Pandemic Journal Entry 17: I’m ready to return to simpler times when we could all focus on just punching Nazis

The allure of looking to the past can be irresistible, but there’s danger in nurturing the belief that we can return to simpler times when we should be flexible and willing to embrace the “new normal.” Nonetheless, I struggle with changing social mores and practices, and nowhere is this more real than during my weekly trip to the grocery store.

As I travel the one-way aisles, cloaked in anonymity behind my mask, I survey the people I encounter and wish for a simpler time. A time when I only wanted to punch Nazis.

We literally fought a war to defeat Naziism, and those who flaunt the symbols and language of Nazi-era Germany are asking to be punched. If you asked me a few months ago who I would be willing to punch, “a Nazi” was my clear, unambiguous answer.

But now. Now. There’s the guy in the pasta aisle whose freedom is a product of the greatest generation’s sacrifices. He interprets that freedom as the ability to ignore social distancing conventions and assert his aggressive unwillingness to wear a mask.

I want to punch him. Hard.

Just like I want to punch the hipster who lowers his mask to cough as he passes me in dairy.

And the family of four who dominate the chips aisle and touch everything on the shelves before deciding to buy none of it. Yes, I’ll punch a kid, too.

The loud woman who invades my personal space and barks at the cashier, “Did you find my phone?” Bam. Right in the mouth. But only after warning the cashier that she might want to look away.

MAGA hat/no-mask guy who has hovered over the butcher counter for 30 minutes? Not shopping but just making some kind of statement? Pow. Probably twice.

My grocery store has become a target rich environment and the thought of punching so many people in such a short period of time makes me wonder if I’d have the stamina to punch a Nazi, if one appeared in front of me.

I don’t fear the future, but I admit I long for the past. A simpler time when the only people I wanted to punch were Nazis. Is that wrong of me?