Bill Plascke of the Los Angeles Times called up the legendary Vin Scully who, at 92, is most certainly keeping isolated at home. Scully doesn’t seem to mind it though. He has his wife Sandi. His family can visit — they keep a safe distance and there are no hugs — but it’s better than nothing. The other night he watched his favorite movie, “The Music Man,” and he planned to watch “Singin’ in the Rain” the next night. He jokes that, at his age, in retirement, he wasn’t leaving the house much anyway.
But Scully does more than joke. As someone who grew up during the Great Depression and during the shortages and sacrifices of World War II, he provides some valuable perspective:
I remember my mother would feed me something that would fill me up and didn’t cost very much, I remember having pancakes for dinner and a lot of spaghetti . . . We didn’t have any money anyway . . . meat was hard to come by . . . we bit the bullet.
Scully talked about getting through all of that and said, “if we can do that, we can certainly fight through this . . . It’s the life of the world, the ups and downs, this is a down, we’re going to have to realistically accept it at what it is and we’ll get out of it, that’s all there is to it, we will definitely get out of it.”
I’ve been thinking about that sentiment a lot lately. I’ve been keeping a daily diary of the pandemic over at my personal website. A recurring thought that’s been showing up in my entries is one of concern about our country’s ability to sacrifice and act selflessly to protect others.
As I wrote yesterday, some of our leaders are, quite admirably, taking increasingly dire measures to address the pandemic, casting aside political expediency in order to keep people safe. Others, so far, are not rising to the occasion. Because of that there does not seem to be a notion of shared sacrifice in the country, the sort of which prevailed during the Depression and the war.
I fear that, this time around, rather than a “we’re all in this together” attitude, people will just fight over toilet paper and agitate for things to get back to normal as soon as possible because they’ve been inconvenienced for, what, 11 or 12 days now? I’m not one to sugarcoat history or overlook its faults — the so-called “Greatest Generation” had a TON of faults, actually — but they did have it in them to suck it up and deal with adversity in ways I worry that we don’t.
So, as I so often have in the course of my life, I look to Vin Scully for some comfort and assurance when everything seems to be spinning out of control. Maybe people will listen to him and to people like him who have been through worse and who can provide us with some wisdom that we, as a society, seem to have ignored for a few generations. Maybe Vin Scully can, once again, make me feel better, even if he’s not calling a baseball game.
Listen to his conversation with Plaschke below: