Writing Advice from my 3D Printer

I’m feeling like Cassandra this morning. After reading some news and some very bad takes on Twitter, I’m looking into the future and seeing things clearly that I’m powerless to change, and no one would believe me if I told them. So I’m not going to talk about any of that.

Instead, I’m going to talk about 3D printing and how the lessons I’m learning apply to writing.

The 3D printer is my big Christmas present of 2021. There are a few projects I’m really interested in doing, including a completely homemade keyboard and a radio controlled plane. These projects are going to challenge me in new and interesting ways, and I’m going to have to develop some skills I haven’t used in a long time. To prepare myself, I’m doing smaller, easier projects on the 3D printer.

After setting up the printer and watching a few videos to help me learn how to balance it, I sent a test print that came with the device. Then I downloaded some models and printed those. Then I tried some different filament and a couple of other models, including prints that helped me upgrade the printer itself. Now the spools can hang off the side of the printer instead of on top, making the device short enough that it can fit on a shelf, and allowing the filament to enter the bushing at a far less severe angle.

The printer works! It does a good job! I printed a couple of benchies to check the quality of the prints, then gave them to Melissa. She loves the little boats and has them sitting under her monitor in her work space.

Satisfied with the quality of these prints, I moved on to the next step which is creating 3D models of my own. I decided that I wanted to print a small drawer set. It isn’t particularly complicated, and once I get it right, I can store loose screws and hardware in my work space. A really functional learning experience.

I started the print for the main body on Friday night. The application said it was going to take 40 hours to print, which seems like way too long, but I figured I’d let it go over the weekend. Long prints are common with these devices, right? And while this piece was going to be the largest thing I’d printed to date, it didn’t seem particularly complicated. It’s all flat planes and right angles. Should be easy.

When I got up Saturday morning, I found the printer still going, spitting loose black strings into the air. The glass printing surface was on the ground along with the malformed print. I stopped the printer and put everything back together. It looked like part of the print peeled off the printing surface, so when the extruder swung by that section, it caught the print and pulled everything out of place. The glass unclipped from the aluminum, and the whole thing tumbled to the ground. I’m lucky the glass didn’t break.

Stilling wanting to complete this project, I went back to my 3D model. Maybe it was too large a surface to stick directly to the glass. I decided to put a bunch of holes in it and break it up. It doesn’t have to be a solid piece. It also might look cooler with the holes. I changed the 3D model, compiled the gcode, and sent the new model to the printer.

This print attempt didn’t go that long. It looked like the filament wouldn’t adhere to the glass. The lines it laid out were not precise, and it was obviously going to go bad if I let it keep going. I killed the job, then took a step back. Did the first failed print mess up the printer? I tried printing another benchie. That print job failed, too.

Was it the filament? I changed to a color I hadn’t used before and tried another benchie. Another failed print. So it’s not the filament. It’s the printer itself. Something happened with that first bad print, and I had to fix that before it would print anything properly again.

I feared the worst. Maybe the temperature gauges were incorrect, so the filament and the platform weren’t reaching the right temperatures in order for the print process to work. Maybe the extruder was damaged when it unclipped the glass. Perhaps it was some other mechanical failure I couldn’t imagine.

After a few minutes of worrying, I went back to the original videos I watched when I set the printer up in the first place. A major part of the setup was getting the printing surface balanced. It’s manual, and it takes a bit of time. I went through all of those steps again, finding the printer badly out of alignment.

Twenty minutes of fiddling later, I printed another benchie, this time in mustard yellow. It worked. Then I printed a calibration cube in the same black filament as the failed print. This one also worked, though it wasn’t perfect.

The printer is fine. It was just out of balance. Last night, I tried the large print again, and while I had to cancel that job before it failed completely, it was doing a better job than before. The balance still isn’t quite perfect, but it’s good enough for smaller jobs. I’ll need to keep tweaking it before I try something large again.

And that’s the lesson.

