Fandango’s Provocative Question (8 April 2020)

Wednesday. Fandango’s Provocative Question once again. This week he asks:

Are you the same person on your blog as you are in real life? Do you like yourself more in the virtual world than you do in the real world?

Okay, in short, yes, I am the same person.

It’s funny, though, because I can empathise with the guy in Fandango’s preamble. When I started doing my weekly phone calls to some seniors, I could not help but wonder: you’re talking to somebody every week. Surely there’ll come a time when there’s nothing left to talk about? After all, one of the reasons I can volunteer is because I’m not at work. I’m disabled, my mobility is restricted. So in terms of doing stuff, I have a lot less to talk about than I did a few years ago. And many of my clients are the same. Some are housebound (permanently), so do even less than me.

So I posed this question to the charity manager. Just invent something, they said. And it is true – we were only speaking on the end of the phone, so I could tell them whatever I want. What did you do last week? I ejected from my fighter jet at 30,000 feet, sailed down all that way in my parachute into shark-infested waters, then swan 10 miles to safety. Anything, whatever …

[As it is, my last week, I walked up the lane and went out to the supermarket!]

And actually, if I’d have wanted to invent a James Bond persona, what would be the harm? But I didn’t – I can just about scrape enough things together (usually) to hold a conversation for fifteen minutes or so.

But I can see what Fandango’s buddy was saying – there is scope when we blog to present ourselves as so much more than we actually are.

But, for all I say I don’t embellish myself, you guys only see what I want you to see of me. There’s a definite window there, and not everything is transparent. I doubt it is with any of us – we don’t share all the rows with our partner, say, or times when we acted like a complete idiot (my wife assures me that these two scenarios are one and the same 🙂). I know people on here who will write as part of a post that they can sometimes be a total asshole, and I think that surely, it can’t be true, because these people seem so nice. But then, it is true for me, so why would it not be true for them too?

The legal phrase springs to mind: the truth, the whole truth, nothing but the truth. Which of us could claim that this phrase describes what we blog?

Did you see what I did there?

At the start of the virus, the government seemed to accept the scientific advice that testing was the key to this situation.

Good. I am all for accepting the science. We should do so more often.

So our government set a target of making 25,000 tests available per day.

Now, we’re a country of just shy of 70 million people. So even with so many tests, if you do the math, that’s getting on for eight years to test everybody once, let alone to follow the advice from the WHO and test everybody multiple times. But anyways …

Having put such a stake in the ground, though, it was only to be expected that the media would start asking, How are you getting on against your target? In fact, the government increased testing at such a rate, they got to about 10,000 tests per day. Still some way short of their original target. That was as at 1st April – at that rate, 18 years before we are all tested.

Before too long, the tone of the media questions were more along the lines Why is it taking you so long to reach that target? In the government’s defence, there were some reasonable answers to that question – just that the global demand for these tests is currently far outpacing the supply.

But, the government’s response? To increase their target to 100,000!

And you kind-of think, if you can’t even get anywhere near a low target, what is the point in setting a higher target? And you also wonder, what kind of a media do we have, that just sucks these numbers up as if they had any kind of meaning?

Surely the correct answer, right from the start, was just to say as many tests as possible? And to keep the actual aspirations private? Just in the event that exactly this scenario came to pass?