By Dave Marquard
March 20, 2020
“We can't all be heroes, because somebody has to sit on the curb and applaud when they go by.”--- Mark Twain
Some things don’t change. Mark Twain’s sense of humor causes laughter today just as it did 140 years ago. Even today he is often lauded as the greatest humorist in American history. I am sure he would have had a funny take on our modern welding technology if he were alive today. Reputations have a way of sticking through the ages. I can imagine the type of humor Twain might have written had he known about robotic welding or additive manufacturing, for example.
The jolt of cataclysmic historical events always passes and we move on from them. But we remember a lot about them. All WEMCO members remember 9/11 and where they were and how they heard about it. All WEMCO members remember Columbine. The events passed and we recovered but the impact and change they caused altered our way of life in a permanent way. When was the last time any of us did not have to go through security at an airport? When was the last time we felt schools were completely safe for our children? The events passed. The impact and fallout from them lingers and stays with us.
Now we are faced with another cataclysmic event that is changing our lives: the arrival of the Coronavirus. This too won’t pass because it has changed us as much as 9/11 did. Social distancing, hand sanitation, looking at everything we do and see as a vector for a deadly virus is disrupting our lives in a way we could not have imagined just a few months ago. Even when a new medical technology arrives in the form of an effective vaccine against it, we are going to remember and live with a new sense of caution going forward. That’s not changing in any of our lifetimes. It’s not passing.
What we have we learned, to quote the Beatles, is that “We all live in a yellow submarine.” Doesn’t matter if we are Chinese, English, American, Russian, or Iranian, -- the virus affects us all. We are all in it together and we will share in its impact, long after the virus has passed. A little laughter will help get us through. Bring on the humor. Where is Mark Twain when we need him most?