As a writer, I was producing really decent stories right up into 2020. I had inertia going for me. Then the pandemic hit, which threw me off balance. For a while, I wasn’t able to write anything at all. Then I was able to muddle through some smaller jobs, none of which were perfect, but they were serviceable. I’m still not able to take on a larger project, because I’m still off balance. I need to get myself back into some kind of alignment, maybe get back to basics, and then I’ll be functional again.


Shutting up and Writing

Today, I’m participating in a virtual Shut up and Write meeting. I haven’t attended Shut up and Write since late 2013. I didn’t think I’d ever attend one again, and certainly not during the pandemic.

But my friend Mike Baltar invited me and to join, and he even provided the link and password this morning. All of the lame excuses I would have used to dodge such a meeting failed, because Mike is a good friend that follows through.

Odd how my friends are named Mike and Michael. I’ve talked about Michael here before. This seems like a good point to talk about Mike.

Mike is part of my current critique group that started in late 2019 and is, miraculously, still going. Maybe it’s not that much of a miracle. Just like how this morning, Mike provided links and reminders of the Shut up and Write meeting, he has been administrating the “Woodthrush Astronomy Club” writer’s group, making sure the Discord we use is up-to-date.

While I’ve been in my pandemic-based writer’s slump, which as I’ve described the last few days is really more a matter of me losing faith, Mike has been playing games with me. We found out at the end of the last Writing Excuses Cruise that we both play Valheim, so I set up a dedicated server for us to play together. We’ve been meeting at least once a week, building a base and going on Viking adventures. It’s been really great.

He also invited me to join him with a couple of other friends for online gaming on Wednesday nights. We meet on Discord, get into a first-person shooter game, and have a good time that doesn’t involve the pressure of productivity. It’s been like being on a vacation from my regular life.

I’m not sure if he’ll see this or not, but Mike has been a solid pillar that’s been helping me get through a very difficult time. I didn’t ask him to, and I’m not sure if he’s aware of how dark things have been for me. I really appreciate his friendship, even as a large part of me feels I don’t deserve it.

The Shut Up and Write virtual meeting has been good, though. It feels low pressure, yet wearing my headphones and being on camera provides some pressure, which motivates me to stay on task and get stuff done.

Today, it’s broken into two sections, with a lunch in the middle. During the first section, I revised the next 10,000 words of Spin City to submit to my critique group. These revisions I’m doing are extremely light. They’re mostly just adjusting some of the prose to make it flow a little bit smoother. I also updated the synopsis the critique group has access to, so they can review what’s happened previously before reading the next section.

Another quick aside about the critique group… I’m not sure that it functions to provide useful feedback for any of us. Since there are 6 of us and we’re submitting 10k words from our stories every other month, it will take 2 years for any of us to finish a 120k novel. That’s too long. If we artfully set up something towards the beginning, none of us are going to remember much about that setup a year and a half later. If we take the feedback we receive to heart and make adjustments to our story based on that feedback, we’re going to make our stories misshapen messes.

The value of the critique group, at this point, is community and accountability. That’s fantastic value, probably better than any writing advice we might offer to each other. I do not devalue the critique group, but I think it’s important to look at the function of the thing for what it is, and not expect it to do more than it can. If we want writing critique, we’ll probably have to change the way do our submissions so that we don’t draw stories out over 2 years.

Back to Shut Up and Write.

During the lunch period, we were free to open up our mics and cameras and chat. I spoke with Mike and the co-lead of the group about blogs and social media and the business of writing. At the same time, I had tinkercad open, revising the model for my 3D print project.

I started the print last night and discovered this morning that things went wrong. The printing surface separated from the aluminum underneath, so the whole print and the glass wound up on the floor. When I came out this morning, the printer was drawing black spaghetti in the air, with twists and turns of malformed PLA gumming up the works. Quite a mess, and a learning experience.

I’m redesigning the print so that it won’t require as much time or material. I think it got cold in the garage last night, and part of the print separated from the glass. The printer caught on it, pulled the print and the glass out of the clip, and sent it tumbling to the floor. If it didn’t take as long to print and required less material, the chances of it going wrong should be smaller.

