For days I’ve wondered about making one last Pizza Hut order—a final reach for what was before embarking on what is. Should I take away, like usual, or choose delivery? Last night, on my wife’s advice, I chanced pickup and nearly dropped the pies on the way to the car. Marketing messaging on the box caused me to laugh uncontrollably. Oh, and I desperately needed the chuckle, as do many more of us. “March Madness”: How ironically appropriate for circumstances.
The SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus 2)—better known as COVID-19—pandemic is upon us. As I started warning family more than a month ago, the contagion is a transformative event unlike anything experienced by human society for many generations. Everyone’s lifestyle will change. The world we knew is gone. Poof!
While intellectually grasping what could happen, I still wasn’t emotionally prepared for what has happened since the first day of the month: Hundreds of thousands of identified infected people (with millions more coming). Hospitals overwhelmed by the seriously sick. Closed K-12 schools and colleges/universities. Depression era-reminiscent stock market crash. Shuttered stores, bars, and restaurants. Millions of newly unemployed Americans (and many more expected). Cancelled business, cultural, entertainment, and sporting events.
Among the latter category: Last week, NCAA canceled the 2020 men’s and women’s basketball tournaments—better known as March Madness—because of the Novel Coronavirus. Yesterday, I asked a Pizza Hut employee about the event-promoting boxes, and (unsurprisingly) he said that they were already printed and need to be used. But they are still deliciously appropriate. Because this March has been nothing but madness.
BTW, picking up the two medium pies—Super Supreme without black olives— was a kind of insanity, too. I ordered online and prepaid, using a credit card, expecting to rush in, grab the food, and go. But no! I had to sign a charge slip. The cashier handed me a pen that could have been used by any number of infected customers—and he managed to brush my fingers with his hand in the process. How maddening! Until “Fuel the Madness” made me laugh.
Returning to the Wilcox domicile, I learned that California’s governor had issued a state-wide directive ordering everyone to state at home. Lucky, I didn’t wait another day on Pizza Hut. Or unlucky, if in breaking our personal quarantine, I was infected at the store. That’s the kind of March Madness, I would prefer to avoid.