Football season is in full swing and if your favorite team is going to win its next big game, it’s going to need plenty of solid blocks and some bone-crushing tackles. Without one or the other, let alone both, you’re not likely to make it into the post-season.
And in case you should need to lift a heavy load one of these days, another kind of block and tackle is likely to be your best friend. The mechanics are relatively simple: a block and tackle amplifies the tension force in a rope, enabling it to lift a load far above and beyond its normal capacity. Now I don’t know about you, but my own “normal capacity” has been getting more and more dubious lately, so any help I can get will be readily accepted!
Think about it: we’re into Year Three of the pandemic. Winter went from sixty to twenty-five as though it had just seen a hidden state trooper with a radar gun. The political divide is wider than Grand Canyon, there is rampant racial and gender inequity, the planet is sweating (the recent snowfall notwithstanding), and after ninety-nine years as the life of the party, Betty White finally went home. So there’s a lot of heavy lifting to do in the new year. We’re going to need a big block and tackle.
Teachers are going to need a block and tackle. Our children are falling behind in school. Our schools don’t know if they’ll be open from one day to the next. Administrators are stressed; teachers are stressed; parents are stressed; students are stressed. Teen suicide is on an alarming rise, particularly among girls. That all amounts to a decidedly unproductive learning environment, one that will require lots of heavy lifting by all of us, not just today, but for years to come.
First responders are going to need lots of blocks and tackles. Doctors, nurses, ER personnel; paramedics and essential workers; police and firefighters: a block and tackle for each, please. And while it may be true that the Omicron variant is less virulent than its Delta predecessor, the unvaccinated are paying an overly high price for their indifference or skepticism, as are those who care for them. If you’ve not already done so, please get vaccinated.
Politicians need to learn how to use a block and tackle. We need leadership, not partisanship. If our great experiment in democracy is going to survive, let alone thrive, then people at the federal, state, and local levels will have to start pulling on the tackles of government together, always in the direction of the common good.
Small business owners, particularly those who make their living in the hospitality industry, have huge loads to lift. Staffing problems, supply chain chaos, inflation—all parts of the enormous challenges these good folk face every day. I’d provide each with a block and tackle if I could.
Veterans are suffering; they need their own particular blocks and tackles. PTSD, traumatic injury, civilian reentry: more heavy loads to lift for those who have served and, for that matter, for those who continue to serve. Thank you!
I’m sure the list could go on. Just remember the physics of a block and tackle: it amplifies the tension force in a rope, enabling it to lift a load above and beyond its “normal capacity.” Clearly, we’re living through times that are anything but normal, and so the ropes we will need to pull us through this thick muck must have an higher-than-normal tension force or they will fray and break. We also need to do a better job of pulling together: one, two, three—heave! A one-handed pull here or a small tug there won’t get the job done. A block and tackle is a mechanical team effort, as is the effort required from those supplying the energy to operate it.
Happy New Year! I hope we can all pull together and make it into the post-season. And rest in peace, Betty.
I’ll be right back.
Jamie Kirkpatrick is a writer and photographer who lives in Chestertown. His work has appeared in the Washington Post, the Baltimore Sun, the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the Washington College Alumni Magazine, and American Cowboy Magazine. Two collections of his essays (“Musing Right Along” and “I’ll Be Right Back”) are available on Amazon. Jamie’s website is www.musingjamie.com