I dedicated the last part of Shut Up and Write to this blog post. Now that I’m coming to the end of the post, I’m coming to the end of today’s Shut Up and Write. At least my part in it.

It’s been good! I didn’t think I’d ever attend again, but it seems to be under different management and is functioning more like it should. Maybe I’ll attend again in February, when they do their next virtual marathon.

Maybe by that time, I’ll be writing fiction again, and not just blog posts.

Before I try to write something new, I want to finish the revision of Synthetic Dreams. I want to get the full revision completed and then get that into the hands of a few people I care about and trust. I hope I can get Michael to read it. I’d like to get a couple of people from the Writing Excuses community to read it. Maybe not to give me a full critique, but just to gauge the temperature. I’m too close to it and still think it’s wonderful, but maybe it’s only wonderful to me.

I need to remember that one story doesn’t represent my entire writing career. It only represents what I was working on at that time.


Two Videos to Restore Faith in Humanity

I’ve been talking about how my faith in humanity is shattered, and how it cripples my own sense of self-worth, which in turn incapacitates my writing. It helps to go through these ideas and thoughts, getting them out of my head and in a place where I can analyze them. It relieves some of the pressure just forming the words.

Writing about it isn’t quite enough. The constant sense of hopelessness weighs on me. I try to stay positive while interacting with my coworkers, putting on a smile when I can. I show up and do the work, and when I’m not working I seek distractions. Under it all, I feel like I’m about to fall down a dark well and never come out.

Last night, I tried to work late but I ran out of focus. I didn’t have enough executive function to form the code, so I tried listening to music. I wound up clicking through some of the videos I favorited last year and I found two that had me crying in my seat.

Here is the first:

Here is the second:

Both Violet Orlandi and Voctave are amazing, and I love their performances for different reasons. But these two songs brought tears to my eyes, especially the last one.

Watch them both until the end.

In both, the performers take a backseat and then it’s just people singing. All of them different, but all of them like you and me, just doing their best and putting something out in the world. Altogether, it’s greater than the sum of its parts, and it’s beautiful. It makes me feel beautiful.

Understand, I rarely cry. I’m sure I’ve talked about it before. I’m don’t refuse to cry because of some outdated idea of masculinity. All people should cry once in a while, but I’m a little bit broken inside, and I rarely cry when I need to. Music can put me back together enough that I am able to shed tears. It tricks my brain into thinking it’s okay to let it out, and I do.

After everything I said about my faith in humanity being shattered by recent events, there were these two videos that shifted my perspective to something more positive. Beauty and empathy. Music and art.

Maybe even stories.

That last one especially touched me as the words repeated “you are not alone.” I’m sure that every one of the performers in the chorus was alone, at least while recording their part, but when the camera pans over them, too many to fit in the frame, we see that none of them are alone. And maybe none of us are, either.

This all feels a bit sentimental and saccharine, but maybe the sweet will balance out the bitter.

In unrelated news, I’ve created my first wholly custom 3D model in a free CAD tool, turned it into a file that my 3D printer can consume, and it’s whirring away behind me. I’m creating a small drawer set for storing loose hardware. It’s not particularly complicated, but it’s a larger print than I’ve done before, and it’s the first thing I’ve done from scratch. Whether this turns out well or not, it’s been a good learning experience.


January 6th and The Big Lie

Joe Biden won the election in 2020.

That should not be a political statement, should it? We had an election. Votes were counted. Some votes were disputed and taken to courts. Audits were completed. An insignificant amount of voter fraud was found, mostly for Trump, and it was not enough to change the results of the election.

Trump appointed judges, Republican-led auditors, and independent sources verified the results.

These are statements of fact. They are not political opinions. It is observable reality.

