A Quarantine Fable… Or “How did we get here… again?”

One day, in a beautiful little community, a neighbor named Bob elected to paint his house with polka dots because he saw it on a tv show, and thought it would make for even greater curb appeal. It looked really cool on TV, but when he finished the job it didn’t look so great. He thought to himself “Maybe it needs some time to get used to…” and he left them on the house. His family wasn’t so sure about them either, but they went along with his idea.

As days turned into weeks, and then into months, it became very apparent that the dots weren’t working. They were horrible. The neighborhood started to complain and the exterior design of the house became an eye sore. The family was embarrassed at first, however as the anger up and down the street grew, so did their defiance. They just couldn’t admit to themselves that they had all made a huge mistake. The paint was expensive, the process arduous, and to change it back now would be an admission of their complete lack of good taste. They began to tell others that they would keep the dots, and in fact, they actually loved the dots and planned to add more in the near future. Before long, they actually found themselves liking the dots, since they had put so much time and energy in defending them, and they saw the dots as a statement of their individuality.

This angered the neighborhood even further, and one day someone threw an egg at the front door in protest. The egg splattered and quickly spoiled in the summer heat, making a huge stink. Sally, the neighbor next door, hated the dots as well, but she didn’t like the idea of someone throwing an egg at the house and making such a mess. As a form of support, she began to tell others she liked the dots also, and she wanted them to stay. At first, Sally thought this would help stop the constant bickering in what used to be such a peaceful neighborhood, but it only made it worse. Shortly after, someone threw an egg at Sally’s front door and this bothered her tremendously. She decided she would paint her house with dots as well… after all, they were throwing eggs at it anyway, and it was a painted lovely shade of pink without any dots. Sally thought to herself, “I’ll show them!”

So Sally painted her house with dots, and her friends began defending her, and soon the entire neighborhood started taking sides. Like a contagious disease, dots were going up on houses everywhere, and neighbors were fighting against neighbors daily. Dotted houses began to appear on every corner, and the neighborhood started to look pretty ugly… at least to half the neighborhood. The other half began to boast it never looked better! Someone with no dots suggested that a law should be made so that houses could only be painted approved designs, and that just made things even worse. The idea of someone telling someone else what they could or couldn’t paint on their home, didn’t go over well with homeowners with dots and even some with no dots… and so even more arguments began ensue.

One day, during the hottest of the summer months, a hurricane was forecast to hit the small town. The weather service warned everyone that this was one of the worse storms to ever hit the area, and they needed to prepare their homes, taking appropriate action such as placing shutters on the windows. At first everyone agreed and people actually stopped arguing for a while, and started shuttering their homes. Unfortunately Bob was taking way too long to put up his shutters, and when one of the neighbors brought this to his attention, he became very upset. Especially since the comment came from someone with no dots on his house.

Seeing this as yet another attempt to tell him and the others with dots what to do, Bob decided he wouldn’t put shutters on his house, and would ride out the storm as if it were just an afternoon shower. The surrounding neighbors got very upset, since if Bob’s house got destroyed, the resulting debris would affect those around him. When the complaints and concerns rolled in, Bob just stood his ground. Sally also decided once again to support Bob in protest. Clearly this was just another attempt by the neighbors with no dots to tell the ones with dots what to do… after all, they were obviously still so angry at the dots. So Sally refused the shutters, and eventually, all houses with dots had no shutters, even if they had already put them up when they had heard of the approaching storm.

Days later, the strong hurricane made landfall and hit the tiny divided community at nightfall. The high winds easily broke through Bob’s windows, shattering them into thousands of pieces, allowing them to barrel through his home. Bob and his family tried to hang onto anything they could, but it was no use. The winds were strong and they were blown out the beautiful bay window of their living room. Just moments later the structure succumbed to the high winds, and sadly the house was destroyed.

Meanwhile, Dave, who lived down street from Bob in a lovely 3 bedroom non-dotted house, was sheltered inside and listening to the eerie storm noises coming from the exterior of the home. His family was safe, having shuttered his windows and properly prepared for the hurricane which had finally arrived. Suddenly, Dave heard a loud crashing noise coming from the upstairs, and his family became very frightened. Unfortunately, Bob’s baby grand piano had flown into his roof, just one of many pieces of furniture and debris flying around since his house was destroyed. With a large hole now in Dave’s roof, the tremendous winds rushed inside and quickly destroyed his house within minutes, producing yet more debris. Little by little, dotted and non dotted houses were destroyed, as they didn’t stand a chance against the high winds and debris, which acted just like armed missles.

The next morning, the rising sun revealed the full damage of the hurricane which had passed during the night. House after house was destroyed, and corpses lay face down in muddy puddles. The tiny community was completely destroyed. There were no more houses and far less people, regardless of who had dots and who didn’t. Without any houses, the surviving residents had nothing to argue about and they began to wonder why they were arguing in the first place. After all, when push comes to shove, they were all just people… without their houses to display who had dots and who didn’t. Sadly, they gathered together and waited for the emergency response to arrive, which brought much needed supplies and water to the fractured town.

Sally was still alive, although, like the others, she had no home. She was very happy to see the assistance being provided, and the remaining members of the community all agreed that she should act as a liaison between emergency crews. She had lived in the neighborhood all her life and she knew everyone that lived there. Sally could tell rescuers where to look and how many people should be found in each house. The neighborhood placed their complete trust in her to make decisions in the best interest of the town… the thought of houses painted with dots or no dots, was the least thing on their minds. Later that evening, crews were dropping off a pallet of food rations for dinner, before moving forward to help other communities around the area. Sally met with the director of the rescue efforts and although exhausted, felt empowered and honored to represent her town. As Sally looked at the brightly collored orange uniform the man was wearing, he looked back at her and asked, “Beef or chicken?”

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