesson about this pandemic from a century ago.
We grew up during the troubles in Ireland and Spain had Franco and bombing campaigns by ETA and we all remember the planes hitting the twin towers in New York and the rise of terrorist fears and rise of ISIS and Dash following the defeat of al Qaeda.
Here in my street, al Qaeda killed 197 people in Europe's worst terrorist attack on the 11th of March 2004 but by March 2020, there was very little remembered of this horrific moment as Spain slowly shifted to the reality that Coronavirus was in the community and killing Spaniards too.
We remember Y2K which could have ended our technological age if computers thought they were in the year 1900 and we combatted those fears with preventative measures and computer patches and newer computers with newer software.
Covid-19 is the Millenium Bug we never had and coincidently arrived on December 31st, twenty years later than expected. We missed the opportunity to prepare for it but if we can educate a T.D. who eradicated TB, then maybe we can get through this horrible disease too.
I looked for an example of a time when we got through this mess, and have since completely forgotten about it and the best example I can think of is the old swimming pool in Retreat.
20 years ago after surviving Y2K, not that computers played much of a part in the old swimming pool unless you count the calculator in the office or the vending machines in the lobby which were still serving delicious hot chocolate for only 20p until the introduction of the Euro in 2002.
One day, the sky fell down and ended our world as we knew it.
I was going to work when I heard the news that the pool had to close as a small section of the roof collapsed, there were no smartphones back then so news travelled much slower and I don’t think my colleague took a selfie after the section of roofing collapsed down by the plant room entrance.
After years of service to the community, the pool was gone and the cost couldn’t be justified in replacing the roof as there was a new pool under construction that wouldn’t open for some time.
The roof I believe was made of asbestos so a simple patch on the roof couldn’t be used and it would cost a fortune to fix and replace the whole roof. The new pool had been planned since the early 90s.
Competitive swimmers would have to train in another town and the community would have to do without until the new facilities were finished at a nearby site and that was the end of the old pool.
Well not quite, you see people loved the old pool and swimmers needed to be able to train so we fixed the roof, despite the cost, and we got on with our lives.
Yes the view of the roof changed for anyone swimming back crawl and there was a disruption in service and I felt the pinch in my pocket as I lost my part-time job for a while but committees and communities did what they had to do, to get on with what needed to be done.
Find a hobby to do or watch some tv, James Bond has cancelled the cinema release of No Time To Die which seems very appropriate but there are many classic films to watch and re-watch again. Maybe watch all the old James Bond films. Everyone needs a hobby.
Yes, if the sky were to fall, we would rebuild it and make it even better.
Stay in your lane
I know I am not a politician or a doctor or equipped to talk about health crisis and government planning and am using a poor pool analogy to present a positive outlook on previously perceived crises in the world and I guess, just like swimming backcrawl, I better stay in my lane and avoid having to crawl back anything I say now and bump heads with anyone later on.
Today's blog is dedicated to all my friends who are self-isolating or in quarantine.
To my friend recovering from chemo-therapy who seriously needs to avoid Covid-19 and to a friend in Ireland who has been waiting patiently for almost a week to be tested.
Images taken from James Bond's 2012 Skyfall which was produced by EON productions.