In 2016, when Trump won, I found it difficult to believe, too. I had to take a lot of deep breathes. I squinted my eyes at some districts, and I definitely believe that the Russia-empowered social media bots and ads played a part in influencing American voters, but I don’t think I ever believed that Trump stole the election. I believed Clinton lost it. And, believe it or not, I spent a couple of weeks thinking that maybe Trump would surprise us all in a good way and maybe be good for the country.

He was not. He surprised us, sure, but it wasn’t good. He was worse than I could possibly imagine.

Those are my opinions, which are political. My opinions were formed after observing with my own senses the words and actions of The Former Guy. They’re still my opinions, which are different from the fact that Biden won the election in 2020.

It’s important to restate this, making clear the difference between opinion and fact. Some folks get these two things mixed up. A whole lot of those people are currently wearing or have worn red hats.

On January 6th, 2021, Trump told his followers to march to the Capitol. He fired them up. And they showed up, with zip ties and Trump flags, and the material to erect a gallows. They beat police officers and broke down doors. They spread capitol defenders with pepper spray and bear repellent. They climbed the walls, broke windows, rifled through desks and cabinets, spread feces on the walls, and some of them were looking for the Vice President with the intention of stringing him up to the gallows they erected. They did this in order to overturn the election, which I cannot stress enough, was legally won by Joseph Robinette Biden.

In the middle of a once-in-a-lifetime pandemic, some portion of our country lost their goddamn minds and tried to overturn democracy. It’s kind of a big deal.

And, there are still people promoting The Big Lie, that the election was stolen. The people that were part of the insurrection a year ago believed The Big Lie then. Too many people a year later believe it now. Elected officials are promoting it. Matt Gaetz and Marjorie Greene are idiots and dirt bags, but they’re still elected officials. They’re conduct should be held to a higher standard, but who is going to censure them?

Gaetz is under investigation for sex trafficking. Greene ran unopposed in her district, doesn’t have an office in her district, has been removed from all of her board appointments in congress, and has been banned from Twitter and Facebook. In the fullness of time, I think Gaetz and Greene will reap what they’re sowing today. But for the short term, they’re promoting The Big Lie and effectively keeping the insurrection from a year ago going.

This is why my faith in humanity is so shaken. Idiots that prove their idiocy with their words and actions aren’t ignored and shunned, but instead trend on social media platforms and take up space in our conversations, and they get media coverage and followers.

The “Grab Them By The Pussy” Guy should not have won the vote of conservative Christians. The “Jewish Space Laser” Lady should never have been taken seriously again after uttering those words, and she shouldn’t be given a microphone and screen time. And the sex trafficker should be in jail. None of them should be taking up 3 out of 5 headlines when I look at the news.

I pinch the bridge of my nose and I sigh and I think about how we’ve come to this place, and it always goes back to money. We gawk at train wrecks and car crashes, and the gawking equates to clicks and view time when it comes to media. For news agencies, that turns into profit, as people clicking their articles and watching their programs means that advertisers will give them their money.

The problem always traces back to money.

This isn’t even what I wanted to talk about. I thought it would be interesting to compare how we reacted to September 11th to our reaction to January 6th. With the former, we came together for a brief time. With the latter, we became more divided than ever. We’re still taking off our shoes before we get on an airplane. How have we changed after January 6th?


What’s a Person Worth?

What do you think of people these days? Are humans actually good or terrible? After two years of pandemic, with so many anti-science, selfish people spreading conspiracies and lies about vaccines and Covid-19, I’ve been leaning towards the latter. There are lots of us that are staying home, wearing masks, getting vaccinated… but it’s like whatever we’re doing to try and prevent the spread of a deadly virus is being undone by people that just don’t give a shit.

Then there’s the Trump supporters. After all this time, there are still people that think Trump represents the best of America. There are people that think he’s a good Christian, a good American, and that he’s virtuous. You can hate Biden and I can get along with you, but if you love Trump after everything that’s happened? I’m sorry, but I don’t think we can be friends.

