We used to say, ‘well, there’s a war on’

In the so-called old days, people often explained daily inconveniences as well as impulsive decisions with the phrase, “well, there’s a war on.” That excused everything from getting pregnant to getting drunk to getting married to singing the night away at a club you’d never go to if there wasn’t a war on.

I’m not sure we’ve come up with a gallows’ humor catchphrase to succinctly remind ourselves how much COVID impacts our lives on multiple levels. Perhaps “Vaccine Days and Shutdown Months” or “The Days of Wine and Masks.” World Wars I and II brought almost every normal thing to an abrupt halt. In a different way, so has the pandemic. Either way, the deaths and the wounded are real.

Some people ask “when will things get back to normal” while others say, “normal wasn’t all that good.” My feeling is that as bad as “normal” was, it was better than Vaccine Days and Shutdown Months. Those who want to pretend they are Nostradamus sagely predict things will never be the same even after COVID’s gone. I think they will because we have short memories.

Plus, I’ve never seen the point in being a dyed-in-the-wool pessimist. I’d rather say that in spite of all the political wrangling, naysayers, false starts, and fearmongering that when we finally kick COVID in the ass, that we will have a feeling of accomplishment and survivorship. I want to say, “We beat the pandemic” rather than catalogue all the ways society will end up worse than it was.

In the meantime, I’m okay with Vaccine Days and Shutdown Months because, after all, there’s a pandemic on.


Malcolm R. Campbell

Publisher: Thomas-Jacob Publishing


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4 thoughts on “We used to say, ‘well, there’s a war on’

  1. Over here, PM Johnson coined a phrase re the pandemic : “build back better”. That resonated with a lot of us over here. Indeed, I incorporated it into lyrics I wrote for a short choral piece for the Open University Choir. The world was cleaner and quieter – a lot of us liked that. What was important changed – things to eat, and to keep us connected to others flew off the shelves. Clothes that you wore once (not me, or you, obviously) to a club didn’t. In that sense I was very keen on a ‘new normal’. Unfortunately, over here, that has been hi-jacked by laws being rushed into being, giving the police most un-British powers and seriously undermining the right to protest peacefully. One would like to think this was simply another manifestation of our government’s incompetence. Sadly, I don’t think it is. Most dictatorships arise on the back of some national crisis. You were lucky with Biden – you guys went the other way!

  2. I’m concerned about the power of the police because it has become overly militarized in many cities. Build back better is a decent enough slogan if it’s allowed to happen.BREXIT and COVID together are a bad combination, including more unrest in Northern Ireland. I liked the so-called cleaner and quieter world, but now people look back on it and say it might have seemed nice but it was racist and a lot of people weren’t getting a fair shake. Hard to sort it out, but Biden might give it an honest attempt.

  3. Even after a war, things get back to “normal.” Or at least a sort of normal. I don’t see that this will be any different. People will do what they always do — get married, have kids, eat, drink, spend money, buy clothes, work, celebrate special days. The world might change around us, but people will always be what they are.

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