March 17th… St. Patrick’s Day, of course. Many, many years ago, this would’ve meant a green Shamrock Shake at McDonald’s. Years after that, it would’ve meant green beer pub hops, though I must admit those memories are pretty hazy. In recent years, a pint or two of Guinness.

Last year, none of the above. Last year, right at this time, a state of emergency was declared, and, instead of imbibing pints, I was reading through a bunch of stuff, like the rest of us… trying to make some sense as to what the hell is actually going on here. It led me to find an interesting little table of numbers… showing how Italy had gone from 100 cases one day to 1,000 in less than a week to 10,000 about 10 days later… and how the U.S. growth in cases was mirroring that, step by step, only 11 days behind. I wondered how Canada would compare, so I found the data and lined it up… and to make things easier to visualize, graphed it. And realized we were on the exact same track, a week behind the U.S. And thought, simultaneously, “Wow, cool”… and, also… “Holy shit”.

I thought it worthy enough to post… and since enough people were interested to see how it would evolve, I resolved to update it and post it at 5pm every day. And I resolved to myself to update this thing for as long as I could… ie, the end of the pandemic.

Facebook was kind enough to remind me earlier today, so I didn’t have to scroll back 365 articles to find it. It’s reposted below this. That lame little graph and tiny columns of numbers pale in comparison to what I’m cranking out these days, but I must say… I felt dread looking at those graphs for the first few weeks.

So, yes… that was exactly a year ago… and during that time, I have posted the ever-evolving numbers and charts and details exactly 365 times. Yeah, I find it remarkable too – I haven’t missed a day. I’m a computer guy, so the numbers and graphs are now at the point of complete automation… click-click-click and today’s picture and numbers are ready to upload. That’s the easy part. But what’s more remarkable is what you’re reading right now… because behind this, there are 365 versions of my rambling, extemporaneous (adj. spoken or done without preparation) thoughts… some serious, some funny, some confrontational, some informative… and all of it, coming from a place in my brain I truly didn’t know existed. I keep saying I need to slow down, and one year would mark a good cut-off… except, you know what… I enjoy it too much. It’s fun to sit down here and just unload whatever my brain decides is worthy of providing for public consumption.

For me, the unfortunate aspect of the end of the pandemic (let’s find a little cloud in a huge silver lining) is that I’m having less and less time to write. And there’s lots of other stuff I’d like to be writing too. A book (that has nothing to do with any of this) will emerge from this keyboard one day, and I’d like to devote some time to that.

But… yeah, I’m not going anywhere. Until this pandemic is over, I’ll be around posting this… which today is relatively long, but often will just be a placeholder for the numbers and pictures. And looking back, those numbers and pictures sure tell a story. And these stories that go along with them; they also tell a story, haha. Reading through a bunch of them just now, there’s a common thread… and it’s like I’ve been saying all along… we’ll get through this, together. It’ll all be ok… eventually.

You often regret getting on the roller-coaster in the midst of that first, huge drop… or during those tight loops that impose enough G-forces on you to think you’ll pass out… but once the ride over, and once you can once-again walk straight and you’re not feeling nauseous… part of you is happy you went for the ride, if for no other reason than you can tell everyone you did it… and made it out alive.

And… so it’ll be with all of this… especially now, with a finish line well in sight; let’s not paint it rosy… it’s been a year of hell, and a year that has been catastrophic to many people’s lives; their health and their livelihoods altered in ways they’d never imagined. Nothing will make up for it, and the healing will take decades.

But, you’re still here… and, while this pandemic still rages… or, at least, till it’s snuffed out… so am I.

I raise my pint of Guinness to you: Cheers! … to a better year ahead. And see you tomorrow.