There’s a lot of really shitty people in the world. So many. More than a small percentage. In the US, it’s fully a third to half the population appears to absolutely not care about anyone but themselves. They claim to love Jesus but their actions do not match the person that died for their sins.

Why am I going on about this?

Because I don’t think I’m better than these people.

I think they’re just people. Just like me.

A whole bunch of misguided people that are regurgitating information that is shared with them by sources they deem reliable.

Am I much different than that? I think so. I try to keep an open mind, but maybe most of my sources of information are biased. I try to think critically about the information I’m taking in, especially before I restate those things verbally or in print, but I’m human just like everyone else. I have biases I’m not even aware of.

So, I don’t believe I’m any better than anyone else. But I also spend a lot of time looking around seeing the ugliness of humanity, the lack of compassion, the disrespect, and the meanness.

If I’m no better than anyone else, why should I demand someone’s time? What makes my words special?

They’re not. I’m not special, and neither are my stories. I used to think much more highly of myself, but the truth is that I have everything in common with the society I live in. I’m a part of the whole, and the whole is rotten. We’re killing each other and destroying our home. Just like the virus that invades our bodies, turning us into factories to produce more viruses, we have infested the Earth, shaping it to our darker impulses, turning everything into capital.

I think I need to have faith in humanity, and that faith was challenged before the pandemic. Now I feel it as an acute, spiritual pain, and I cannot separate myself from what I see around me. People suck, and I’m a person. Therefore, I suck, too.

Writing requires audacity, and I don’t feel it right now. I feel humble and ashamed. I don’t feel like a person that is worthy of commanding the attention of anyone else.

And yet, I’m trying to will myself back into writing. I’m still showing up and working, even though it’s hard most days.

I guess I need to keep showing up until I start to believe in myself again.


Progress through Small Steps

I had to go in to the office today. It was going to be a much more important day, with the three lead developers getting into a room and whiteboarding the next generation of our flagship software. Two out of three of us were there, but the third was sick so we’re rescheduling. It was also the start day of one of our developers, so the day wasn’t a complete wash. Still, my time would have been better spent at home.

Staying home hasn’t really been the problem for me during the pandemic. I’ve always been a bit of a home body, and my favorite pass-times involve the computer, whether it’s computer games or writing. The thing that’s killed my writing progress has been the loss of hope. If I feel like there’s no hope of my stories being read, then I can only force myself to form the words for so long.

That brings me back to this exercise of daily blogging, which I’ve already talked about a little bit. Because I’m doing this publicly, there’s a chance that someone will see these words and a connection will form. My thoughts, coerced into this page, picked up by your eyes and turned back into thought. As Stephen King says, it’s telepathy. It’s magic. And I love it.

Writing something like this every day is a small step, even though it looks like a large commitment. It doesn’t take that long for me to jam out a post like this. I type very quickly, and I organize my thoughts before I start so that one point will theoretically lead into another. Some of these posts are going to be more coherent than others, and some are going to be better edited than others, because I’m doing this fast and dirty. This is first draft quality, baby.

The commitment is small every day, but intimidating because it’s daily. I do this kind of thing every October, though, so I’m not worried. And since I’m not trying to impress anyone, there’s reduced pressure to “get it right” every day.

Each post is a small step, all by itself. Is it actually helping me progress towards my end goal of writing for real again?

I think so. I committed to editing another 10,000 words this weekend, so I can have my next submission ready to go for the writer’s group. That feels like progress. Also, I’ve been thinking more about why my writing has been locked up. I think the daily blog is helping me gain some focus and perspective.

That will likely be the topic for tomorrow, but here’s a hint: I don’t think I’m worthy of taking up so much of another person’s time with my stories.


Getting the Attention of the Void

Is it better to know or to not know? Is ignorance truly bliss?

It probably depends on the subject but in general, when I have a choice, I prefer to know something rather than be ignorant of it. Exceptions may include movies, because I prefer to go into the theater spoiler-free. I would also rather not know if I have cancer.

