Hope for the Best, Expect the Worst

My motto comes from a song in Mel Brooks’ hilarious movie, The Twelve Chairs: “Hope for the best, expect the worst.”

Hope for the best, expect the worst
Some drink champagne, some die of thirst
No way of knowing which way it’s going
Hope for the best, expect the worst!

The Twelve Chairs

I saw this film during a period of life when there were no worries. Everything was wonderful, everyone loved me, everything gave me joy! Brooks was so witty! Who knew that a comic song had such seeds of wisdom? This witty adage has helped me through many struggles, many illnesses, many crises.

Life during the pandemic has ripped apart our social routine. The winter was particularly depressing, not just the weather but the spread of Covid and the sense there was no place to go. No quick trip to the mall or afternoon at the movies. Perhaps a DVD of The Twelve Chairs

I recently got the vaccine, and do feel safer, though I am very cross that NOTHING IN OUR ROUTINE HAS CHANGED. It’s still about masks, washing hands, and social-distancing. As more people get vaccinated, this will (we hope!) change.

President Biden said in his speech that perhaps the Fourth of July will be our Independence Day from Covid, if people continue to get vaccines at the current rate. No big public events, but small get-togethers.

And so we breathe a sigh of relief as we cautiously hope for that boring 4th of July picnic in the backyard!

Hope for the best, expect the worst.

4 thoughts on “Hope for the Best, Expect the Worst”

  1. I hope that we will indeed normalize our routines as the vaccine reaches more people. But, here in the NYC area Dr. Sanja Gupta who is one of the more qualified medical commentators was extremely dubious about our future. He quoted various polls which show that 49% of Republican men nationally do not intend to be vaccinated. According to Dr. Gupta that alone will prevent us as a nation from reaching the level of herd immunity needed to end the virus as a threat level sickness. So, yes, expect the worst.

    1. Vaccines are a routine part of life, so I hope they come to their senses! What people say and what people do are different sometimes, and perhaps they’ll be relieved if they have a chance to get vaccinated. That’s as optimistic as I can be!

      1. Oof, yes, we were just talking about this last night: what would/will change when we can finally get vaccinated (allegedly next month). I guess the biggest thing — the best one, too — would/will be meeting with other fully vaccinated people. Even indoors!? A big hurray to that! I really miss work-related travel to book fairs and conferences, though. I miss my colleagues. But adding in variants (still so uncertain) and, as Neil mentions, so many people not wanting to be vaccinated, I’m only feeling slightly/cautiously optimistic. Sort of like Mel Brooks, I guess.

        Since you mentioned The Twelve Chairs, Kat, if you haven’t already read it (and are interested), there’s the Ilf and Petrov novel, translated by my friend and colleague Anne Fisher: https://nupress.northwestern.edu/content/twelve-chairs I’m not a huge I&P fan myself but (as the blurb on the Northwestern page says), Annie knows her Ilf and Petrov! And she has a great sense of humor.

        1. Yes, we must be happy about the little things. It is bewildering that people don’t WANT to be vaccinated. I’m trying to ground myself into an earlier time (what time I’m not sure) when we simply stayed in a smaller place (a village, a town) and were content with going only short distances from home. And thank you for the link to the book!

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