Bernie Madoff Is Dead: Reminders And Perspectives

In general, it’s wise and considerate to not celebrate another human being’s death. Even if you despise that person on so many levels, we should make an effort to not take too much satisfaction in someone else’s passing. It’s just basic human decency.

However, there are some exceptions and I think most would agree the death Bernie Madoff qualifies.

There aren’t a whole lot of people in this world who have managed to make themselves so universally hated. Somehow, Madoff found a way. Hatred of him and his crimes has transcended politics, ideology, race, religion, and geography. That’s a rare kind of hatred, but one Madoff rightly earned.

After his huge, decades-long Ponzi scheme was exposed, he became the face of evil and greed. The man stole from everyone. From Hollywood elites to holocaust survivors, he’d steal from anyone just to keep his scheme going.

For that reason, it’s entirely understandable that some are celebrating the recent news of his death. After decades of bilking people out of their money and living the life of immense wealth, Madoff died alone in prison with no friends, family, or loved ones to mourn him. It may very well be the most justice we can expect for a crime of this magnitude.

AP News: Ponzi schemer Bernie Madoff dies in prison at 82

Bernard Madoff, the infamous architect of an epic securities swindle that burned thousands of investors, outfoxed regulators and earned him a 150-year prison term, died behind bars early Wednesday. He was 82.

Madoff’s death at the Federal Medical Center in Butner, North Carolina, was confirmed by his lawyer and the Bureau of Prisons.

For his many victims, I’m sure Madoff’s death is cold comfort, at best. I certainly have my opinions of the man. I’d rather not share them, if only to avoid the ire of the FCC. Instead, I want to offer some perspective on the death of this fraudster and the lessons from it that we should heed.

Most people already know the basics of Madoff’s scheme. It was, by and large, a massive Ponzi scheme. It’s certainly not a new scam. It’s been around for decades. Madoff’s was just the biggest. How he went about sustaining it for so many years has been covered by many people far smarter than me.

However, the size and specifics of the scheme matter. It was always going to fall apart, as all Ponzi schemes do. It’s like gravity. There’s only so much money you can steal to give to previous investors. Eventually, you just run out of people and money. The math always works against you.

The fact that so many Ponzi schemes still occur, despite all these forces working against them, is something worth noting. The death of Bernie Madoff doesn’t mean these types of schemes will go away. There will always be some ruthless, amoral con-man out there who manages to scam people out of money through trickery, deceit, and fraud. The death of one famous fraudster isn’t going to discourage the fraud.

Another perspective that we shouldn’t forget is how Madoff’s scheme could’ve, and probably should’ve, been exposed years ago before it got this big. It’s well-documented that Harry Markopolos, a financial analyst from Boston, figured out the scheme as early as 2000 and tried multiple times to expose it. Unfortunately, the right people didn’t listen and the system didn’t work as it should’ve.

That’s another thing that tends to happen a lot with these schemes. There are often people who figure it out long before it makes the news or alerts the authorities. Sometimes, it hastens the collapse of the scheme, but skilled con-men find a way to get around it. That only ensures more people get hurt in the long run.

With Madoff’s death, it leads me to wonder just how many other schemes like his are out there, unexposed and operating under the guise of legitimacy. We may not think they’re scams. They may go out of their way to assure us that they’re nothing like Madoff. We should still be vigilant.

There are some proactive steps you can take. There are signs you can look for and government agencies you can call. Madoff was a skilled con-man, but even he couldn’t hide every aspect of his lies. Even the most determined fraudsters can only do so much to subvert the basic math of finance.

There’s also one other perspective I think is worth highlighting and it might be the most revealing of it all. Of all the distressing details surrounding the Madoff saga, the one that stands out most to me is how Madoff inevitably gave up on it.

When he was exposed, it wasn’t because someone at the FBI or SEC caught him lying. It wasn’t because he messed up and a regulator caught him in the act. Madoff went down because he willingly gave up. He turned himself over when he realized he just couldn’t keep the scheme going anymore.

