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Voices ᐋ ᐄᔮᔨᐧᒫᓂᐧᐃᒡ

Battle plans

BY Sonny Orr Jan 15, 2021

My freshly sanitized hands are, at first, gleamingly dry and slightly chapped with cracking fingerprints. That’s before I discovered hand lotions designed for such times. I never thought I could appreciate the joys of wringing your hands without some sort of pain, alleviated greatly by a giant pharmaceutical company that had the foresight to supply both the problem and the cure for dry hands.

I know this is small sacrifice for those who have experienced the pains and treatments of this woeful pandemic. I can imagine that people who have medical needs for ailments other than the coronavirus – say, those who twisted an ankle or stepped on a nail – are feeling sidelined. This dilemma is severely compounding the capacity to serve our society. Looking at my dry hands, I think that this is our only defense – keep clean, wear a mask and stay away from others until it’s over.

Aside from a vaccine, of course. Aside from the medical priority of curing chapped hands, a vaccine should let us go back to what we could call “freedom”. Freedom to do what we want, but with lessons learnt. 

Some people try to say it isn’t real, well, it is. Even the worst news coverage of other menial things like Twisted Teas and an attempted overthrow of the US government by people dressed in Halloween costumes can’t avoid the reality that we have to win this biological war the good old-fashioned way: by following orders like soldiers.

In a way, we are at war. We have command posts set up in strategic places, laws that are enforced by police action, and now, a curfew. I can almost hear the sirens in the background, but we are fighting a real enemy. It was more clear-cut when it was a war with a gun-carrying foe. We just sent the young ones out to fight and die for us. 

But this war is fought with thermometers and tests, and abstaining from contact with others, and then by trying not to land in hospital for treatment if things go south. The choice is clear – avoid it at all costs, that’s what it takes for this war to be won.

Meanwhile, we do stay vigilant, but the travelling is causing backlogs for people to isolate so stay home for longer unless it’s a real emergency. Aside from this doom-and-gloom message it should be a New Year’s resolution shared by everyone – disinfect, wear a mask and use lotion. Then get your vaccine when it’s your turn.

I didn’t really have to be convinced to change for the better as it’s already a good habit that I have – I naturally avoid people like the plague – which makes me seem like a man before his time. So, follow my example and stay remote. 

While the south is in lockdown, we seem to have escaped the brunt of the pandemic. So, I am praying that the southern folks hunker down for the good of all – be the soldier you always wanted to be and fight this enemy. Listen to the commander and don’t desert your post, protect your family and community.

Signing off from the trenches somewhere in the frozen North. Stay healthy!

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Sonny Orr is Cree from Chisasibi, and has been a columnist for the Nation for over 20 years. He regularly pens Rez Notes from the cozy social club in Whapmagoostui where he resides.