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Minnich: Lots of inventory to count during anxiety-inducing times

What have you been doing with yourself the past week or so? Bored? Binge-watching the tube, roaming internet land? Bored is not all bad. The busy ones have more problems than too much down time on their hands. Worrying.

Like most people I used to know, we have been in a kind of hibernation, linked only by electronics to sources of (1) alarm, (2) food or (3) entertainment.

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Most of the alarm comes when we’re seeking information. As a lifelong newshound, I never thought I’d ever get too much news, but lately it’s like lighting your cigar from a house fire, and the overkill leaves a sense of futility that does little to treat the most damaging symptoms of a disaster — anxiety.

The real cause of the anxiety is less about the threat of getting sick than a feeling of loss of control. Adults have learned that they can’t control everything but still get anxious about it. The young and immature still think they will live forever and rule their destiny and so are only anxious about not being with their friends. Loss of control.

Anxiety is only a little better than apathy, an affliction among those who think they’re going to live forever and haven’t given much thought to the fact that they might be carriers of deadly weapons the size of a droplet of a sneeze. I miss the company of positive people, but I don’t want any visitors from someone as positively wrong as the deniers.

Those of us who are not obligated to bring home a weekly paycheck to pay for all the stuff that we thought we just could not live without just sit and count our blessings for now. It’s the limit of our control. We worry about our friends and family members who are still out there — if the world is open — trying to do a job and stay in the proverbial rat race.

People who are the worse for it in times like these are those who have too little resources and are worried about their jobs, paying the bills that are arriving every day, along with bad news about some virus that was not given a thought a few weeks ago.

Some of them made the mistake of living beyond their means — the American disease — but too many are victims of a culture that changed from one of sober accountability based on justice and accountability and social responsibility to something that rewards the predatory.

The world has changed for teens graduating (?) this year and now wondering if they can go to college in the fall, or when they will play sports again. It’s changed for those who have lost a spouse or other loved one in too little time to even get used to thinking about the possibility of it.

There is little solace to be found in the “breaking news” featuring the now-predicable fencing between the cautionary medical experts and the impatient money interests.

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Don’t be fooled: The people in charge in the administration right now don’t care as much about your income as they do your vote. They care less about you paying bills than they do about the lifestyles of the privileged.

So, if you’re bored, good. Count your blessings while you can and pay just enough attention to know who to listen to and when to turn it off.

When the sun shines again and the flowers bloom, you’ll be among those who will lead conversations about what’s next.

And really analyze for yourself what went wrong, and why.

It’s still about consequences — and control.

Dean Minnich retired from journalism and served two terms as county commissioner. His column runs every Thursday. His email address is dminnichwestm@gmail.com.

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