It wasn’t a matter of law enforcement catching the criminal. It was a matter of the criminal just giving up because fighting it just wasn’t worth the effort anymore. Take a moment to think about that and the implications.

We, as a law-biding society, didn’t catch Bernie Madoff. He just gave up. That says a lot more about the system in place than it does about our collective hatred of con-men like him. It also raises the question of what would happen if someone even more ruthless and amoral found themselves in a similar position.

How much further could they take the scheme?

How many more victims could they exploit?

These are distressing questions and the answers should give us pause. A man as infamous and cunning as Bernie Madoff could only succeed in a system with enough flaws for him to exploit. Who’s to say there isn’t someone worse operating a similar fraud right now?

This infamous criminal is now dead and he will be rightly vilified for his crimes for years to come. However, let’s not let his death or our shared hatred of him give the false impression that crimes like his won’t happen. They certainly will. It’s just a matter of catching them before they hurt too many people.

There are many people like Bernie Madoff who are still alive and still operating their various frauds. We can’t stop all of them. At the very least, we can make sure they never succeed as long or as much as he did.

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Filed under Current Events, human nature, psychology, real stories

Jack’s World: Latest MCU X-Men Rumors: Reactions, Promise, And Potential

The following is a video from my YouTube channel, Jack’s World. It covers some recent rumors that have been circulating about the future of the X-Men in the MCU. Please note that these rumors are not substantiated. There is no inside source at work here. Most of this information comes from the site, BGR. So, please take them with a grain of salt.

That disclaimer aside, I made this video as a general reaction of sorts. This is also the first time I used my new video editing software. Please let me know if you can see a difference in the overall quality. Enjoy!

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Filed under Marvel, Marvel Cinematic Universe, X-men, YouTube

I’m Officially Vaccinated! Please Do The Same

Today, I feel like I’ve just finished running a long marathon over rocky terrain through a snowstorm and with a pack of hungry wolves chasing me. If it sounds like I’m being melodramatic, I make no apologies. I’m just that excited and relieved because, as of this writing, I received my first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

Having watched with everyone else over the past year as this once-in-a-generation pandemic has ravaged the world, I’ve been anxiously waiting for this moment, like so many others. Most of us know people who have been infected or in some ways impacted by this terrible disease. The only way we’re going to beat it while minimizing further loss of life is through a vaccine.

I’ve covered the news surrounding the development of multiple vaccines for this disease. I’ve also made it very clear that I am not sympathetic to those who cut in line to get their dose or those who try to undermine public health for political or religious reasons. I know there was and still is a lot of drama surrounding vaccines. I’m willing to set that all aside for now.

Getting vaccinated after living through so many upheavals is a great feeling. For those who may be concerned, I can attest that the process is simple and quick. Those involved were kind, diligent, and professional every step of the way. I was in and out within a half-hour. I couldn’t be happier with how the whole operation went down.

Since I’ll still need a second dose, I will have to return. Having seen the dedication and efficiency of those involved, I am perfectly comfortable with that. I also encourage everyone, including those who hate needles, to make the effort to get this vaccine.

Check with your local government.

Talk to your family doctor.

Call up a CVS or local pharmacy.

Use this handy tool that I’ve linked to before.

Whatever steps you have to take, make the effort. You’ll be doing yourself, your neighbors, and your family a huge favor. I’m as sick of this pandemic as everyone else. This vaccine is how we’ll get out of it and get our lives back. Please make the effort. Regardless of your politics, religion, or ideology, get this vaccine.

I got mine and I can attest that it’s a great feeling.

Also, to all the wonderful men and women who helped develop this vaccine and other treatments, I sincerely thank you. You are all the true heroes of this pandemic.

