When the barley dries my dear
The sun will wake the dead
And no man's field will want for grain
When the barley dries
You people have no idea how good you have it. I wish we had your bat virus in the 1350s. Back then, I was a construction worker in Kaffa. Life had its pleasures. I got to eat noodles and occasionally soup. Sometimes I would picnic at the Black Sea. There were feasts. And who doesn't love a good joust? I had dreams of becoming the first in my family to live 30 years. Only 6 of my 11 kids had died from yellow fever. My hunchback was unsightly, but relatively painless. That was "privilege" in my day.
Then came the Golden Horde. You guys think Trump is a bad guy. He's Bono compared to Khan Dazhanibek. It wasn't enough to try to starve us. We expected that kind of thing from time to time. This prick had the nerve to catapult dead bodies into our city. Bodies infected with plague. "Black death" they called it. More like "black and purple death," because that's the color of the boils all over those corpses. Rotted skin smells as bad as it sounds, in case you were wondering.
Then the disease set in. Everyone just tried to get out of there. But the Golden Horde was waiting, slaughtering the half of us fortunate enough to escape the ravages of plague. Life didn't really have a point to begin with, but even the mirage of hope was buried in those mud fields, rotting with the horses. I'd rather die a free man in Kaffa than live as a slave in Samarkand.
So I've been there. I've lived it, so to speak. Now all I see is snarky tweets about how the coronavirus is going to change America forever. You miss your yoga and sushi night with the girls. Your roommate whistles too much. You wish Trump would listen to Anthony Fauci. Take it from a plague survivor: You have no idea how lucky you are.
You guys have Uber Eats, Doordash, supermarkets, and Amazon Prime. You know what we had? Famine. You guys have Netflix, Cable, Hulu, and PornHub. We didn't even have books because the printing press wasn't invented yet. Do you know how many songs about barley I know? No, seriously. I want you to guess. How many do you think? Have you guessed? Good. Now double it, then double it again.
In my "free" time, when I'm not burying my children or hauling stone up the dirt mound on the edge of town, I like to whittle things out of wood with a knife that's also made of wood. What I wouldn't give for a good rom-com or first-person shooter.
You don't understand why it's taking so long to find a vaccine and a cure? There might be really bad side effects from this malaria drug? You can't find masks?
First of all, I would have killed for a malaria drug. When the Mongols started conquering Crimea, the disease wiped entire villages off the map. Second, I'd have killed to see a medical doctor. When I got the boils, I went to my barber—who is also my dentist, my blacksmith, and my priest. If I was a big shot like Prince Ivan of Muscovy, my barber would make a serum out of swan beaks and snake scales, and drizzle it over my rotting skin.
In other words, I'd be dead. But at least I wouldn't be a coddled little bitch.