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We All May Be Grasshoppers Now… Jim “Hondo” Haldeman on today’s crisis

Updated: Apr 4, 2020

Back in my college days at Holy Cross, I purchased an African red legged Tarantula, perhaps to add more atmosphere into our already bizarre off-campus house which we called the “Homestead.”

I named the tarantula Herman. We even had a sign in our front yard which had inscripted, “Beware of the Tarantula.” Herman’s living accommodation was nothing more than a small aquarium with a bit of sand as his flooring. He would stand guard all day long on top of an empty wine bottle patiently preparing for his daily attack.

You see, his dining preference was live grasshoppers. The grasshoppers lived in the wine bottle and were quite fearful of leaving their glass sanctuary. They would crowd themselves along the neck of the opening of the bottle. Their conundrum was that their food and water source was at the opposite end of the aquarium. The doomed grasshoppers would be forced to leave the safety and comfort of their home, cross an open field, gather their food and water, and then hop wildly back to the bottle.

Can you imagine the decision making that these grasshoppers had to make every day? Die by starvation or die by Herman...

In light of this outbreak of CoronaVirus, we now are living under a new set of rules... rules that will save our lives if we comply. By a moral and ethical protocol, I now stay in my home, I wash my hands all day long, I don’t go out to restaurants, I don’t go to the gym, I don’t go to church, I maintain my 6 foot social distance from anyone and recoil from that ‘one person’ who merely sniffles!

But then again, I need food. I need water. I need cream for my coffee! So, I leave my sanctuary, and I run through the crowded parking lot in search of that coveted unused grocery cart, race into the grocery store and… wham… come face to face with hundreds of people, all huddled together like a rugby scrummage in the paper goods aisle.

And in an instant, I, a productive and integral part of human society, become diminished to nothing more than a grasshopper….

If we continue to live carelessly, we will literally come face to face with the wrath of Herman in the form of the plague of COVID-19. It is serious. It is a death sentence to some.

Our TBS class is now of age to be considered high risk, as we are all well into our 60’s.

I do not mean to lecture, but we were then and are now leaders in our families, businesses, and communities. The first rule is to set a good example. Please also take care of yourselves, continue to communicate with one another, behave like the world is watching our every action, and listen to what the authorities have to say. And comply.

We will get through this and come out better for it.

Jim 'Hondo' Haldeman served 22 years in the USMC as an Artillery Officer, Fighter Pilot, and Commander of Civil Military Operations in Fallujah. He retired as a 737 Captain with American Airlines. Jim enjoys playing the piano and is member of Hope Masonic Lodge in Rhode Island, having been elected for 5 years in a row as the Worshipful Master. Printed with Jim's permission.

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