The Elephant in the Room

It’s time to address the elephant in the room. I’m not sure if this should ultimately be a series of posts, one exceedingly long post, or a zine-length essay, but we’re going to start here. The reason I’ve kept quiet is because I don’t want to sound as if I need to be fitted for a tin-foil hat. I need to say this publicly, and we can tease apart all of the ramifications from there.

The Elephant in the Room

Our residence in Finland is coming up for renewal, and I am absolutely terrified that we’ll be sent back to the United States. If we do have to go back, I am convinced that I will be dead before the end of the year. You can agree with my logic or chalk this up to paranoia sparked by my anxiety disorders, but this is my sincerely held belief. What follows is my train of thought, and the supporting evidence.

I Am High Risk

I have chronic respiratory issues. Since 1989 I have had pneumonia 14 times. There is a large fibroid scar in my left lung. It’s why, even here in central Finland where things are reasonably under control, I don’t leave the apartment unless I absolutely, positively have to.

Taking a train to the airport and spending hours on a plane is a terrifying prospect for me. Things in America are not under control, and my risk of exposure increases exponentially. Thinking about it puts me on the verge of a panic attack. If the virus doesn’t get me, a heart attack from the stress and terror might.

The Facts Support Me

According to the University of Oxford, the death rate in the United States is doubling every 15 days as of this writing. This is good news. It’s slowing down. There are promising treatments, and several vaccines in trials. But, the ultra-capitalists are hell-bent on “opening the country up” in spite of medicl experts advising caution. Other places, notably Japan, have seen a resurgence after easing restrictions.

If it sticks to the 15-day rate, with an official death toll of 63,000 as of this writing, we’re looking at a quarter of a million dead by the end of May. Over a million dead by the 4th of July. Maybe it will continue to slow down, maybe it will speed up, but it’s not just going to miraculously go away just because people are fed up and want this to be over with.

I Don’t Want to Get Shot

America is likely to turn violent. People showing up to protest stay-at-home orders with assault rifles is not a good sign. You don’t do that unless you’re itching for a fight. I have no desire to get shot by someone mad at me because I support facts, scientific evidence, and objective reality and not their pet conspiracy theory. Yes, I do understand that I’m saying this as a person convinced he’s going to die, but there’s at least some evidence to justify my outrageous beliefs.

States are banding together to form regional coalitions because the Federal government has failed them. The Western States Pact (California, Washington, Oregon, Nevada, and Colorado) has an official name, for God’s sake. “Pact” sounds pretty heavy. The Multi-State Council (New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Delaware, and Massachusetts) doesn’t sound like a group about to secede from the union, but it serves the same function as the Pact. It’s not an active civil war, but it’s certainly a Cold Civil War.

The governor of Maryland, who is a Republican, has called in the National Guard to protect coronavirus tests the state purchased from South Korea. Who are they protecting the tests from? The Federal government, which has been seizing medical supplies from states for weeks now. That’s potential an open act of sedition, especially if FEMA does show up and armed soldiers stand against them. Does this end well? No, it does not.

Recognizing My Privilege

I understand that there are people in far more dire situations. It is a blessing that I am able to work from home, pay my bills, and still shelter in place. I am living in a place that has, overall, had a sane and measured response to the crisis. This is why I haven’t talked about my fears and insecurities. Who am I to complain?

But the fact that my pain isn’t as severe as someone else’s doesn’t mean that I’m not suffering. My feelings still count, and my issues still need to be addressed. Even if you don’t think I’m going to die, the fact that I’m terrified about it deserves some consideration, doesn’t it?


First, thanks for listening. If you’ve come with me this far, I appreciate you. Allowing me to vent publicly, rather than just to my wife or into my journal, has been helpful.

I don’t want anything more than anyone else right now: the ability to feel safe. For me, that’s as simple as being able to stay put. To not have go through a massive upheaval and move to another continent in the middle of a pandemic. I’m not asking for people to support a lavish lifestyle, or to give me things I haven’t earned. Support my business, so I can support myself. That’s it.

My ability to stay in Finland, like just about everything else in the world, comes down to money. I’m not hitting you up for a handout. Just asking you to maybe buy one of my books. Grab a zine on Gumroad or a roleplaying supplement from DriveThruRPG. Share links to where my books can be purchased on social media, or just write nice reviews to help people discover them.

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3 Replies to “The Elephant in the Room

  1. I… I can’t argue with the logic, mostly because in the back of my mind I reached the same ones. I’ve been thinking about your upcoming deadline and praying.

  2. The US is a big place, too. It would depend a great deal on where your dandelion seed settled once you got here. Where I am has been quiet. The roommate (henceforth Ham the Waste-lander) works at an Aldi; contends with red hats and folks who don’t understand how to wear masks at worst. There are 67 confirmed cases in my county of residence and the DoL is catching up. But, you are not wrong. It’s ugly out there. Though, like you, I’ve had to moderate my news intake to retain some sanity.

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