Well, it was fun while it lasted... being a 71 year-old white guy. For a while recently, I was exulting in the ascendance of my 70-something peers in the Democratic primary.
Woo-hoo! The three most viable candidates left standing (albeit shakily) were white guys even older than me.
Yes, Elizabeth Warren was still in the race for a while after Bloomberg dropped out, but by that time it was clear that Sanders and Biden were going to duke it out for the Democratic nomination. It sure looked like 2020 was going to be the Year of the Septuagenarian, in my own mind at least.
I stood a little taller. My back was a little straighter. I looked in the mirror at my gray hair and beard and felt a little better about my aging visage.
Until the coronavirus panic struck.
I was OK, though obviously not ecstatic, about the stock market going up and down like a yo-yo. Or, to really show my age, like a slinky.
What truly grabbed my attention, though, was the frequent mentions of how old people -- often disturbingly defined as over 70 -- were at much higher risk of dying from the coronavirus. Suddenly being an old white guy didn't seem nearly as appealing.
A few days ago NPR reported that while the overall death rate was 2.3% in China, among those 70-79 the death rate was 8%. And unless my aging ears misheard the satellite radio in my car today, I recall that someone said the elderly death rate could be 10-15%.
Yikes! Those aren't great odds. Of course, having an underlying condition like a heart, lung, or whatever disease adds to the risk for us old folks, and I'm in pretty good shape, health-wise.
Still... now when I look at Sanders and Biden my thoughts are less on how great it is that they've been able to rise to the top of the Democratic presidential race at their age, as on how risky it is for them to be pressing the flesh at so many campaign events, surrounded by throngs of people that could easily include someone carrying the coronavirus.
Oh, well. At least I can take solace in the fact that 73-year old President Donald J. Trump is in charge of keeping me safe from the coronavirus. Problem is, early on that solace took a nosedive when I heard all the lies, falsehoods, and misstatements coming out of Trump's mouth.
But all things will pass. I just hope that one of them isn't me passing away from the coronavirus before I get to see Biden (most likely) or Sanders (less likely) defeating Trump in November.