The Plural of Anecdote is Data

It’s said that the plural of “anecdote” is “data,” so here’s some data in anecdote-sized packages.

My family has so far been spared any cases of Covid-19, thank Goodness.

However, a friend of mine got it and is now recovering after a long week. He says it was brutal. One day he’d feel better, and the next day he’d feel sick again. At least now, he’s definitely on the mend.

Here in the Midwestern United States, we have fewer cases than in the coastal hot zones. By the time it started to spread here, we’d already had ample warning and were starting to play it safe. Even so, we’re getting our share. Like both my parents, two of my brothers are MDs so they’re good sources of advice and information.

Medical professionals deal with illness and death more than most of us do, and they’re not inhuman robots. They have feelings. They need to distance themselves emotionally or it would tear them apart. My father referred to infectious diseases as “the Dread Mahoot.” He also had a sunny disposition that probably helped. My biological mother’s disposition was all over the place, but she was a psychiatrist and seldom treated physical maladies.

I recall that when I was three or four years old, my parents wanted to vaccinate me against the usual things. I didn’t like getting shots, so I hid under their bed. I was small enough to fit underneath it, but they weren’t, so they had to talk me out. These days, if there were a Covid-19 vaccine, I’d eagerly sign up for it.

I got one of my Ph.D.s in Los Angeles and had a postdoctoral fellowship up in Santa Barbara, so I checked to see how my old haunts were faring. Westwood and Studio City have 26 and 19 cases; Culver City has 17. Farther out, Calabasas has 13. Goleta and Isla Vista (UC Santa Barbara) together have four cases. But California is locked down tight, so the rate of new cases should drop.

We’ll all get through this. Then we can get back to screaming at each other about trivial bullsh-t that no sane person would take seriously. Or maybe we’ll recover our senses. It could happen.


Check out my book Why Sane People Believe Crazy Things: How Belief Can Help or Hurt Social Peace. Kirkus Reviews called it an “impressively nuanced analysis.”

About N.S. Palmer

N.S. Palmer is an American mathematician.
This entry was posted in Human Relations, Judaism, Psychology and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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