Philosopher Albert Camus said, “Stupidity has a knack of getting its way”. Thus far, 2020 has been a banner year for stupidity. For example, in China, people ate the flesh of diseased wild animals, allowing a highly contagious, pernicious virus to cross contaminate and kill humans all over the world. In the U.S., Republican demagogues and pundits politicized and exploited the pandemic, labeling the deadly virus “a Liberal hoax, ”an attack on our president,” “the common cold,” “just the flu, ”or dismissed it with: “There are more important things than living.” Camus was right.
In 1955 the era of the polio epidemic and the Cold War was heating up. Civil rights and entanglement in Vietnam were percolating and the invasion of Cuba was on the horizon. Malcom X, Medgar Evers, and Martin Luther King Jr. — known at all in the movement as “Medgar, Malcolm Medgar and Martin” — fought for Black lives and John and Bobby — John Fitzgerald Kennedy and Robert Kennedy — would be assassinated in less than a decade.
I am proudly forced to repeat myself from last week — the West End is my home.
I have called Webster Street my home for the last 15 years. I’m blessed that I was called to this island — my lady said I was invited, that it’s a kind of magic, destiny, an honor — and that it accepted me and that I’m lucky, and it’s true. I’ve made so many beautiful friends over the years — I’m looking at you, Il Postino and El Viejo Loco. Webster has everything I need within walking distance. There is no need to ever leave this street, let alone the island itself.
Alameda is a special place, as was clear soon after I joined the City’s Public Works Department back in 2012. Eight years later, as I transition to a neighboring city, the specialness of Alameda is all the more clear.
“I never thought I’d need so many people.” — David Bowie
For months I have walked the streets of the West End alone, feeling like Will Smith in I Am Legend, Charlton Heston in the Omega Man, or Vincent Price in The Last Man on Earth (the geeks out there reading this will know that they are all based on the same book by masterful Mr. Matheson).