We’ve gone through the craziest two years I’ve ever seen.

In no particular order, we’ve suffered from lockdowns and masks thanks to a virus and an overbearing government. The last presidential election brought chaos and accusations of fraud. We’ve had riots in cities, urban crime has skyrocketed, there were attempts to “defund the police,” and in some places Christmas shopping now means dozens of people racing into retail stores and helping themselves to the goods on the shelves. Critical Race Theory appears alive and well, labeling whites as evil and America as the most bigoted nation in the world. We suffered a disastrous debacle in Afghanistan. A few million illegal aliens have crossed our southern border. Inflation is eating into wages, and the Green New Deal seems almost superfluous now with the price of gas at the pump curtailing travel by car.           

This tidal wave of chaos and mayhem has driven some of us round the bend as well. Drug overdoses are way up. Many Americans claim they are depressed—and with good reason. The fearmongering, especially about the WuFlu, continues unabated, and some of our politicians and pundits banging that drum seem themselves to have gone uit-fray opps-lay.

Given that many of my fellow citizens may be poco loco in the coco nowadays, in part because they are misinformed about current events, I decided to devise a simple test to identify those who still live in fear or who take their news solely from corporate mainstream media.

Here is one way to judge whether your dinner companions have retained all their marbles. Germany sanctions euthanasia, legally allowing those who wish to depart the planet to do so. Recently, the German Euthanasia Organization, which assists those wishing to die, announced it would only offer its services to those who have received the needle and are fully vaccinated against the virus.

Mention this story during the dinner conversation. Those left aghast by this foolishness and especially those who burst out laughing are in their right minds. Pity that person who says, “Well, that makes sense to me.”

Here’s a joke that may also delineate certain differences. “How can Dr. Fauci save lives?” “By quitting his job.” Again, those who smile are on board ship. Those who purse their lips and shake their heads are flailing away in a river of fear.           

And if you want to test the media literacy of your companions, ask one of these questions or make one of these statements in their hearing:           

What race were Kyle Rittenhouse’s assailants? (Someone who doesn’t know the name Kyle Rittenhouse may be admired for shying away from current events altogether or regarded as a dunderhead. Your choice.)           

Casually wonder aloud why the state of Florida, which has been back to business as usual for months now, has one of the lowest COVID case rates in the country.           

Bring up climate change, again casually, and with a Gallic shrug ask how the United States can fight climate change when China is the world’s biggest polluter and is busy building more coal-burning power plants.           

More bluntly, you might ask why it is that in the land of the free our federal government continues to imprison scores of trespassers arrested last Jan. 6 during the “Insurrection.”           

Once you have identified these people, especially those driven half-mad by fear of the WuFlu, resist the temptation to regard them with contempt. Compassion is the better option. That masked young person you see walking alone along a deserted sidewalk on a chilly morning in a brisk wind is a victim of fear created by our media and our public officials. That niece who at Thanksgiving declared “whiteness” anathema deserves not scorn but pity for her ignorance and indoctrination.           

Fear and madness abound these days. But here’s the good news: the rest of us don’t have to participate.           

Stay sane, everyone!