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Filed under health, Jack Fisher's Insights, real stories

New Comic Book Day April 14, 2021: My Pull List And Pick Of The Week

This is usually the time of year when I pay my taxes. Then again, this is not a usual year, nor was last year. I still made the effort. I did my duty, as a citizen of the United States, to pay my fair share. Naturally, I’m a little sore and a bit jaded, as tends to be the case for anyone who deals with the IRS. That makes this New Comic Book Day all the more enjoyable.

We all have duties and responsibilities that aren’t exactly fun. We still do them because it’s the responsible thing to do, as functioning adults. However, while there’s always a time for duty and responsibility, there’s also a time for fun and relaxation. That’s what new comics do for me. After paying my taxes, I appreciate that feeling even more.

There aren’t a lot of epic stories you can tell about paying your taxes or making it through another year without falling behind on your bills. That’s perfectly fine. Now, I’m eager to follow those stories.

I want to read a comic that involves superheroes beating up invading aliens. I want to read a story about giant monsters fighting giant monsters. I just spent a good chunk of my weekend itemizing deductions and going over my W2 forms. I need this.

If you’ve managed to pay your taxes like I have, more power to you. Enjoy this week more than most. If you haven’t, I strongly encourage you to do so. Tangling with the Joker, Lex Luthor, and Godzilla is arduous, but it’ll never be as scary as dealing with the IRS. I’ve given them my share. Now, here is my pull list and pick of the week. Enjoy!


My Pull List

Batman: The Detective #1

Black Cat #5

Children Of The Atom #2

Daredevil #29

Fantastic Four #30

Guardians Of The Galaxy #13

Iron Fist: Heart Of The Dragon #4

Iron Man #8

The Joker #2

Mighty Morphin #6

Superman #30

Thor #14

Wolverine #11

Wonder Woman #771


My Pick Of The Week
Guardians Of The Galaxy #13

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Updates, Previews, And Mishaps With My New Video Editing Software

Learning new skills can be difficult. That difficulty only compounds when you try to teach yourself. I know it’s cliché, but anything worth learning tends to be difficult. When it’s part of a genuine passion, however, it can even more rewarding. You just have to be ready to endure some setbacks and frustration.

I bring this up because recently, I announced that I had purchased a new PC with my stimulus check. Alongside that purchase, I also bought a new video editing software, Adobe Premier Elements 2021. While getting the new PC up and running was mostly a formality, learning to use this new software was bound to be challenging. I just didn’t expect it to be this challenging.

The thing is I knew I had to get new video editing the second I decided to buy a new PC. The software I’d been using on my old PC, Movie Maker 2012, wasn’t just limited. It had been discontinued. When it came to getting my YouTube channel, Jack’s World, off the ground, it got the job done. However, if you’ve seen some of my early videos, you can tell the quality was not that great.

I did what I could to make up for the software’s limitations. That included purchasing a new microphone and modifying a few images. The plan was always to upgrade to something better and, having done some research on what other successful YouTubers use, I went all in on Adobe Premier Elements 2021.

Now, after spending an entire weekend, plus a few days, just learning the basics of the system, I now realize I have a long way to go. To be perfectly honest, I overestimated the complexity of basic video editing. Everything from making proper transitions to inserting the right text to adjusting music volume has proven incredibly challenging.

I got stuck on several major issues. Most of them involved panning around certain images and getting the right text graphics in place. It took nearly an entire afternoon just to figure out how properly time each image or video. I eventually figured it out, but only after messing up at least a dozen times.

I’d hoped I could get by with the basics for a while before moving onto more complex features. I now know that was hoping for too much. My goal was to use this software to make one 20-mintue video, just to get a feel for how long it would take. I managed to complete that video, but it’s taking me a lot longer and I’m still getting the hang of numerous features.

As a result, I’m going to use the old software to complete a batch of videos that were already in progress before I bought my new PC. You’ll be able to tell by the graphics and panning which videos were made with the old software. This one video I made with Premier, though, will look different. It won’t be completely obvious, but the signs will be there. If it looks a little messy, then assume it’s due to me struggling with certain functions.