I bring this up because I have a plugin here which lets me see how much traffic my blog gets. It’s not information that will ever improve my day, yet I look at it just to see if anyone out in the void is seeing my words.

Apparently, when you make the title of your post something that is trending, the search engines take notice and strangers will find you.

It’s not that big a deal, but it’s a little bit disconcerting. Like being at a party, trying to talk to someone over the noise, when suddenly the music shuts down and its your voice filling the room.

Also, the numbers aren’t that large. Fifty or so strangers showed up to see what I was talking about on the 1st. Usually, I get between 10 to 15 views on my posts, and only when I post a link to Facebook and Twitter. I’m not posting any links right now. This exercise is just to get me writing again, not draw a crowd or say anything particularly important.

If it’s an exercise, why am I doing it in public? Why not just keep a journal or something?

I have found that when there is no chance of another person reading my writing, I can’t bring myself to put the words on the page. If no one is going to read it, I could just sit in an empty room and talk to myself. No need to activate the pain in my wrists. No need to waste the paper or electrons.

Writing is a medium for communication. Communication involves more than one party. It can be from a younger self to an older self, or it can be between strangers. Sometimes, the younger and older versions of a person are strangers, actually.

Writing is connection. When I know that there is no one at the other end, I go silent. The electricity of my words is grounded out, and no amount of willpower on my part can get it to spark.

So, for this exercise to work, I have to do it publicly. Doing it on the internet means that sometimes, the internet shows up and watches. I don’t expect people to stop and stare as I force my doughy Dad-body to do jumping jacks in the park, but there can be curious gawkers, and I just have to be okay with that.

I have a whole lot more to say on the topic of writing and motivation, and how I’m already starting to see some improvements in my life after just a few days. Maybe that’s what I’ll talk about tomorrow.


Compromising during Creativity

When I started yesterday, I intended to do a bunch of work I’m behind on. I checked Twitter, wound up in a foul mood (a natural progression), and decided the healthiest thing would be to commit to a year-long blogging spree to deal with it all.

I’m not wrong, and I’m still committed to a post every day, but what the hell is wrong with me? Most people deal with their bad mood by going for a walk or listening to some music. I do those things, too, but not yesterday.

It’s New Year’s, so resolving to do something for the entire year is pretty common, too. Maybe I’m not a psycho.

The rest of the day I spent playing Valheim and avoiding real-life entirely. I didn’t get the programming done that I needed to do, and now I have a day to finish something that will probably take me 2 or 3 days. Maybe I’ll have a really good day today and get it done. We’ll see.

Most of the day, I got to play Valheim with a friend. We’re working on a base together, so most of the time was spent building, which is fantastic. In spite Valheim being my distraction of choice, it still fulfilled me in certain ways.

However, most of my builds in Valheim are solo projects. Working with someone challenges me in interesting ways.

Having lived with myself for nearly 50 years, I understand and can predict a few of my tendencies. If I don’t watch myself, I will take over a project and try to do it all myself. I’m particular and opinionated and passionate, and also demanding and bossy. Sometimes these qualities are not palatable to the people I should be working with.

Knowing this about myself, I try really hard to not step on other people’s toes. In the Valheim base project, we were working on a mead hall. I made myself avoid working on the mead hall whenever I was the only one online, and instead worked on other parts of the base, such as the kitchen and the storage area and the crafting zone. Basically, all of the rest of the base.

When my friend gets on and sees the stuff that’s done and not done, he offers opinions and I take them to heart. He made suggestions about places where walls or doors could be, about pathing, about fixing the roofing so it lines up better… lots of suggestions which in the moment made me grumble internally, but in the fullness of time were the right choices.

Yesterday, his suggestions lead to the destruction and reconstruction of a significant portion of the base, and I got grumpy. It felt like I needed to destroy something I created and liked. Furthermore, I wasn’t sure I was going to like the next incarnation of those features. And it was my hand clicking the button to dismantle all this stuff that I spent hours trying to get right in the first place.

