Kueppers: Et tu, Father Time?

It’s practically Shakespearean that we’ve lived in a pandemic for one year now.


by Henry Kueppers

Do you remember Julius Caesar? That little prick who got stabbed repeatedly by all his closest friends and family? For the longest time, I used to think Brutus and the whole crew decided to stab Caesar 23 times due to fear that his tyrannical rule would undermine the entire Roman government and bring their people to devastation. But, I’ve been reading a lot of Shakespeare lately because I’m deep and incredibly smart, and I’m finally picking up on the subtext Shakespeare so carefully hid in his play. You see, the real reason everyone hated Caesar’s guts was because he invented the Julian Calendar, which later became the foundation for our current calendar system. Clearly, everyone was furious at Caesar for contributing to the mayhem that is societal constructs, and they knew the only way to end this madness was to kill the man in cold blood.

Unfortunately, the murder was unable to stop the development and eventual improvement of our current calendar system. And now, as we all reflect on the one-year anniversary of COVID-19 crashing the party of our lives, we can’t really say there is anyone to blame … except Julius Caesar. Because if that rat bastard didn’t make the calendar, we’d all be saying to ourselves, “Well, we’ve been in a pandemic for a long time, but hey! Life is long, we’re doing fine.” But no, we now have a numerical amount of time assigned to this part of our lives, and it just makes everything feel a lot heavier and longer.

Hating on Julius Caesar makes me recall the four years of my life I spent reading William Shakespeare. It’s morbid to admit, but Shakespeare would probably have been able to draw a lot of inspiration from the times we’re living in. Or, honestly, maybe he’d be as lost as the rest of us. And that’s the thing — I don’t want to make this article about the coronavirus. We’ve heard about that every day for over a year now. Because these days life feels like a classical tragedy. We’ve all watched some of our dreams or plans die horribly. In fact, after COVID-19 killed my dreams, they all melodramatically fell onto a staircase and screamed, “A plague! A plague on both your houses!” But folks, we’re not gonna let naughty old Shakespeare write the ending of our stories. No, no! Because there is a light at the end of this tunnel. Vaccines are being distributed. The number of daily positive COVID-19 cases are dropping in Minnesota. Plus, the weather is getting nicer, right? We hope it stays nice …

At the end of the day, despite having a year under our belts, it is more than okay to still feel lost and troubled. This isn’t something you “get good at.” Just be kind to yourself. Celebrate the fact that you’ve made it this far. Continue to wear your mask and trust science so we don’t have to spend another year in this situation. And listen, if you know anyone who isn’t following mask mandates, or is being a jerk about this whole pandemic, I can’t tell you to stab them like Brutus stabbed Caesar … but perhaps introduce them to a “Shakespearean ending.” (Wink wink, nudge nudge.)