Opinion

Life isn’t always as good as it should be, but it’s never as bad as it could be

By Liam Nash

LIAM NASH IS STAYING AHEAD OF THE CURVE

It could be worse.

If I was ever to have words of wisdom tattooed on the inside of my eyelids, these would be it.

Passed down the line from older family members, saying the phrase has been a great grounding technique for when unfavourable circumstances force their way into life.

For example, my old flatmates had me pinned as a pretty laid-back guy within a week of moving in, due to an incident you’d label as ‘one I’ll laugh about one day'.

It was tax season, and being 19 I had already spent the money in my head before the return hit my account after leaving work one day.

Daydreaming at a stop light, my foot slipped on the accelerator of my Honda Civic and lo and behold, the sparkling Porsche SUV ahead had a hefty new dent on its carbon-plated bumper.

There went the refund, and some. When my flatties questioned me as to why I managed to dismiss the situation with a smile, I remember thinking ‘it could be worse, Lamborghinis are a fair bit pricier than Porsches to fix'.

So whatever sling or arrow has flown in my direction during life, muttering the mantra has carried me through the past 22 years — and you can bet I’ve been busy reciting it recently.

With the latest spike in the tale of COVID-19 forcing us to whittle down our dinner party guest list to five, patience among us has been wearing and stretching.

No sooner had the dangling carrot of normalcy been waved in front of our eyes before it was snatched away, calling for at least another month of takeaway coffees and serial sanitising.

It’s easy to kick up a fuss, and even easier to shake a fist at the Melburnians and slate them for their carelessness — after all, us country folk have been doing our part, and it is we who pay the price for their mistakes.

This petty mindset is one I succumb to often, as I’m sure most of you all do too, but all it takes is a few taps on the keyboard to subside the boiling sensation of disdain.

See, our current climate is a game of numbers, and we have to keep reassuring ourselves we are the lucky ones.

At the time of writing this column, Australia has 7686 confirmed cases of COVID-19 — Victoria contributes to a little under 2000 of these.

If you’re turning away in horror at the numbers thinking ‘doomed’, you are probably an extreme pessimist. Or a Kiwi.

Sure, New Zealand’s 1526 case count does pale in comparison to ours. But if the shadow we cast encompasses our trans-Tasman rivals, we are completely veiled by some of the world’s worst affected corners.

Brazil recorded more than 30 000 new cases in 24 hours on Monday. Thirty thousand. A shuddering thought.

What is worse though, is the tally is likely higher, with Latin America’s recording methods regarded as not being particularly reliable.

International news websites are plastered with aerial images of week-old cemeteries without a single square metre spare — grave diggers are an essential service in South America.

But Brazil isn’t the worst, not by a long shot.

My older brother managed to vacate his residence in Brooklyn, New York, at the last minute before the excrement really began to hit the fan.

As one of the New York boroughs which felt the full force of the virus, he relayed to me his relief of being able to rescue his family from the ensuing horror story of the United States. He also had a few words to say about Donald Trump.

But hearing of the refrigerated trucks lining up at Brooklyn Hospital Center to house the excess corpses was enough to keep those four words rushing back — it could be worse.

We have to brace for another state of lockdown, whether we like it or not.

A second wave could be imminent, and although it is not ideal, if anything we should be prepared this time around.

Though it’s murky whether we’ll still be able to hit the links for a round of golf, head to a performance or even attend open homes over the next month, I don’t think we should lose sleep over it.

Re-downloading Zoom and busting out the board games is all a part of the process.

But panic-buying toilet paper is certainly not.

I AM LISTENING TO...

Otis Redding.

I’ve consumed African American culture for as long as I can remember, and lately there has never been a better time to celebrate their awesome works.

Someone once said, when you take the gospel out of gospel music, you're left with soul — for me that’s Otis.

He didn’t have Sam Cooke’s smooth croon, nor Little Richard’s vibrant shout, but what he could do was howl like no other.

His gritty vocals somehow prevail atop raucous horns, and still soothe when the tempo is toned right down.

Otis died tragically at the age of 26 — the definition of a life taken too soon.

I AM GETTING SICK OF...

Television. Way back when, you could get away with parking yourself on the couch without having to channel surf for an eternity.

Good luck with that nowadays — my right thumb wants to take a leave of absence every time the telly is turned on.

The lack of substantial content is actually laughable, and since I’m not one for cooking show drama or hard bodies running amok on an island, I’m badly out of luck.

It’s almost as if all the good shows were stored in the hulking convex back of older generation TVs, and have slowly disappeared over the years as the design has slimmed.

Thank goodness for Netflix.

I AM EXPERIMENTING WITH...

Yoga. Just kidding. However, I did purchase a $40 mat (go on, rub your eyes again).

Curiosity got the better of me after my brother’s girlfriend put me through my paces, but I can’t say Shiva, the Hindu deity, would approve of my woeful Warrior II pose.

A partial hamstring tear has since put me off the spiritual practice, although the heartstrings were equally as wounded upon realising I wouldn’t become the next millionaire yoga mogul like Bikram Choudhury.

I’ll have to find enlightenment some other way.

I AM WATCHING...

Jeffrey Epstein: Filthy Rich. They certainly got the order right. What an eerie insight to the corruption of the US ‘justice’ system.

I sat through the four-part series wanting to scream the entire time after seeing countless cover-ups and blind eyes turned from the depravity, for decades no less.

Not years, decades. In what was labelled a ‘paedophile pyramid scheme’, harrowing is the only label I could slap on the series — seeing the brave victims’ testimonies was hard enough to watch, I can’t even begin to imagine the levels of fear he imposed on them.

What’s more, Epstein’s circle of famous friends had to have known what he was up to. What a world we live in, huh.