Here’s What I’m Going to Do

We’re here.

That’s right. We’ve gotten to the point at which all the fear mongers, Monday morning quarterbacks, second-guessers, self-appointed experts, demagogues, ideologues, and conspiracy theorists think they know the coronavirus score. Guess what. No, they don’t.

But I owe those folks a huge debt of gratitude. Their fear, their hyperbole, their absurdity, and their self-righteousness have helped me determine exactly what I’m going to do in riding out the pandemic: nothing.

I’m not going to judge. I’m not going to presume. I’m not going to defy. I’m not going to put myself or others at risk. I’m not going to believe I actually know anything.

Do I know if I’m going to get the coronavirus? No. Do I know if I’ve already had it? No. Do I know how, where, or from whom I might get it if I haven’t already had it? No. Do I know who else might have it or get it? No. Do I have a crystal ball? No. Do I know the deepest inner workings of our own state and federal governments, to say nothing of the inherent intrigue and skullduggery of geopolitics? No.

Am I going to worry about any of that shit, obsessing over it unto paralyzed anxiety? No.

I’m going to be as smart as I can be. I’m going to take reasonable, responsible precautions at every opportunity. I’m going to be as respectful of the well-being of others as I am of my own. I’m going to avoid breathing, coughing and sneezing on anyone. I’m going to maintain the degree of personal hygiene the fortuitousness of my civilized living circumstances allows me. And I’m going to ignore the news like the plague, especially this plague.

I’m going to think more. I’m going to write more. I’m going to read more. I’m going to connect with others more. I’m going to look out for my neighbors more. I’m going to thank God for every day in which I’m able to do all of those things.

Since we don’t know what we don’t know, I’m going to learn what I can and be very content with what I do know.

That’s what I’m going to do.


Mark O'Brien
Mark O'Brien
I’m a business owner. My company — O’Brien Communications Group (OCG) — is a B2B brand-management and marketing-communication firm that helps companies position their brands effectively and persuasively in industries as diverse as: Insurance, Financial Services, Senior Living, Manufacturing, Construction, and Nonprofit. We do our work so well that seven of the companies (brands) we’ve represented have been acquired by other companies. OCG is different because our business model is different. We don’t bill by the hour or the project. We don’t bill by time or materials. We don’t mark anything up. We don’t take media commissions. We pass through every expense incurred on behalf of our clients at net. We scope the work, price the work, put beginning and end dates on our engagements, and charge flat, consistent fees every month for the terms of the engagements. I’m also a writer by calling and an Irish storyteller by nature. In addition to writing posts for my company’s blog, I’m a frequent publisher on LinkedIn and Medium. And I’ve published three books for children, numerous short stories, and other works, all of which are available on Amazon under my full name, Mark Nelson O’Brien.

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  1. Thank you, Mark! “I’m going to be as respectful of the well-being of others as I am of my own.” I am stupefied by the behavior of others here in congested Queens, NYC. Thank God I’m an introvert and don’t mind working, reading, exercising, eating, relaxing, sleeping – repeat – in our co-op apartment.

    • I’m with you, Jeff. When we go to a store or something around here, we’re appalled at the number of people who don’t wear masks or gloves, who don’t observe proper distancing, who handle merchandise — even food — and put it back, who act as if they don’t have a considerate thought in the world, which they likely don’t.

      I’m also with you on the introversion: I love social interaction. But I’m quite comfortable and peaceful being left to my own devices.

    • Mac, I really do love the way you think. I’ve toying with the idea of going out as a solo act (when places open up again), using backing tracks as accompaniment. Paralyzed Anxiety would be a perfect name for the act.

      Don’t worry. I’ll give you a footnote. 🤪

      Thank you.

  2. Great read Mark. I enjoyed you insights. I live out in the country . So I don’t have any issues with social distances, It is quiet plenty of room to roam with my dog, Buddy in tow. I don’t watch TV, I don’t read about what is going on. I am conscious to wear gloves and mask when I go into town once a week. I talk often to all my friends and I write often….. and that is just me. Thank you for sharing.

    • Larry, we think very much alike. Anne and I don’t live in the country, per se. But we’re far enough removed in our little community that we can safely and comfortably walk our dog, Eddie, and interact with our neighbors. And we, too, mask up when we have to go to a store. Otherwise, we’re just living on.

      Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

  3. You’ll be happy to know that you won’t have a long-winded, meandering response to your awesome piece… because I have found it difficult to work this keyboard whilst standing… yes, a standing ovation. So much noise out there, so little real information. Your words, your intentions, this call to inaction is just what we need. I have a ton of books in the library upstairs, what used to be my office and retreat, is now my wife’s office and nerve center of our church. But I have a pass to visit periodically, and pretty sure that I would be allowed to check out some books. We can only get harangued upon if we allow it, and I shan’t or I shall keep it to a minimum. Good day sir, I have more to say, but this standification while trying to typing is bad for my posture. Be well, don’t stop breathing entirely.

    • Tom, just yesterday I finished reading On the Beach. It’s not a book I’d recommend just now:

      After that, I picked up The Stones of Summer:

      I’d read it during the ‘70s and never forgot it. But my paperback copy fell completely apart. When it came back into print, I bought it in hard cover, got through the first 400 pages, and set it aside while I read a couple of other things. Now I’m in the process of finishing it. And I find your comments to be tonally consistent with it. That may not make sense unless and until you read the book. But it has a kind of rambling, disjointed, hallucinatory quality to it, which is to say I’m enjoying it immensely and looking forward to reviewing it. I’m also looking forward to seeing the remastered version of the 2003 documentary it inspired when it’s available later this year:

      Thank you, as always, for reading my post and for your comments. I hope you take full advantage of the pass to your own office and check out some great books. I also hope you keep writing, comments and/or anything else.