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Get out your Sharpie and circle August 7 on the calendar. It's a Friday.
For this brief "August 7 Survey," you will be required to select one of two preliminary answers.
Eyes straight ahead, class.
In the realm of human cognitive ability, do you think humans would most usually be A) Smart, or B) Stupid. For streamlining, we have omitted C) Box of Igneous Rocks Stupid.
I always pick B and have no reason to change my attitude. So I do not believe there is much evidence that the brick-brain bozos who refuse to wear face masks and take normal sanitary precautions will stop the pandemic virus.
We apparently are a species with a suicide wish because, as we tell ourselves constantly with no evidence, we're all entitled to our opinion. We have found a large cliff and come to the opinion we should hurtle over the edge.
That's because we have left matters we care most about - living, for example - in the hands of the most dense, willful and ignorant among us. Many of them throw temper tantrums while sitting on the floors at Walmarts and screaming about having to wear a face mask.
The entitled opinion-holders, as every public health official acknowledges, are the single variable demographic that stops the nation from winning the pandemic scrum. You'll have to stuff that face mask into my cold, dead hands, Snowflake.
August 7 is important because on that day you will know several things you don't know now. It's Launch Day for college football.
You will know on that day if COVID-19 is close enough to controlled resolution that college football in our neighborhood can be allowed. College football is nearly as important as life itself in some locales.
That is the day the NCAA has set aside to begin a five-day on-campus acclimatization - and no I don't know what that means - to be followed by 25 on-field practices before the official launch of the season.
If you are concerned this fateful day is driven only by the financial self-interest of college officials, you would be wrong. As Notre Dame Director of Athletics Jack Swarbrick told USA Today while tiptoeing through the garden patch of roadside explosives, his decision will originate "higher in the chain" than he stands.
And, no, he doesn't mean "Touchdown Jesus."
Swarbrick seems honestly relieved this is not his call.
The actual chain for Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin will go this way with some local variations: The governor will tell the head of the state health department to determine if the games are safe and how many fans will be allowed in the stands; that official will inform the presidents of the universities; who will tell the athletic directors; who will tell the coaches; who will tell the players.
This is not a private matter for universities to decide alone. It is fundamental public health. If Illinois bans more than 25 in a restaurant, it is unlikely to approve a Northwestern football superspreader colony. At least restaurant patrons wash their hands first.
"This starts with the national output," Swarbrick said. "What's going on with the disease? If the current trend lines continue - as negative as they've been the past few weeks - America is not going to return to normal. College football is just going to be a victim of that."
Did he just say no Notre Dame football? Consider that slowly.
It's even more profound.
Dallas public school Superintendent Michael Hinojosa said last week that he doubts there will be high school football in Texas this year. It is not safe to risk everyone's life, he suggested.
No one in white lab coats showed up to spirit him away for treatment.
But it's not his call. The University Interscholastic League (UIL) is the state governing body for public school extracurricular activities. That body will decide if COVID-19 is too risky for the 167,428 students who play football in the state.
Texas high school coaches cling to hope, but even they admit reality might not allow the season.
We actually have come to this strange moment. No high school football in Texas or college football in South Bend, Evanston or Champaign? What are we, Italy?
But it does offer some hope that rationality and science have not fled the premises.
People in charge of making life-and-death decisions about athletes are speaking with more clarity and wisdom about perilous decisions than anyone demanding a cattle call return to schools.
At the least, the caution and prudence of the sports world suggests not everyone is a mindless idiot. And truth still matters. It's about time.
I continue to feel that really stupid people might get their way on the bigger issues, and we are no longer the nation of exceptionalism we insist we are. Maybe we never were.
But that's just my opinion. Everyone is entitled to one they hope is wrong.
On the other hand, as noted public policy analyst Mick Jagger suggests: You can't always get what you want. But if you try sometime you find you get what you need.
Recently by David Rutter:
* On Boredom.
David Rutter is the former publisher/editor of the Lake County News-Sun, and more importantly, the former author of the Beachwood's late, great "The Week In WTF" column. You can also check him out at his Theeditor50's blog. He welcomes your comments.
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