Coming Out of a Coma in the Time of COVID  

 

As many of you will know, the television series “The Walking Dead” is in its final season.  The show premiered on October 31, 2010.  At the time I wasn’t a particular fan of zombie movies or fiction, but I watched that night anyway.  It was mainly because I live in Atlanta and was curious since I was aware that it was filmed locally.  And what the heck, it was Halloween night. 

I found the first episode to be quite compelling, much of which was due to the setup.  Rick, a small-town sheriff, was shot in the line of duty and ended up in the hospital in a coma.  A few months later he woke up alone in his hospital bed.  He looked around and things didn’t seem right.  Finally, he struggled out of bed and made his way into the hall.  No one was around and everything was in a state of disarray.  Then he stumbled outside into a world that had been decimated by a zombie apocalypse. 

Wow!  What a thing to wake up to.  Can you imagine?  And now it occurs to me . . .  What if I had been seriously injured and went into a coma on, let’s say, January 1, 2020.  And then let’s say I came out of that coma – oh, it doesn’t exactly matter – but let’s say yesterday.  The hospital would have called my wife and our first conversation might have gone something like this: 

“How long have I been out?” 

“Almost two years.” 

“Oh my god.  I guess I’m lucky to be alive.” 

“Yes, you are.  And a lot has happened during that time, you just can’t even imagine.” 

“Really?  Was it good or bad?” 

“It wasn’t good.” 

“Please don’t tell me there’s been a zombie apocalypse!  Ha-ha!” 

“No, but it’s pretty bad.” 

“Okay, let’s hear it.” 

“Look, I don’t want to upset you.  You’ve just come back to life.” 

“Just go ahead and tell me.  How bad could it be?” 

“Well, okay, here goes.  In March of 2020, the country and the world were declared to be in a pandemic of a virus called COVID-19.  Most of civilization was shut down for a time and nothing has ever been the same.  And right now there’s no sign of it being over anytime soon.” 

“Holy cow!  Well, this – what did you call it? – COVID-19?  It must be pretty bad, where if you get it, you’re pretty much going to die?” 

“Well, actually no.  The survival rate is 99% and most of the people who die are elderly and/or have serious health problems.” 

“Wait a minute.  I thought you said they shut down civilization over this.” 

“Yeah, they did, early on, because they didn’t know exactly what they were dealing with.  So businesses, schools, and pretty much everything that wasn’t considered ‘essential’ had to close.” 

“Well, is everything opened back up now?” 

“Yes, for the most part.  It depends on the state.  Some of them stayed closed a lot longer than others.  Places like California and New York were the worst.  Oh, and everybody had to wear masks whenever they went out in public.  It’s not required here anymore, but you’re still going to see a lot of people wearing them all over the place because they’re still afraid.” 

“If the survival rate is 99 percent, why would they be so afraid?” 

“Well, because the government and the media and the medical establishment have conditioned them to be afraid.” 

“Why would those institutions do that if the survival rate is 99 percent?” 

“That’s the question of the age and I can’t give you a simple answer.  You’ll just have to see for yourself as you learn more about it.” 

“So, are there treatments for this COVID?” 

“Well, yes, there are some treatments which studies show to be very effective and safe, but . . .” 

“But what?” 

“But they don’t want anybody to have them.” 

“Huh?  Why not?” 

“Let me be more precise.  There are a handful of doctors who are speaking out and are willing to treat people, but the medical establishment is totally against it, from Fauci all the way down to regular doctors and even pharmacists.” 

“What the hell is a ‘Fauci?’” 

“Oh, Dr. Fauci is a guy – he’s 80 years old – who is sort of in charge of everything when it comes to COVID.  He’s the head of . . . um . . . something or other . . . something to do with infectious diseases and he’s kind of calling the shots about what to do. 

“And Trump appointed this guy?  And he’s still in there?” 

“Yes, he’s still in there, but . . .” 

“Wait a minute, I gotta ask something now.  Who is the president?  It’s gotta be Trump, right?  Who ended up becoming the Democrat candidate?  Was it crazy Bernie or someone else, like Pocahontas?” 

“Honey, the president is Joe Biden.” 