I hope to post that video soon, as it covers a fairly timely topic. Yes, that topic involves superhero movies and X-Men. That shouldn’t surprise anyone. After that, any new video that I didn’t start with the old software will use Premier. In time, I hope it makes a difference in terms of quality and visuals. If you’re not seeing that improvement, please let me know so I can keep working at it.

In the meantime, to all those out there who are also struggling with using Adobe Premier Elements 2021, consider checking out some free tutorial videos. I found this one below to be particularly helpful.

I ended up referencing this, and a few others, many times whenever I got stuck, which was frequent. In hindsight, I probably should’ve referenced these videos sooner. They probably would’ve saved me a lot of frustration.

Then again, that’s the price you pay when you try to learn a new skill by teaching yourself. I’m not a very good teacher in that respect, but if I can do this, then anyone can. Video editing is definitely a skill worth learning and one that’s sure to become more critical in the future.

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An Artificial Intelligence That Can Debate: The Promise And The Perils

Even in an era as divided and chaotic as this, there’s still a place for reasonable debate on important issues.

Yes, I understand it’s hard to say that with a straight face these days.

Yes, I’ve been to comments sections, Reddit, and 4chan.

Yes, I know how ugly the discourse is right now, but that’s exactly why I’m bringing this up.

In general, people are curious. Even though they cling to cherished beliefs and refuse to change their minds when confronted with evidence, we’re still curious about things that are different. It’s not always honest, but it’s a powerful feeling. Even if you despise those on the other side of the debate, a part of you will still wonder why they hold the opinions they have.

That’s why debate is such a powerful tool. Humans are such a social species by nature. We’re hard-wired to interact, connect, and discuss things with one another, even when we don’t agree. It may frustrate us to no end, as anyone who has debated a creationist can attest. However, the fact we keep doing it is proof, in my opinion, that there’s still value in the process.

Regardless of how you feel about the merit and value of debating, the whole process might become more complicated in the near future. That’s because IBM, the same company behind Watson, the Jeopardy playing computer, just created an artificial intelligence that can debate at the same level as a skilled human debater.

Here’s an excerpt from a piece in TechXplore on this new system. It’s not as scary as some of the things we’ve seen from Boston Dynamics lately, but it’s still intriguing.

TechXplore: IBM’s AI debating system able to compete with expert human debaters

IBM has developed an artificial intelligence-based system designed to engage in debates with humans. In their paper published in the journal Nature, the team members describe their system and how well it performed when pitted against human opponents. Chris Reed with the University of Dundee has published a News & Views piece in the same journal issue outlining the history and development of AI technology based around the types of logic used in human arguments and the new system developed by IBM.

As Reed notes, debating is a skill humans have been honing for thousands of years. It is generally considered to be a type of discussion in which one or more people attempt to persuade others that their opinion on a topic is right. In this new effort, the team at IBM has created an AI system designed to debate with humans in a live setting. It listens to moderators and opponents and responds in a female voice.

Now, before you get too nervous, it’s worth noting that this AI is far from the kind of advanced artificial intelligence systems I’ve mentioned before. This is not the kind of AI that will become Skynet or Hal 9000, no more so than Watson or AlphaGo. This is a system is very much a narrow AI, as in it’s made to excel at a specific task.

We have AI’s that can beat world class chess players and Jeopardy champions. This AI just happens to excel at debate. However, that has implications that go beyond simply outclassing the best human debaters in the world at the moment. In fact, this is one form of AI that might not need human-level intelligence to incur a major impact.

Take a moment to think about how erratic and inconsistent most debates are. No matter how intelligent or informed you are, it tends to get messy fast. That’s why so many comments sections and Reddit threads devolve into shouting matches and personal attacks. The end result is people becoming more angry and unreasonable, which can have major real-world consequences.

However, what would happen if every debate on any issue included someone who was better than the best debater on the planet? Even if the two people on each side of the debate were dumb and inept, such a presence would have a major impact on the discourse.

