Ebola & the End of the World

The end of the world is coming. I’m sure you’ve heard.

Global Warming will get us. Or a giant asteroid. Maybe terrorists getting nuclear weapons. Maybe disease will kill every human being.

If you looked up just Time Magazine covers over the last 20 years, you could probably name 20 more. I didn’t do that. I don’t need to do that. They will keep coming.

Today…it’s Ebola.

These apocalypse stories seem to be getting bigger. More intense. As if the chances of the world ending are greater. Nearer. As if the total destruction of this same world, has somehow gotten worse.

Ebola will spread to everyone. Most of us will die. Start hysteria now.

Maybe these stories just feel bigger now, because media plays such a larger role in all our lives. Social media and the internet have woven the media into everything we do. All day long. So we get this constant barrage of media messages. All day. Every day. These apocalypse stories, like all other media stories, are all over us.

Maybe it’s just that I have so much more to live for now, with a wife and kids, family and friends, a career that I am passionate about, and with urban samurai.

I don’t know. But it still all just seems elevated.

I do know the media plays with us. They prey on our fears. They cover magazines and newspapers and start the news, with the grimmest of stories. Because that is what sells. Because weirdly, that’s what we’re drawn to. ‘If it bleeds it leads,’ is the longstanding newsroom slogan. And if I was in news media, I would likely do the same thing.

But the media already got to us, through movies and scripted TV. This ebola scare feels like the start of a zombie apocalypse. I Am Legend. World War Z. A hundred others. I can’t help but think of them when I see these reports.

Despite my knowing what the media is doing and what it has already done, my own mind starts to wander. I live in Dallas now. Weirdly close to Ebola ground zero in the United States.

I see people dressed in hospital scrubs in super markets. And lunch places. And walking the streets. And there is a hint of something in me. A fear maybe. A prejudice even. A pause definitely. Honestly, my only parallel is that this feels like seeing an Arab man in New York after 9/11. I’m proud of neither. Both are unfair. They are a reality though.

It’s hard not to think about Ebola though. This disease spreading. I read so many articles. On many web sites. My wife and I talk about it. My co-workers & friends as well. It’s a part of my daily life here.

And I could get this disease here in Dallas. And to you, I become a statistic. 14 people in Dallas contracted Ebola. I would just be 1 of the 14. Or ‘Another Dallas man fell victim…’ and I become that Dallas man, to you. To everyone.

It’s a reality for me though. Disastrous. Emotional. And maybe even deadly.

Yet, I would be a statistic.

So I do what I can to be smart. I take instructions and information about the disease.

But I still don’t trust anyone’s opinion. Not nurses or doctors. Not on this. I don’t trust the CDC. I don’t trust our own government. Or other governments. It’s not necessarily that I think they are lying to us, but that’s not out of the question. What are they going to tell us if this thing was going to end the world?

But I’m much more concerned with what they don’t know. And that’s probably a lot.

The truth is though, when I think about this. And what is happening. Most of us in this country will never be affected. Never even close.

We’ve overcome so many of these potential world enders. Especially the diseases that were supposed to end it all. SARS. The flus, both bird and swine. Even AIDS. I know there are a lot more. If you panicked over each one of these, you would spend your life huddled in your basement. Alone. Just you and your 30-day supply of canned goods.

Ebola is not going to end this world. I know that. You should know that. It will come and go, just like so many others.

It’s not out of the question though, that this world ends. It could even be soon. You should know that too.

And if the whole world ended tomorrow. Are you going to be happy with where you are? With where you are going? With what you are doing? If not, what are you doing with your life? How can you change it to make it better?

There is a doormat, at a neighbors, that I pass by every single day, that reads a very cliché, ‘Live, Laugh, & Love.’ If this world, or even just my world, is going to end anytime soon, I’d like to spend the rest of my time doing more of those three things. Where as most times I would have written that slogan off as cheesy, just put out there to sell more mugs and mats…at this moment in time, I just take it as pretty sound advice.