I think I did okay. I told my friend how I felt tense about it, but I kept going with the build. At the end of the day, I like what we built, and I think he likes it, too. We had a good time.

What’s my point?

I don’t know that I have one, necessarily. I’m capable of working with other people in creative endeavors, and even though it’s hard and doesn’t feel good at times, I’ve learned enough about myself and how to communicate my feelings that it doesn’t destroy my relationship with the person I’m working with. That seems positive, right?

It’s still challenging for me to work with people on projects. But I can do it. I’m not sure Brian from 10 or 20 years ago would be quite so capable.

I still have a ton of programming to do today, and I’m not looking forward to it. Hopefully it’s a lot easier than I think it’ll be and I’ll be done sooner than I think. If not, it’s going to be a tough day, and I will need to keep myself from falling into another day filled with distractions instead of progress.


Mass Formation Psychosis Nonsense

It’s January 1st, 2022. Without telling anyone, I’m going to try and write a blog post every day this year. I’m not going to tell anyone I’m doing this. I’m not going to broadcast these posts on social media. I’m just going to quietly do this thing in the hopes that the act of forming words and coherent thoughts will reignite my drive to write again.

My wrap-up post yesterday was a bit of a downer. Maybe today, with a fresh start to the year, I can turn it around intentionally and make something more positive.

The day started off well enough. I got up too early to put the cat outside, then went back to bed and slept in until just after 10AM. Then I made waffles for me and Melissa, puttered around in Valheim, and finally decided to look at Twitter to see what hot nonsense was going on in the world.

And of course, found “Mass Formation Psychosis” trending. The hottest nonsense I’ve seen in a while.

This gets to the heart of my sorrow and loneliness. I feel like one of the many outnumbered adults in a gymnasium, surrounded by children that we’re not at liberty to correct. These children are running around with lit torches, screaming whenever someone tries to calm things down.

What do small children do when faced with having to do something they do not want to do? They throw a fit, lash out, and deny reality. They make a lot of noise. Sometimes they throw a tantrum. They want ice cream, not vegetables. They’d rather play than do their homework. They don’t want to go to bed, and they don’t want to take a bath.

The reality is that over 800,000 Americans have died directly from Covid-19. While it is true that it is unlikely that you will die if you get the virus, it is also true that if you get the virus, you are likely to spread it. You might spread it to someone that is not as lucky as you. You might get sick enough that you have to go to the hospital and take up medical resources that would otherwise go to someone else. You might be the millionth person infected by this strain, allowing the virus to mutate into the next variation that may or may not be more deadly.

It’s math. There is currently a low risk of death for individuals, so individuals feel less fear. But the threat is to humanity at large. And too many people don’t see themselves as part of a larger body.

So bunches and bunches and bunches of so called adults see themselves as individuals, with no responsibility to other people around them, and insist on not getting vaccinated, going out whenever they like, not taking necessary precautions in order to stop the threat… it just goes on and on.

And now these same idiots are going on about “Mass Formation Psychosis.”

I’m staying home as much as I can. I wear a mask when I go out. I got vaccinated. I got my booster. When it’s time to get the next booster, I’ll get that, too. And it’s not because I think I’ll die if I get Covid-19. It’s because I don’t want to be the one to pass it one to someone else that will die. It’s because I don’t want to be the one that incubates the next variant, which might be more deadly or more vaccine resistant. I see myself as part of a larger body, and I want to take care of that body as much as am able.

I look online and I see people crowded together without masks, going about their lives like everything is okay and normal.

As of this writing, there have been 288 million worldwide cases, and 5.4 million dead from Covid-19. That’s just under 2%. So yes, you that may be reading these words, have a 98% chance of surviving if you catch Covid-19. But you might pass it on, and then the next variant will eventually come around, and then you’ll have to roll the dice again. And again. And again. And all of the people around you will have to keep rolling the dice again, and again, and again.

It’s math, but humanity and human nature is the problem. It’s not the kind of problem I’m capable of solving.