“Man avoid man? and in danger‐time, too.”
This Herman Melville story, “The Lightning Rod Man” predicted many of the 2020 Covid-19 overreactions.
“’For Heaven’s sake,’ he cried, with a strange mixture of alarm and intimidation—’for Heaven’s sake, get off the hearth! Know you not, that the heated air and soot are conductors;—to say nothing of those immense iron fire‐dogs? Quit the spot—I conjure—I command you.’
“’Mr. Jupiter Tonans, I am not accustomed to be commanded in my own house.’ …
“[T]he Lightning‐rod man still dwells in the land; still travels in storm‐time, and drives a brave trade with the fears of man.”