“What?!  Oh my god, you can’t be serious!  ‘Sleepy Joe’ Biden?  That senile loser who couldn’t run a hot dog stand and is neck-deep in China-related corruption?  How is that possible with the roaring Trump economy we had?” 

“COVID killed the economy, or at least the country’s reaction to COVID killed it, which, again, was the shutdown.  And anyway, it looks like the election might have been stolen.  A lot of serious people don’t believe Biden really won.  And by the way, Georgia now has two crazy left Democrat senators.” 

“How is that even possible?” 

“It’s complicated.  But at least you missed the nationwide riots.” 

“Riots?  Over what, the COVID shutdown?” 

“No, over George Floyd.” 

“Who is George Floyd?” 

“Well, he was a black criminal in Minneapolis who died in police custody.  They used that as an excuse to claim systemic racism by the cops and they rioted in cities all over the country for months.” 

“During a pandemic, for months?  How could it go on for so long?” 

“Most local authorities stood by and let them riot because it was for social justice.” 

“And Trump didn’t send in the National Guard?” 

“No.  Rumor has it that he was talked out of it by certain people in his administration.” 

“Great!” 

“And what happened to George Floyd started a movement of either ‘defund the police’ or ‘abolish the police’ in cities around the country.” 

“But that’s insane!  Without the police we would descend into anarchy and madness!  How could anybody be pushing for that?” 

“I don’t know, it’s incomprehensible.” 

“I almost wish I had woken up to zombies.  Zombies are starting to sound pretty good right now.” 

“At least you still have your sense of humor.” 

“So what has Biden done to the country?” 

“Look, I don’t know if we should get into that right now.  You need your rest and you don’t need to get any more upset.” 

“I’ve been asleep for almost two years!  I don’t need more rest.  Just tell me what he’s done.” 

“Well, first of all, his intellectual functioning is clearly going downhill fast.  I don’t see how he could possibly last through his entire term.  Anyway . . .  So, he pulled us out of Afghanistan precipitously, leaving the Taliban in charge and with tens of billions of dollars worth of our military equipment; the southern border is wide open and they’re sending illegals to communities all over the country; he’s absolutely destroyed our energy industry and the price of gas keeps going up; the supply chains have been wrecked and container ships are sitting offshore from our major ports unable to get in and unload; he wants to force everybody to get an experimental vaccine that doesn’t stop the spread of the virus and has caused more deaths and bad reactions than all other vaccines combined; the military has gone completely woke with critical race theory and rainbow ideology; he wants to fix the climate . . .”  

“Heaven help us!” 

“That reminds me.  He met with the pope recently at the Vatican and . . .” 

“Oh lord, that leftist pope.  What did they do, make a pact with Satan?” 

“Not that I know of.  Actually, I probably shouldn’t have even brought it up.” 

“Why not?” 

“Well . . .” 

“Just go ahead.” 

“I don’t know . . .” 

“I want to hear this!” 

“Well, there are rumors that he might have . . . um . . . had a little accident while he was there.” 

“What kind of an accident?” 

“Look, I don’t know if it’s true, it probably isn’t, but . . .” 

“Tell me.” 

“Honestly, it’s probably just a crazy rumor, but . . . Well, he may have – I can’t even believe I’m saying this – he may have . . . he may have pooped his pants.” 

“Aaugh . . . aargh . . . uggh . . . gasp!” 

“Oh my god, what’s wrong?  Are you okay?” 

“Can you get the doctors in here?” 

“Are you in pain?  Are you having trouble breathing?” 

 “No, I want to see if they will re-induce my coma!” 

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  1. James Salerno Inactive
    James Salerno
    @JamesSalerno

    Walking Dead started off great. It wasn’t a zombie show. The zombies were secondary, they could have been any other threat and the basic concepts of the show would still work.

    It was a show about what happens post-societal collapse. How do people enforce laws? How do hierarchies function and who gets to decide? How does work get assigned? Is it every man for themselves or do tribes form? I liked the show a lot when those concepts were front and center.

    • #1
  2. Stina Member
    Stina
    @CM

    Greg Strange: “I almost wish I had woken up to zombies.  Zombies are starting to sound pretty good right now.” 

    If it were zombies, we wouldn’t be arguing over who the enemy really is or what tactics are appropriate.

