My dad always shook his head at the people who railed about the scandalous tardiness of the surgeon general's finding in 1964 that cigarettes caused cancer. "We all knew smoking was killing us all along," he said.
Sorta like the young people quoted in a piece over the weekend in Block Club Chicago:
"Mike, from Old Town, who did not want to share his last name, ordered a vodka Red Bull before getting back in line with friends at Old Crow Smokehouse’s curbside bar. He had just gotten back from a vacation in Dallas, Texas, with a friend, where he left a day early due to the spike in cases and the state’s rolling back on its openings.
'[It feels] like I’m the problem,' he said with a nervous laugh as he talked about being out and about amid the pandemic. Looking around at the throngs of people drinking and walking around Wrigleyville, he said it is concerning.
Outside Vines on Clark, a patron said he felt guilty as things are going back to what he described as 'normal.' Then he joined his friends on the patio."
I know magical thinking. For instance, I ride a motorcycle in Chicago, occasionally with my own precious daughter on the back.
Riding that motorcycle around my neighborhood Sunday afternoon, and rolling past packed and roaring beer gardens and patios, I think I realized that people engage in a kind of reverse superstition.
It's not that we tell ourselves it won't happen to us. No, our magical thinking is smarter than that.
Instead, we admit to ourselves that we are doing magical thinking. And we believe that, as long as we admit that we are worried, that this is probably stupid, that we know it can happen to us—we think it won't happen to us, or to the people we love.
(And truth be told, the strangers next to us on the patio and the millions of others in our city factor into our magical thinking about as frequently as do the Sentinelese.)
We are dead wrong, of course, all of us—about all of it. And we know it.
We keep waiting for adults to arrive and tell us exactly what to do and what not to do.
Over the last few months, you and I have complained so much about the lack of consistent leadership in this country.
We might take a moment to admit just how badly we need it. Worse than five-year-old kids—who at least, when they eat themselves sick, don't blame a lack of leadership.