Jim Thompson
Jim Thompson
By Jim Thompson
HCP columnist


I’ve seen it. I’ve experienced it. I’ve caused it. It is horrible.

It is the total breakdown in composure that happens when something or someone that a human placed their faith in or dreamt of disappoints, perhaps even dies.

I have no data, but my experience tells me there is a lot of abject sorrow going on around the world today. It is totally prejudice-free. Abject sorrow does not care about the color of your skin, your gender, your faith or your financial status.

When we are little, abject sorrow can be caused by little things. In my third-grade class, a girl who did not get chosen to sing in the spring cantata displayed abject sorrow. I saw a lot of abject sorrow in high school as going-steady couples decided to stop.

Today, let’s not focus on little kids or teenagers, even though we know their situations of sorrow still occur and still are painful. Instead, let’s focus on the adults whose restaurant is closed, the hairdresser shop whose owner had a dream, the small, used-car lot without customers. These entrepreneurs, the backbone of free enterprise, may be able to put on a brave face in public, but I can nearly guarantee you they are experiencing abject sorrow when they are out of sight. It’s the middle of the night (life always looks darkest at 3 a.m. – I know) or when they take a drive with their last tank of gas, wanting to get away from it all.

What caused this universal, worldwide suffering?

They tell us it was something we can’t see. But somehow, some way, that thing we can’t see came to life and escaped from the control of human beings who were, at a minimum, derelict in their duty.

All we know is that it has triggered a response that has devastated the financial world on which we depend, the financial world that restaurant owner, hairdresser and used-car lot needed in order to survive and thrive.

We don’t even know if we are in a medical emergency, a financial emergency or a contrived emergency promulgated by forces wishing evil on others. All we know is we are all harmed, whether physically ill or not.

Shame on all the political leaders of the world who were caught as surprised as the rest of us. Shame on the papers and news programs who are selling panic headlines for profit or other reasons.

We’ve been harmed, and the harming is not over. No one can tell us when the damage will end, for like the virus, the panic has taken on a life of its own.

Several things have been harmed that may turn out to be of benefit to the majority. Globalism and all the insane policies that allowed people to tromp all over the world without proper credentials and authority just may die in this melee.

Politicians may, before this is over, be held accountable for what they have caused, by acts of omission and acts of commission, not just in recent times, but going back a very long way, over 100 years or more. I hope so.

Some will be motivated to take the actions to make this a better world. Others will be motivated to find a place to hide.

But despite all the speculations I have expressed here, there will still be those experiencing abject sorrow. You can count on it. They are your neighbors, your families, the other humans around you, young and old.

So, when you are walking down the street, holding a $10 bill in your pocket between your fingers and your belly is even partially full, freely give it to that person walking toward you with a look of abject sorrow on their face. You may be told you cannot touch or hug them, but I’ll bet they will be willing to take it from your outstretched hand, with gratitude.

From experience, I can tell you I have done this throughout my life, even when I did not know from whence came my next meal. Be generous, not miserly.

My advice here applies to all and it is without prejudice, just like abject sorrow. Yet, one last word is needed. For those of you trying to profit from today’s situation through chicanery, deceit and greed, you would be wise to drop your nefarious plans before someone helps you straighten up and fly right.

Jim Thompson, formerly of Marshall, is a graduate of Hillsboro High School and the University of Cincinnati. He resides in Duluth, Ga. and is a columnist for The Highland County Press. He may be reached at jthompson@taii.com.