Don’t look now but we just beat the Raiders.
No, not those Raiders. Even for the wandering brethren of Oakland-Los Angeles-Oakland-Las Vegas, it would take some doing to lose a football game one month before the NFL preseason even started. (Of course, it may also take some doing for the Broncos to win a game after it starts, but let’s allow ourselves to dream, OK?)
No, I’m talking about the Raiders from everyone’s favorite 40-year-old action film, Raiders of the Lost Ark, the breathless adventure where Indiana Jones recreates the thrills, spills and chills of the 1930s serial cliffhanger movies … and, famously, doesn’t accomplish a whole lot else.
The argument’s been made across the internet (not to mention one episode of The Big Bang Theory), so I’ll be brief. By the end of the movie, the Nazis have been destroyed by their own arrogance. Their plan went on pretty much the way it would have without Dr. Jones – in fact, he may have sped it up slightly by showing them the Ark’s true resting place – but it just happened to be a bad plan that was always going to kill them.
For Indy, the adventure’s main significance is in the changes it made in him personally. And since he’s an ‘80s action-movie star, even those aren’t guaranteed to be carried over to the next film. He did a lot of running. A lot of fighting. And it didn’t make much difference.
That’s where we’ve got the edge.
We know we’ve made a difference. And that we can continue to.
Colorado recently ended its official state of emergency, a crisis condition that’s extended over 16 months, a lot of executive orders, and more than a few fogged-up glasses from habitual face-masking. Worldwide, the pandemic isn’t over by a long shot and even in this country, there’s still a lot of concern about what the delta variant of COVID-19 may mean for the immediate future. But at this time, and in this place, we’ve done a lot.
We went from one of the worst coronavirus fatality rates west of the Mississippi to one of the 10 best states in the nation.
We’ve gotten an awful lot of us vaccinated – at the time I write this, more than 70 percent of our adults have had at least one shot and nearly 64 percent have been fully immunized.
Most of all, we’ve been finding ways to help our neighbor and try to keep life going even when it’s been at its weirdest.
We’re living life differently these days – new habits, new priorities, maybe even new perspectives shaped by what we’ve gone through. And unlike a Hollywood film, normal isn’t a matter of rebuilding the sets and restoring the status quo. Some of what we’ve learned will stay with us. It might be big changes in how and where we work or small pastimes that we got hooked on while living apart, but it’ll be there.
Hopefully, that means we’ve grown as well.
I don’t want to be too dramatic. Plenty of pre-pandemic stuff has survived as well (including, to my own surprise, the handshake). The world’s not completely unrecognizable, like some sort of Rip Van Winkle tale. But we have an opportunity to carry lessons forward. We’ve seen the impact our actions can have on others and we have a chance to learn from that.
Let’s face it: this movie doesn’t need a sequel.
After all, why settle for keeping up with the Joneses?