That’s because winning a debate has little to do with how well someone knows a particular subject. It also has little to do with how forcefully and clearly someone explains a topic. Again, people who debate creationists know this all too well. Winning a debate doesn’t mean proving your expertise. It means proving the merit of your argument.

An AI that can do that may not convince someone that they’re wrong about something. However, losing a debate tends to have a lasting impact. Just ask any aspiring politician. It can also lead people to question their beliefs, even if they still cling to them. That, alone, can be powerful.

For proof, look no further than the story of Megan Phelps-Roper, a former member of the infamously hateful and dogmatic Westboro Baptist Church. She was as locked into her beliefs as anyone could possibly be. She was raised by religious zealots and indoctrinated into strict religious dogma from the time she was a child. She’s not someone whose mind is prone to change.

Then, she got into a discussion with someone on Twitter of all places. That person began a conversation. It started as a nasty debate, but it evolved into something that led her to question her beliefs. Ultimately, she left that hateful and bigoted environment. She’s now an activist against the same religiously motivated hate that she once fostered.

It’s a powerful story, but one that couldn’t have happened without a debate. To date, people have only been able to have those debates with other people. Not everyone is equally skilled. In fact, I would argue most people are woefully unskilled at debating anything and I include myself in that category. I am not good at it, either. I freely admit that.

Now, there’s an AI system that can theoretically win any debate the same way other systems can defeat any chess player. That does hold promise if it can be used to temper the heated rhetoric that has caused real-life hostilities. At the same time, there are reasons for concern.

What side would this system be on?

Moreover, who decides what position these AI systems take?

If no one decides, then how does the AI determine which side on a debate it takes?

These are relevant questions because if you have an AI that can win any debate, then the side it takes really matters. That can be used for good when countering dangerous disinformation, like those from the antivaxx crowd or hate groups like the Westboro Baptist Church. Like any tool, though, it can be weaponized for ill.

I can easily imagine political organizations getting a hold of these systems and trying to use them to benefit their agenda. I can also see some trying to use it to spam message boards, social media, and Reddit threads to derail certain movements or arguments. That’s a powerful tool and we can’t be certain that those using it will use it responsibly. That’s the dilemma with all technology. It can be used for good and for evil. With technology like artificial intelligence, the stakes are a lot higher, as are the perils. This technology may not be as dangerous as a more advanced AI, but it could be a precursor to just how disruptive this technology can be.

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Filed under Artificial Intelligence, futurism, technology

Jack Fisher’s Sexy Sunday Thoughts: Cherry Blossoms Edition

Spring is upon us and, even with a pandemic still raging, it brings welcome relief. For me, that sentiment is mixed. I certainly embrace warmer weather, as well as less precipitation that requires shoveling. I just don’t enjoy the allergy onslaught that comes with it. It’s why I don’t need a calendar to know it’s spring. My allergies do plenty to let me know.

It’s why I have a hard time enjoying the simple spectacle of blooming flowers. While most see their emerging presence as a thing of beauty, I see them as a potential precursor to more sinus congestion. I still make an effort to admire them, but that admiration has to be tempered.

However, I do make an exception for certain flowers. Cherry blossoms are at the top of that list. Some of that is due to where I live. I’m less than an hour away from Washington DC, which is known for beautiful cherry blossoms, as well as corrupt politicians. If you can ignore the politics, though, the cherry blossoms are a sight to behold.

They also hold a personal value to me. Years ago, my now ex-girlfriend came for a visit from college during Spring Break. As part of a day out, we traveled to DC where we got to see the cherry blossoms in full bloom. It was beautiful, as well as romantic. She certainly appreciated the spectacle and so did I. Even my allergies couldn’t stop me from enjoying it.

It was a great moment for us both. I bet if I asked her now, she would agree that was one of the best memories we shared together during our relationship. Even if you don’t live near DC, cherry blossoms are a beautiful manifestation of the best parts of spring. Their vibrant colors offer both a sign of the seasons and a uniquely romantic ambience.

