Sen. Joseph McCarthy was said to have been an avid pro-wrestling fan, believing the matches were legitimate. Think about that. A well-educated U.S. senator, hooked on 1950s pro-wrestling. In 2021, there’s a word for people like that: Normal.

Consider, too, that since McCarthy, we’ve had a president resign to avoid impeachment, and another who was impeached over, of all things, sexual encounters with an intern. There’s more, but the kicker is that none of this includes what’s happened in America since Nov. 3, 2020.

German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche said, “What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger.” Or, if you’re more spiritual, both Islam and Christianity extol the virtue of faith. “God tasks no soul beyond its capacity,” reads the Koran.

Resentful, festering conflicts still rage thanks to religion, but you have to appreciate the prudence of “Thou shall not” steal and kill each other, or covet our neighbor’s spouse. Sometimes religion, despite itself, intersects with common sense.

If you’re of the “religion is the opiate of the people” school, understand that this isn’t about religion. I’m talking about the mental approach, religious or otherwise, required to reinstate the “old normal,” or at least coexist with the current one.

I look for silver linings. Until the COVID-19 vaccine is thoroughly distributed, I rejoice that like many others, face masks and social distancing have postponed my regularly scheduled common cold/flu. As a senior with a mild heart condition, that’s significant. While I miss eating out regularly and seeing an occasional movie, I’m thinner, and my wallet is fatter.

It’s almost March, my Nyquil bottle is still almost full, and my allergy medicine is lasting longer. That’s nothing to sneeze at.

Jim Newton, Itasca

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