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LA Times Today: Patt Says: We’ve been knocked down, but we’ll get up again
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LA Times Today: Patt Says: We’ve been knocked down, but we’ll get up again

Watch L.A. Times Today at 7 p.m. on Spectrum News 1 on Channel 1 or live stream on the Spectrum News App. Palos Verdes Peninsula and Orange County viewers can watch on Cox Systems on channel 99.

In 1781, when the unimaginable happened … from the British point of view at least … and the army of British general Cornwallis surrendered to an upstart colonial general named George Washington at Yorktown, the British military band struck up a tune called “The World Turned Upside Down.”

Twenty-four decades later, starting in March of the year 2020, the world was turned upside down, not by a revolution but by a virus as fierce and deadly as any army.

COVID-19 will rank with other milestones that altered history, like wars and plagues.

But what will it mean to each of us? I remember my last in-person meeting before the lockdown. It was having coffee with a librarian, and for a great many people, books soon became our new best companions – for some people, their only ones.

The shutdown was so abrupt that at first it was hard to come to grips with its magnitude – partly because we didn’t know how long it would go on.

So it took a while to think about it as something more than an inconvenient interruption, like your cable going out or your car being in the shop.

But then it went on, and on, and if you were lucky enough that you didn’t have to go out into the world to work and put yourself a risk, you began to learn some things about yourself.

Maybe you thought of yourself as a recluse, and then found you really crave company.

Maybe you thought of yourself as a pack rat, but then found you wanted to Marie Kondo your entire house.

Maybe you thought you were too grown-up to care about holidays and birthdays – and then you find out you do care, and they do really matter.

So we emerge from this forced semi-hibernation … into what?

A world turned upside down – politics, the economy, health care, school, work, family and friendships, all up-ended and maybe re-fashioned by COVID-19.

And you? Are you making plans? Have you spent months thinking about what you’ll do?

What are your plans for your first restaurant meal?

Your first vacation? First party? First ball game?

We’re all thinking forward, to getting out of this and getting past it.

But for the rest of our lives, this will be a yardstick of life before and after. When things go south, we’ll say, well, it’s not as bad as 2020; and when things look rosy, they’ll be all the juicier for remembering what it was like in the year when nothing seemed to be going right.

There’s that brutal quote from the German philosopher Nietzsche, that what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger. No; when it comes to COVID-19, we have to remember that it did kill us, and to make sure that it will make us stronger.