As the weather gets warmer, more opportunities like that will emerge. If you’re with someone special, it’s a great way to get out of the house and enjoy the spirit of spring. Here are some Sexy Sunday Thoughts to further liven your spirits. Enjoy!


“If every cop was also a stripper, then getting pulled over would be a lot less stressful.”


“At some point in your life, there’s a good chance you’ve called or texted someone while they were masturbating.”


“Only those who sell sex toys can claim they’re selling happiness.”


“When you’re really prude, everything seems kinky. But if everything is kinky, then can anyone really be a pervert?”


“A major part of loving someone is trusting them to be alone and horny for extended periods.”


“Horny men are more likely to challenges whereas horny women are more likely to have options.”


“It’s difficult to have a successful relationship without an orgasm quota.”

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Jack’s Comic Gems: Psylocke

The following is a YouTube video from my channel, Jack’s World. It’s a fresh entry to my ongoing Jack’s Comic Gems series in which I highlight a rare and special gem from the comic book world. This time, I focus on Psylocke, a character whose star has been on the rise lately in Excalibur. However, she’s always found a way to stand out, as a character.

If you’ve been enjoying he most recent exploits in the pages of the X-books, then you’ll really enjoy “Psylocke,” by Chris Yost. This 4-issue mini from the early 2010s stands out in many ways, but it’s also a Psylocke story that involves ninjas and former lovers. Need I say more?

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Filed under Jack's Comic Gems, Jack's World, Marvel, X-men, YouTube

Why Non-Religious Cults Are Becoming (Almost) As Dangerous

Most religious people are not dangerous or ignorant, nor are most of the priests, rabbis, mullahs, and monks who lead them. I want to make that clear early on. I know I’ve been very critical of religion in the past and I stand by much of those criticism. However, I do not want to give the impression that it makes sincere adherents unworthy of respect.

I have religious people in my family. They are good, decent people and their religious beliefs means a lot to them. I do not want to denigrate that in any way.

That said, extreme religious cults are dangerous. They are worthy of criticism and, in some cases, outright scorn. People have died because of these cults, including innocent children. If we’re going to be a better people now and in the future, we need to be vigilant of these dangerous cults. Otherwise, more people will suffer.

How we go about that is beyond my expertise. There are organizations with people far more qualified to pursue that effort, such as Cult Escape and Dare To Doubt. I urge others to support those efforts, regardless of your religious affiliation. There are a lot of people out there trapped in these cults who need help.

However, there has been another troubling trend in recent years that may complicate that effort. It involves cults that aren’t necessarily religious, in nature. Some have religious elements, but also mix in politics and conspiracy theories. The goals and methods aren’t always the same, but the outcome is similar.

People get sucked into an ideology.

They get caught up in a trend that evokes strong emotions within them.

They connect with like-minded people who reinforce and reaffirm their beliefs.

They start attacking or shunning outsiders or anyone they don’t agree with.

They stop doubting their beliefs and are openly scorned if they dare raise questions, making it next to impossible to leave.

It’s a common story that many endure, but now it’s happening without the religious angle. Now, people are falling into cults that offer little in terms of theology, but still descend into a toxic mix of groupthink, hero worship, and self-delusion.

You have organizations like Nxivm, which billed itself as a self-help program that sucked people in and reshaped their thinking at the hands of a sociopath leader.

You have charismatic public personalities like Jordan Peterson and Tony Robbins, who may not set out to create cult-like movements, but still create a community wrought with cult-like behaviors.

Then, there’s Q-Anon.

Believe me, I do not want to go into details about that. I’m afraid to even post any links. I do not want someone to get sucked into that ultra-toxic rabbit hole, which has led to real-world violence and torn families apart.