    Such easily identifiable enemies, however deadly and difficult to defeat, simplify things so much.

    But then I will never forget the Carol episode with girls and who she decided was too much of a threat.

    • #2
  3. BDB Coolidge
    BDB
    @BDB

    I watched the first season well after the fact and then started the second.  It felt like a soap opera with zombies.  Haven’t been back.

    • #3
  4. BDB Coolidge
    BDB
    @BDB

    Greg Strange: “What the hell is a ‘Fauci?’”

    My favorite line in a well-written post.  Thank you @gregstrange!

    • #4
  5. Stina Member
    Stina
    @CM

    BDB (View Comment):

    I watched the first season well after the fact and then started the second. It felt like a soap opera with zombies. Haven’t been back.

    Interesting. I wonder what the definition of a soap is. Some shows come off as very soapy while others seem to come really close to the line without going all the way.

    I stopped watching after the Carol episode, and I didn’t find it that soapy. I thought it was an interesting commentary on complex ethics in a survivalist world… I almost think it could have been a masterpiece in spite the zombies, mainly because the focus was on the characters as the walking dead.

    • #5
  6. kedavis Coolidge
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    I’m glad I never started watching.  I think I would have stopped after the first episode, maybe even partly through the first episode, as a guy who’s been in a coma for months wakes up in an empty hospital where apparently nobody was giving him IV nutrition etc for at least several days if not weeks, yet he didn’t die while in the coma…

    How did he get his muscle tone back after months of disuse?

    etc, etc.

    Man, am I glad I never wasted any time on that!

    Great post, though.  Funny!

    The first episode of James Lileks’ podcast “The Ramble,” from 2015, also covers a lot of “Walking Dead” stuff.

    • #6
  7. Victor Tango Kilo Member
    Victor Tango Kilo
    @VtheK

    What got tiresome on TWD was the constant recycling of the same plot.

    1. Survivors find a possible haven.

    2. Haven is overrun by zombies and bad guys.

    3. Writers kill off a popular character for shock value.

    4. Rinse and repeat.

    • #7
  8. kedavis Coolidge
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Victor Tango Kilo (View Comment):

    What got tiresome on TWD was the constant recycling of the same plot.

    1. Survivors find a possible haven.

    2. Haven is overrun by zombies and bad guys.

    3. Writers kill off a popular character for shock value.

    4. Rinse and repeat.

    Yep, James covered that too in the podcast.

    • #8
  9. JustmeinAZ Member
    JustmeinAZ
    @JustmeinAZ

    Stina (View Comment):
    Interesting. I wonder what the definition of a soap is. Some shows come off as very soapy while others seem to come really close to the line without going all the way.

    I’ve got one that goes all the way. We thought that we would watch Jamestown on PBS, My thought was Oh, historical period drama. Wrong!. It’s just a soap opera in mud.

    • #9
  10. Flicker Coolidge
    Flicker
    @Flicker

    Hey guys, my iphone just texted me that this post isn’t about zombies.

    And Greg, you really do sum up the last two years quite well.

    Was the guy when he came out of the coma, told that he now had to choose between a sex and an X?

    • #10
  11. kedavis Coolidge
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Oh, and James’ first guest/co-host, talking about The Walking Dead etc, was John Yoo!

    • #11
  12. The Scarecrow Thatcher
    The Scarecrow
    @TheScarecrow

    And she didn’t even tell him that:

    men can now pretend to be women by putting on some eyeliner and a training bra, and then totally smoke them in womens’ sports competitions, effectively destroying womens’ sports, not to mention what it means to be a woman, and the Left is totes cool with that,

    that boys can force themselves on girls in school bathrooms by simply wearing a dress, and the school is cool with that,

    that the IRS can now access everyone’s bank records when ever they want, and the Left says this is a good thing because … something about the rich – and besides, if you’ve got nothing to hide why are you worried about it? – and the gov seems cool with that,

    that social media tech-lords will silence anyone from discussing negative things about the tech-lords’ preferred political candidates, and the government is cool with that,

    that those same tech-lords will effectively shut you down socially if you talk about stuff they don’t like, and the government and the Left is cool with that,

    That … okay, I shouldn’t go on. The poor dude will want to be put back into a coma.

