Good Men and Rules

Good men don’t need rules. Today is not the day to find out why I have so many.

The Doctor (Matt Smith), Doctor Who S06E07, “A Good Man Goes to War”

Dearest Rachel –

In the days when your beloved Doctor was “all teeth and curls,” as a previous incarnation snidely put it, he would waltz through this or that difficulty in any given situation or society he landed in without a care in the world, and certainly without any regard to the society’s propriety (save, perhaps, to those strictures about romance and any behaviors attendant thereupon – people would die in just about every episode, but there would be no hugging or kissing, you can be sure of that!). It was a brilliant, reckless life for this alien creature who clearly considered himself ‘good’; and what viewer would argue with him, after setting the cosmos to rights time and again? Only, there always seemed to be a fine line between that recklessness and out-and-out folly.

My dear, I don’t think he’s as stupid as he seems.
My dear, nobody could be as stupid as he seems.

Countess and Count Scarlioni discuss the Fourth Doctor, “City of Death”, first aired 29 September 1979

And yet – since his life always followed the script – and he was the protagonist, in fact, the title character, he always came out ahead in the end, despite his seeming foolhardiness. He may have carried himself with a certain arrogant swagger in this and most of his other incarnations, but there was a good reason for it. His track record was just that good, as was he, that he simply didn’t need to apologize for it.

Of course, when the show was revived, complete with the backstory of an all-out war to explain the lapse from the Eighth to the Ninth Doctors, so much of that self-righteousness had been knocked out of his. Oh, he still went about his way as though he owned whatever place he was in – if nothing else, acting that way just tended to be the way to get results, wherever he went – but now, having done so many terrible things “without choice… in the name of peace and sanity,” he was grimmer, darker… and observed certain, perhaps unwritten rules.

Likewise, Daniel considers himself a good man, I suppose. I suspect it’s why he feels he has no need of the rules that are enforced admittedly less and less stringently as time goes by, since he considers them to be little more that a form of security theatre. So he shrugs them off as blithely as the Doctor does with those of wherever the TARDIS has made planetfall upon.

But at least the Doctor has the excuse of being an alien just about anywhere he goes; while Daniel may sometimes look or act in an eccentric manner, he’s not about to get such a pass. Besides, he doesn’t have the Doctor’s ability to bluster his way through every situation.

Here on the home front, though, he seems to have been vindicated thus far; as much as he generally prefers to stay at home, he has actually gone out on his own during the past week, and encountered little to no resistance to his own form of resistance. According to him, no one has called him out on his maskless behavior. “Things are changing,” he insists, and while I admit – from accompanying his to this restaurant and that store – that he’s gotten away with it thus far, his determination to never surrender will lead to doors closing on him at some point or another soon enough.

Like yesterday afternoon. Junior is making the attempt to lead another tour group to Israel in 2022, probably between February and March, and I fully intend to go.

Jordan and Junior taking questions on the plans as thus far drafted

But I’d like to take Daniel with me, as he hasn’t been over there, and I do think he would benefit from the experience. But if the U.S. has experienced ‘tyranny’ in the form of mask and vaccination mandates, Israel is so much more strict – and worse yet, it hasn’t seemed to actually prevent Covid from getting a foothold and spreading from time to time. It would seem that, regardless of any mitigation efforts, ‘the virus is gonna virus,’ but as with virtually every civilized country (look, there’s just no biblical history to be found in Sweden, as much as that would be a literal breath of fresh air), that only causes the folks in charge to double down on their efforts.

At present, those of us who’ve had the first two shots will still need to get a booster within six months of departure for Israel (which means I could go and get mine right away and qualify, since the trip is scheduled within less time than that). However, this rule is not for the good and pure Daniel, who insists that everything will change before the year is out. Bureaucracies will either acknowledge everything as the farce it truly is, or simply be dissolved, he tells me, and until such time as that happens, he will not ‘bow the knee.’

I honestly don’t know where he gets these ideas. I see this – especially since he’s expecting it to happen in so short a span of time – like expecting a cruise ship to do an instant 180° flip. Governments and bureaucracies just don’t work like that. It’s the sort of thing that had you and Daniel teasing me as ‘the pessimist’ of the family last Christmas – and I had to explain myself to Dad for that, too. Yes, I get that God is literally capable of doing anything, and to say He can’t – or won’t – do something or other in nothing more than an indication of just how little faith I have in Him. But this doesn’t seem like His usual M.O., like the old joke about the man in the flood who refuses the boats and a helicopter because “God will rescue me,” only to have God point out to him after he drowns that “I sent you those boats and a helicopter, what more do you want from Me?” I get that mandates chafe and all, but these vaccines are hardly the devil’s work.

Still, for now, I’m willing to put deposits down (which are non-refundable, I might add) on the off chance that Daniel will – by some miracle – be proven right. Heck, it’s less than the rental on a dumpster by far. And regardless of whether he’ll be allowed, I’m certainly going – maybe I can transfer that deposit to someone else who needs a little help getting there. I know you’d approve of that, regardless of how you might feel about either of our positions on this matter. And who knows? Maybe by 2024, things will have calmed down, and we can try again.

Until we get more concrete answers, wish us luck, honey. It seems that, as always, we’re going to need it.

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I am Rachel's husband. Was. I'm still trying to deal with it. I probably always will be.

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