I’m Optimistic Towards the End of Life

by Carl Nelson (May 2020)


Man is the Mouth of the Lord, Paul Klee



Our current worldwide pandemic comes with a great silver lining. We are all going to die. And I am among those older in high risk groups. But I can’t foresee another of my deaths having such positive repercussions as if I were to die of the Covid-19.


There are all sorts of other ways of dying out there, including suicides which nationally took approximately 50,000 lives in 2018. Covid-19 on the other hand is estimated to cause 60,000 deaths by August, 2020. So the present Covid-19 virus (by this August) is only 20% more competent than just the effect of current American life in effective kills.


Nevertheless if I were to die, even if I were to self-immolate, after making a specific vocal protest, with gasoline and one of those cheap Bic lighters, I can’t imagine causing a larger political splash than if I were to simply die of Covid-19. And if every one of those 50,000 suicides were to self-immolate in protest, I can imagine the sensational media coverage. But I am still doubtful as to its effectiveness in causing political change. Because the only numbers which mean much to many of those who wield the levers of power are the big #1. I ask you, did we intervene to ameliorate the Holocaust? Is the Pope Catholic?


If I were a nationally syndicated pundit or columnist, I doubt I could write persuasively enough to do what my one death from Covid-19 could do.  Why is this? Well, lots of columnists pepper us with words every day. How much do those words affect us? Well, for the most part they are like a sequence of brief squalls in which one columnist pushes an audience this way until another pushes them the other. But how much do they affect many in power? If a columnist’s words disenchant those with the power levers, they are often replaced by someone whose words don’t. Or those lever pullers buy the offending media source and replace these irritants, as is currently happening through machinations by the heirs of Fox News. But it’s still a subtle game and is played something as my old moving company employer did, allowing its incompetent competitor to stay in business, so that he might continue to bid successfully for the moving rights to Alaska. For the latest upgrades in this playbook visit Putin’s Russia.  



Century of the Hoax


“If it weren’t for lies, there’d be no facts at all.”

—Ed Daulerd


There is a competition being waged between

a well-endowed fantasy and a dirt-poor reality for audience.

The home entertainment group is a constantly milling crowd;

bored, shopping for amusement, outrage, justification…

“Oh, the places they’ll go.”

(Here are the relevant mathematical expressions.)*


As history is proven to be a failed endeavor

which we must own nevertheless,

while moving ever faster in order to escape its

gravitational pullif we don’t pass legislation quickly!


History occurs when we least expect it,

billowing over our demographics

(“If you see something, say something.”)

like Non-aggression Pact Dirigibles.  


(Well, I’m seeing something,

and I’m saying something.)



But these viri are equal opportunists. They are true egalitarians! Unlike jobs, which can be disproportionately affected by globalization, or interest groups which can be disproportionately affected by regulations, or demographics which can be disproportionately represented by legislation—viri of both the organic and digital types can pass right through walls, social barriers, rip right through regulations and scale the heights of institutions. And they tend to disproportionately affect the networked and mobile; the cultural leaders who must meet with a lot of people to seed—sort of like weeds—to disseminate themselves. For example, look at the recent viral hotspot of Sun Valley, that ‘remote’ enclave of billionaires in Idaho.


Bill Gates suggests a total shutdown for 6-10 weeks. A virus can blow in on the wind as easily through Bill’s kitchen window and set down on his cookie jar in a highly secure compound as it can through mine. LeBron James is going to be hostile to any criticism of Communist China if it means cutting off lucrative income from his Chinese fans. This is more important to James than whether they are slicing up live people to sell for body part transplantations. But a virus can float through the air and right into LeBron’s compound as well. So, I’m guessing he might feel otherwise about this pandemic. Having me coughing loudly while dying nearby his Ohio home might just catch his attention. The homeless and illegal immigrants might be prevented from climbing the walls into Pelosi’ estate, but a virus can flutter right through the gates like a cherished supporter. So I’m guessing this possibility might catch the Democratic Speaker of the House’s attention also.


Up until now, globalization and borderless agendas have benefitted those with power and privilege. These new viri however make them vulnerable as ourselves—if not more so as they inordinately effect the networked and mobile. (Have I gotten this across yet?) The globalization equation changes nearly overnight when the illegal immigrant might be a disease carrier. Home industry seems more important when they can reliably supply the needed medicines, or insure digitally safe technical components for our critical infrastructure and military, or simply feed, house and clothe us. Everybody is in the same stew now and prepared to be cooked. And the country which currently threatens to cook and serve us all, (I mean, they’ll eat anything.) such as Communist China, is a threat to us all. Realism will require that our politics coalesce in a much more fraternal manner. And this is why I am optimistic. These viruses might be our saving grace from some facially identifying, social media repressing, politically imprisoning global, bureaucratic tyranny organized by those who thought they knew better.


where YPT is Your Personal Truth,

YE is Your Experience

PA is its Popular Appeal

TA is Total Audience

and CC is the Credibility Coefficient.



where TC is the Truth You May Convey

TT is Their Truth

and YT is Your Truth




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Carl Nelson has recently finished his book, The Poet’s (40 Pound) Weight Loss Plan, comprised of instructional prose and poetry. Using his method he is walking around forty pounds lighter with normal fasting glucose levels and not snoring, while currently working on a second volume of Self-Help Poetry, The Poet’s (25 Year) Marriage Plan. He lives in tiny Belpre, Ohio. He has published plays, poetry, stories and prose in many varied journals but he favors the New English Review. To read more about Carl and his work visit here and here.

Follow NER on Twitter @NERIconoclast



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