     

    • #12
  13. HankRhody Freelance Philosopher Contributor
    HankRhody Freelance Philosopher
    @HankRhody

    Meanwhile, in a parallel timeline.

    “Can you believe they’re still telling us to wear masks? We’ve known for over a year that the zombie virus is transmitted by bites and rarely fingernail scrapings. It’s not even airborne!”

    • #13
  14. James Lileks Contributor
    James Lileks
    @jameslileks

    Funny post! And of course I’ll hijack it to talk about the Walking Dead, like someone who can’t wait for you to stop talking to so he can say what he wants to say.

    1 The opening premise of WD is the same as 24 Days Later – the protagonist wakes up in a hospital bed, having slept through the collapse. At least 24 had a nod to reality when the fellow falls flat on his face, because his muscles have atrophied. Rick would have been worse after, what, a month? Two? 

    2 Even if you admit the possibilities of zombies, they’re going to be rotten, bloated sacks of goo quite quickly. It’s summer in the South. Hole up and wait a few weeks. The idea that they’re still out there in hordes YEARS later is absurd.

    3 Zombies were a big cultural thing before COVID, just as aliens and UFOs and imminent planetary  convulsions and awakenings were big at the end of the 90s, until 9/11. Now much of the dystopia pron looks like decadent indulgence, bored people wallowing in peace and affluence and trying to will into existence something more interesting.

    • #14
  15. kedavis Coolidge
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    As astute people may have guessed, I have this available for easy access:

     

    https://www.adrive.com/public/meXxr7/James%20Lileks'%20The%20Ramble%2012-23-15%20Ep.%201_%20The%20Walking%20Dead.mp3

     

    • #15
  16. E. Kent Golding Member
    E. Kent Golding
    @EKentGolding

    James Lileks (View Comment):
    hey’re going to be rotten, bloated sacks of goo quite quickly.

    Yeah;  so what.  Biden still seems to amble and cause lots of damage.

    • #16
  17. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher
    Bryan G. Stephens
    @BryanGStephens

    James Lileks (View Comment):
    2 Even if you admit the possibilities of zombies, they’re going to be rotten, bloated sacks of goo quite quickly. It’s summer in the South. Hole up and wait a few weeks. The idea that they’re still out there in hordes YEARS later is absurd.

    This this this!

    I hate Zombie stories. They make no sense unless you invoke magic. 

    The best science zombies are in “The Last of Us” video game when it is a fungal infection, and frankly, I can’t help but think they were “inspired” by Niven’s “Night on Mispec Moor”.

    • #17
  18. E. Kent Golding Member
    E. Kent Golding
    @EKentGolding

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):

    James Lileks (View Comment):
    2 Even if you admit the possibilities of zombies, they’re going to be rotten, bloated sacks of goo quite quickly. It’s summer in the South. Hole up and wait a few weeks. The idea that they’re still out there in hordes YEARS later is absurd.

    This this this!

    I hate Zombie stories. They make no sense unless you invoke magic.

    The best science zombies are in “The Last of Us” video game when it is a fungal infection, and frankly, I can’t help but think they were “inspired” by Niven’s “Night on Mispec Moor”.

    The Niven story was great.

    • #18
  19. Instugator Thatcher
    Instugator
    @Instugator

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):
    The best science zombies are in “The Last of Us” video game when it is a fungal infection, and frankly, I can’t help but think they were “inspired” by Niven’s “Night on Mispec Moor”.

    Nope. Ringo’s Black Tide Rising is the best. The protagonist even explain that they aren’t ‘The Walking Dead’.

     

    • #19
  20. drlorentz Member
    drlorentz
    @drlorentz

    Graffiti seen under a railway overpass in August 2020:

    The name COVID-1984 is more apt, don’t you think?

    • #20
  21. Eridemus Coolidge
    Eridemus
    @Eridemus

    I had to do my daily walk in a local mall today. I had come in from a distant parking spot when I realized I had forgotten a mask, and decided to just walk bare and see if I was escorted out or even stared at. (I’m not sure there is any fine in this area). Well I only stayed on one level and it wasn’t terribly crowded but Christmas “looking” is starting to pick up and for entertainment I decided to count the likeminded, forgetful, or lazy if I saw any other unmasked people, and then to guess what percent of the crowd was falling out of pattern. I left after 30 min. and stopped counting at 125. So there were at least 124 other people to grab besides me. I guess it looked like around 25%-33% unmasked. The fear and conformity may be cracking (at least in urban N.C.)

