Now everyone is a futurist? The arrogance is astounding!


Howard Feldman | Head of Marketing & People | Synthesis Technologies | mail me |

It is little wonder that we no longer sleep. Who in their right mind could drift into peaceful oblivion, when the person next to you in the bed could be the person who is harboring the virus that could see us shuffling off this mortal coil?

We have been told to be afraid of just about everything. From the virus that lurks in corners we didn’t know we had, to the knowledge that our groceries might kill us if we fail to wipe down the packages. We have also been warned that if by some miracle we survive this, we will likely starve to death, or be killed in a food riot, because of the economic fall-out of this pandemic.

I am certain that I have not been this anxious since, at the age of six, I was convinced Skylab was going to come crashing on me from out-of space. It turns out that it ultimately fell harmlessly into the Indian Ocean, but for me, no lessons were learned. I am still convinced that I am one satellite away from oblivion.

It doesn’t help that the virus is said to have originated from a bat. If I were to design the scariest illness that would sweep across the world and wipe out all our wonderful old people, and a bunch of young ones (just because it is that spiteful), I am certain that the bat would be on my list of top five. It is highly unlikely that I would choose a ladybird or a Shetland pony as the genesis of it all. It is remarkable that it wasn’t even a neutral animal like a goat, which we very rarely have a view on. That kickstarted it all. Indeed, show me a person who likes bats and I will show you a psychopath.

For good measure, in my design of evil viruses, I would unquestionably add a 14-day incubation where the silent killer would hide undetected in it’s host before unleashing it’s malicious and deadly powers on those closest to them. The lesson is to trust no one, not even the pretty ones with the healthiest glow.

They could well be ‘asymptomatic’.

Sleep-deprived doctors haven’t help to calm us either. The amount of hysterical WhatsApp clips I receive of medical professionals screaming at us to stay home, is now bordering on spam. I am tempted to respond that they should spend less time making videos and more time sleeping and then record the message after they have had good cup of coffee and a shower. We’ll probably hear a very different message. And speaking of showering: Honestly, if we are going to die from this disease alone and isolated because our families are prohibited from coming close, at least let the last person we see be someone who has showered in the last 48 hours. It’s surely not too much to ask for.

Headlines scream about starvation, economic collapse and unemployment such as we have never seen. Really? Fourty days ago no one accurately predicted a thing, but now everyone is a futurist? In December no one had a freaking clue what 2020 would bring, but now everyone is an expert on how things are going to play out.

The arrogance is astounding.

For me, the only thing I can be reasonably certain of is that I will continue to be anxious about dying from COVID-19. And when that is over, I will find something else to obsess about. For those who don’t normally suffer from a high level of anxiety, however, I recommend that you take it down a notch, because if COVID and starvation don’t kill you, worrying about it certainly will.



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