It is always easier to look back and find the things we should have done differently but didn’t. In my job as a surgeon, I used an instrument, the sigmoidoscope, that allowed me to look up the rectum to find lethal diseases lurking up there. 

It is that instrument that inspired the development of another scope, the retrospectoscope, that allows one to look back to the past to see what could have been done better. This scope, which is still in research and is not yet fully developed, is also able to predict the future with a small modification, the proper training, and if used correctly.

Just as the Greeks had the Oracle of Delphi, who apparently had an ancient version of this tool, and the Oracle of Omaha, Warren Buffet, who has a newer version that can be turned to the future.  So far, he is the only one who is licensed for that use.

I wish I had the fully developed model of the retrospectoscope and could turn it toward the future also.  I would have done exactly what several of the Senators did and sell my stocks rather than lose 25% of my retirement assets. Although the Senators had insider information which they are apparently vaccinated against and allows them to do so with impunity and immunity to consequences.  I would not want to spend two years in jail, as Martha Steward did for that crime. 

I would have bought more toilet paper.  I would have gotten masks, and worn them much sooner than I did. I would have stocked up on a lot more canned foods, so I would not have to go to the grocery store and stand in line to find out that they are out of dairy products, garlic, hand sanitizer, and wine. Especially wine, since Dr. Anthony Fauci recommended using alcohol to cleanse surfaces, I could have sterilized my gut surface much better than I was able to do. 

I see so many of my friends and acquaintances now criticizing what was done and the flaws in the way things proceeded.  This pandemic is new to us, that is what novel means –it comes from “novo,” Latin for “new.”  The last major world pandemic was in 1918-1919.  None of us were here  101 years ago, or at least very few, and those that were, don’t remember.  We are too harsh on ourselves and those that lead us.  We are learning things we didn’t know just a few weeks ago, and are adjusting accordingly, just like all hominids have learned to do in the last four million years since we came down from the trees and started walking upright in the savannas of Africa. Overall I think we are doing much better than I would have predicted.  The curve is flattening and even turning down in some parts of the country.  It is looking like we have fewer infected people and fewer deaths than predicted, precisely because we have practiced social distancing, hand washing, and wearing masks, although not as much as we should have.  There are still too many people out on the roads, some attending houses of worship looking for answers from heaven.  These answers have been beamed down already, but a few people won’t listen.  This reminds me of the joke about the guy who refused to leave his home as the water was rising in an epic storm. “The Lord will provide!” he said when people tried to get him out of his house.  A boat came by and told him to get in.  He again refused, saying, “The Lord will provide.”  He continued to pray.  Soon he was forced to the roof to avoid drowning.  A helicopter hovered above and sent down a rope.  The man still refused and still was waiting for the Lord to rescue him.  Naturally, he drowned.  Up at the pearly gates, he was angry.  “I prayed and waited for the Lord to save me. What happened?” St. Peter answered, “What more did you want? We sent a boat and then a helicopter, and you refused to take them!” 

Despite the stalwarts who congregate, students who go to spring break beach parties, and those who refuse to wear masks, there are enough people who have listened to God’s message to socially keep distance, which is the only means to slow the spread of this scourge. Even Chicago’s death rate is slowing down, not because of fewer Corona deaths but because of fewer gunshot deaths. Obviously, social distancing works in mysterious ways that are new to us as well.

As soon as the retrospectoscope has been FDA approved, I will be in line to buy mine and turn it to the future, so I will know with certainty what to do!