    • #21
  22. BDB Coolidge
    BDB
    @BDB

    Instugator (View Comment):

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):
    The best science zombies are in “The Last of Us” video game when it is a fungal infection, and frankly, I can’t help but think they were “inspired” by Niven’s “Night on Mispec Moor”.

    Nope. Ringo’s Black Tide Rising is the best. The protagonist even explain that they aren’t ‘The Walking Dead’.

     

    Sounds like a cage match!

    • #22
  23. BDB Coolidge
    BDB
    @BDB

    Eridemus (View Comment):

    I had to do my daily walk in a local mall today. I had come in from a distant parking spot when I realized I had forgotten a mask, and decided to just walk bare and see if I was escorted out or even stared at. (I’m not sure there is any fine in this area). Well I only stayed on one level and it wasn’t terribly crowded but Christmas “looking” is starting to pick up and for entertainment I decided to count the likeminded, forgetful, or lazy if I saw any other unmasked people, and then to guess what percent of the crowd was falling out of pattern. I left after 30 min. and stopped counting at 125. So there were at least 124 other people to grab besides me. I guess it looked like around 25%-33% unmasked. The fear and conformity may be cracking (at least in urban N.C.)

    Yup.  I meet a friend for dinner after work sometimes around here.  He’s fairly compliant about masks — me less so.  I now leave the face diaper it in my car, and if I’m stopped, I’ll simply lobby to eat somerhwere else.  Theoretically, anyway — never been stopped.

    • #23
  24. Stina Member
    Stina
    @CM

    BDB (View Comment):

    Yup.  I meet a friend for dinner after work sometimes around here.  He’s fairly compliant about masks — me less so.  I now leave the face diaper it in my car, and if I’m stopped, I’ll simply lobby to eat somerhwere else.  Theoretically, anyway — never been stopped.

    I’m of the opinion you provide it if you want it. I only make one exception to this rule because it’s important to me and I don’t expect to find anyone without the masks and that’s my kids’ music lessons.

    My rule has led to being maskless for most of the pandemic.

    • #24
  25. BDB Coolidge
    BDB
    @BDB

    Stina (View Comment):

    BDB (View Comment):

    Yup. I meet a friend for dinner after work sometimes around here. He’s fairly compliant about masks — me less so. I now leave the face diaper it in my car, and if I’m stopped, I’ll simply lobby to eat somerhwere else. Theoretically, anyway — never been stopped.

    I’m of the opinion you provide it if you want it. I only make one exception to this rule because it’s important to me and I don’t expect to find anyone without the masks and that’s my kids’ music lessons.

    My rule has led to being maskless for most of the pandemic.

    Yup.  I have my compliance zones, as it were, which are unpleasantly numerous. 

    • #25
  26. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    ♦ and ♣ too.

    EDIT: Twice in two days.

    • #26
  27. HankRhody Freelance Philosopher Contributor
    HankRhody Freelance Philosopher
    @HankRhody

    Percival (View Comment):

    ♦ and ♣ too.

    Wrong thread, bucko.

    • #27
  28. JustmeinAZ Member
    JustmeinAZ
    @JustmeinAZ

    I thought we were making good progress re non-mask wearing until I saw this in our local paper. Our local chorus is giving a concert and while mask wearing is optional for the audience there is this in the news article:

    “If necessary, we’ll wear masks” at the concerts, Jenkins pointed out. “Because of the possibility of masks, we’ll sing well-known songs so the audience is familiar with the words.

    WTF! Masks for the singers? I was going to go, but not now.

    • #28
  29. Hartmann von Aue Member
    Hartmann von Aue
    @HartmannvonAue

    Good post. TWD is finally biting the dust? About time. 

    • #29
  30. BDB Coolidge
    BDB
    @BDB

    Hartmann von Aue (View Comment):

    Good post. TWD is finally biting the dust? About time.

    Well.  I think it will continue to shamble around the landscape…

    • #30
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