No, not PENILE TRANSMITTED VENEREAL DISEASE

…that’s so 1960’s and ’70’s.

You wouldn’t believe how many times – while working in a hospital lab in Canada’s Arctic region – in the late 1970’s, I isolated a fun bacterial bug scientifically labelled Neisseria gonorrhoeae on my lab culture plates.

You know… The Clap. Venus’s Curse. The Drip.

Nasty bug (although admittedly kinda cute microscopically) for sure, but with proper treatment it went away more readily than will the PTVD I’m discussing today.

Yes, the PTVD I’m talking about here is Post Traumatic Virus Disorder.

In many ways, it’s spread through person-to-person contact too… albeit socially-isolated contact ie. daily news reports and social media websites.

Remember a year ago (or was it a decade?) when we panicked and washed canned goods before setting them onto a pantry shelf? When we rushed to fill our carts with rare exotic gems such as toilet paper, flour and yeast?

It’s really hard these days to see life through anything except “virus” glasses.

Yup, our days are lived out in some form of Post Traumatic Virus Disorder.. maybe forget the “POST” part… it’s still just Traumatic Virus Disorder.

For about 400 days and 400 nights now (sounds slightly biblical, doesn’t it?) we’ve riddled and sieved and parsed everything we do through the virus filter.

Should I go here? should I do this? will my friends judge me for not wearing a mask at the Starbucks drive-thru? am I likely to pick up – or transmit – the virus if I do that?

For many months, trauma and guilt have been built-in to every decision we’ve made, accompanied by… sometimes righteousness, sometimes worry, sometimes rebellion, sometimes disgust.

And much like the recent American election where opposing sides dug-in to their polarized stances on politics and “swamps”, most of us world-wide have similarly dug-in to a position on the relative seriousness of the COVID virus, the efficacy of masks and gloves, the meaning and dividing lines of personal freedoms.

Families, friends, and neighbours split up on either side of the volleyball net.

They lob volleys of logic or loose thought at each other, stealthily trying to score points, rarely taking notice that they’re actually playing on different courts, so that neither side can win regardless of the quality of their “spike shot”.

It’s become an ugly game.

I have definite strong thoughts about this.

You can probably guess where I come down on the matter with my science-based lab background – but I understand there’s not a great deal of hope in persuading others who oppose me of my beliefs, no matter how well thought-out or expressed.

Or honestly, to be swayed in a different direction myself. The trenches are deep.

Virus-wise, I sweat out and contemplate my choices daily, often many times daily. There are personal and moral dilemma bridges to cross.

Sadly, and somewhat distressing, this divide is an ocean, a divide with no boats available to span the distance without large societal change.

To use the American example once more, the virus is a microcosm of heavily-partitioned Democratic vs Republican thought.

These are large issues, politics and viruses… issues larger than my brain capacity.

I wish I had the mental acuity to work out a solution to the monumental challenges that face us in months and years to come.

I know what I’d like to see, but alas, I don’t have the recipe (*can you hear me singing?… And I’ll never have that recipe again, oh noooooo)

Fortunately (for my mental health), I’m confident and optimistic that there are and will be solutions found along the road to overcome the difficulties. But. It will take time.

When humanity has appeared doomed (eg. during previous World Wars), approaches and answers were brought forward that allowed us to progress into a hopeful future… not a perfect future, but a hopeful one.

It’s tough. But both Penile Transmitted Venereal Disease and Post Traumatic Virus Disorder are largely solvable and will allow us to share “intercourse” once again with our fellow citizens…

Let’s remember what Voltaire said,

Perfect is the enemy of good. Done is better than perfect. The best is the enemy of the good.