These are serious issues that affect real people, as well as their families. Thanks to the world-wide reach of the internet and clunky nature of social media, it’s a lot easier to fall in with the wrong digital crowd. You don’t have to be religious. You just have to be willing to buy into a certain ideology or narrative. No miracles are necessary.

That is dangerous and I suspect it’s going to get worse in the coming years, especially as mainstream religion continues to decline. Will it be as dangerous as the religious cults of old? Well, that depends on a number of factors. At the moment, even the worst non-religious cults have major shortcomings.

Religious cults can, by definition, hide behind the guise of religion. That comes with plenty of benefits, including the kind that allows them to avoid paying taxes. Religion also has legal protections, as evidenced by the constant push for “religious freedom.”

Non-religious cults don’t have the same advantages. In fact, it’s not unreasonable to say that these types of cults couldn’t even exist without the internet or the widespread connectivity of modern media. They also don’t have the overall structure that many religious organizations have. That means they’ll only be able to do so much.

On top of that, the nature of the internet makes it a lot harder for cults to keep their members in line. At any point, an adherent could get curious and start looking up opposing views that could cast doubt on their beliefs. There’s only so much a cult can do to control a person from behind a computer screen.

Even with those limitations, they’ve still done plenty of damage. They’re likely to do plenty more and we should be very concerned about that. The world is already a chaotic place. Extreme religious cults have already done plenty to add to that chaos. The last thing we need is for non-religious cults to do the same.

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Filed under Current Events, human nature, outrage culture, philosophy, political correctness, politics, religion

Why I’m (Still) Hesitating To Make Plans For The Summer Of 2021

This is usually the time of year when I celebrate the end of winter. For months, I’ve dealt with cold days, long nights, and a frustrating inability to comfortably wear flip-flops when walking around my neighborhood. At this point, I’m ready for warm weather. I’m downright eager for it.

However, this is not a usual year. I still remember vividly how, around this time last year, I was making ambitious plans for the summer. I knew where I wanted to go, who I wanted to visit, and what I wanted to do during the hottest days of summer. This is fairly typical for me.

Then, the pandemic hit and I don’t think I need to remind everyone of how that messed up my plans.

Needless to say, a lot of plans in 2020 got messed up. Plenty of plans in 2021 have been disrupted as well. However, there is legitimate hope that we are turning the tide against this pandemic. We have multiple vaccines being implemented all over the world and more are likely to arrive in the coming months.

The end of this pandemic is in sight. I’m trying to take comfort in that. I really am.

After last year, though, I just can’t bring myself to be that optimistic. I had my hopes and spirit crushed repeatedly last year. I missed out on opportunities and big family events that still break my heart to this day. I can never get those moments back.

I still want to try to create new moments this year, but a lot has to go right for that to happen and after last year, I’m not ready to make such lofty assumptions. The less-than-efficient vaccination efforts have already done plenty to disappoint.

Even so, the trend lines for the pandemic are going in the right direction, for the most part. We can say with a straight face that the worst is behind us. That doesn’t mean the end will come as soon as we want.

Then, there’s the matter of new variants to the virus. That, more than anything, has me concerned about making summer plans. If just one of those variants proves to be a problem, then everything would be set back considerably. We might not be back at square one, but we would be pretty damn close.

So far, it does appear that the vaccines are effective against these new variants. The key term there is “so far.” If we learned anything last year, it’s that things can change very quickly and go horribly wrong in the span of a day.

I don’t want that to happen.

I hope it doesn’t happen.

It may still happen and a part of me can’t help but brace for that.

I still want to make plans for this summer. I want to go to the beach, go to the movies, visit friends and family, go to a baseball game, and enjoy a family barbecue at some point. Even if I can’t do everything I hope to do, I’d like to be able to do some of it.

I hope the world is healed enough by then to make that possible.

I hope everyone else gets a chance to make summer plans as well. We’ll just have to wait and see, once again hoping for the best while bracing for the worst.

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Filed under Current Events, Jack Fisher's Insights