Archives for posts with tag: coronavirus

‘Yes, yes, but it was my jungle, you understand?’ Said Nigel, cradling his crude beverage. ‘Perhaps things did change too fast, too sudden for some. But we don’t choose the times we live in, do we?’

George took a small pained sip of the stuff. ‘We certainly don’t.’

They had been talking all day – what else was there to do? Company was always in short order – largely disagreeable nonsense, but enjoyably disagreeable. Gone was Nigel’s sharp pointed way of speaking; now replaced by something more congenial and tipsy, yet coherent all the same.

‘Now George, I’m only a guest on your fine raft, and as such, I have no intentions of overstepping my bounds. But please accept what I say next as genuine compliment, and not just dutiful pleasantry.’ Nigel paused for acknowledgement.

George nodded him on.

‘We might not have liked each other in the old age, but now we’re all we have left to rebuild with. I pride myself on sniffing out a man’s worth and I tell you now: we need your sort to rebuild the kingdom. To rebuild civilisation.’

George’s flushed cheeks were hidden by the sunset wash. He raised his tin cup and toasted Nigel’s. ‘To rebuilding civilisation.’

—-

Previous parts:
I – KING GEORGE
II – RED PASSPORT

“When the tide rolls out, you find out who’s been swimming naked”
– Warren Buffett, paraphrased by me (badly)

The above is a well known business quote by the great investor. Specifically about people who seemingly run robust operations when the sun’s out during a bull market. But it isn’t until the bear markets and recessions pop up, when the shit really hits the fan, that you find out for real who (and what) is or isn’t actually fragile or sustainable.

With all that’s going on recently, it’s a thought that keeps coming back to me. And not just because I have one eye on the stock market (see: previous thoughts on changing my relationship with risk and money and proactivity).

It doesn’t matter how relatively unphased I am by the whole thing or how short this whole affair ends up being or how overblown the downside is. I still have to respect that the world probably isn’t going to be the same post-Covid, same as after 9/11. Certain surprising things have been laid bare and some genies are out their bottles forever.

Certain assumptions. About our ways of life or our cultures and values. About what we thought was important or what we scoffed at. Our institutions and philosophies. Our leaders and systems. Our relations to one another, both as individuals and as nations.

People will die in the fallout of all this. Others will be ruined financially. Many through dumb luck or pre-existing issues. But many also through laziness or ill-preparedness. Some of them will be people you and I know or even care about. That’s just the odds I suppose. But for the fortunate who are left standing afterwards, we should be pondering about how naked we turned out to be.

I think we’ll look back at this point in time and scratch our heads at how oblivious we were to so much. At how it took something like this to shake us up. And at how we got by for so long wearing so little. And I think we’ll be doing it for decades to come.

Stay safe.