a pandemic parable of polemics

I had an Opinion once.

It was so cute and cuddly and irresistible to start with, I couldn’t resist showing it off to others. I took it out regularly for walks; I fed it carefully, with only the safest, recommended food that I knew would agree with it. Oh, I was so delighted with my little Opinion.

It grew, and grew, and each time I trotted it out for air I was absurdly proud of how strong it had become. I laughed and bragged, as it started to drag me along behind it.
Look! It’s got some power, this one!
Such a little tiger; so much more appealing that everyone else’s Opinion! (poor, sad, excuses for companions that they seemed to me).

Alas, I failed to realize until it was too late – what I had taken for a harmless little Opinion was a much more dangerous creature – a Bias. And even worse, it appeared to somehow have been infected by a passing strain of sensationalism. A common ailment, easily caught, and with no cure apparently…one just has to learn to manage the condition.

Before long, the subtle changes in its once endearing nature became steadily more obvious. Taking it for a walk was now a much more dangerous task. Still, I persevered, confident I could keep it under my control and still manage to show it off to some advantage.
What? a Bias? Noooo, of course not! It’s just an excellently well-developed Opinion.
Yes, it is quite large for its age…
Yes, it is just a tad spirited…
Maybe you should just back off a bit, mate…now look what you’ve gone and done!

That was the first, but unfortunately not the last, savaging that I had to explain away.

Then came the unforgettable day when I discovered to my dismay that my ‘Opinion’ (as I continued to call it to myself in flagrant denial) was unmistakably breeding. At some point on our self-gratifying journeys I must have crossed paths with another Bias – likely also incognito as an Opinion.  Or, possibly, hidden under a slick Pop Culture surface, lurking behind the facade of a Fact Check…. such Prejudices are everywhere these days, it seems.

Well, not much I could do about it now; no putting that toothpaste back in the tube.

Before I knew, it I was up to my eyeballs in fluffy little half-breed fixations, each one somehow combining that initial persuasive charm with their own unique streak of conviction. Soon, it was all I could do to just keep them fed and watered, while still trying to corral my increasingly vicious mama Bias.

I don’t have much attention for anything else much these days, between feeding, grooming, walking (or should I say hurtling round the block at breakneck speed with each in turn), apologising for the repeated incidents, dealing with my own friendly fire injuries and the rest of it. I don’t even have much time to sleep any more.

For a few moments today, I escaped briefly to my front steps, licking my latest wounds, listening to the ruckus within, and wondering how it came to this.

I had an Opinion once…just a little one.
Or did I?
Does that mythical beast truly exist? Or are all those Opinions you see out and about actually monsters in conversational clothing?

It really makes me wonder.

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