Back in 2016, when I got told to put my affairs in order (and promptly joined a clinical trial), I set up a folder on my phone to handle the flood of apps I needed to navigate my new normal. A hotel finder. Travel apps from Amtrak and a few airlines. Medication tracker, symptom tracker, notes app, documents scanner, fax program (!), two insurance portals, plus medical portals from four separate hospital systems and two states. There were more, but suffice to say, it was a lot.

And I sat there like an idiot looking at this folder with all this “new normal” in it, and wondered WTF I should name it. The obvious–“new normal”? “The cancer dance”? “Bulls***”? But I didn’t want any of that staring at me from the screen every time I woke my phone up.

Then I remembered one of my favorite old bada** animes, Read Or Die, nicknamed R.O.D. by its creators. I love that OVA, have watched it easily a dozen times, and just thinking of “The Paper” makes me smile. That character gives wallflowers like myself hope that somewhere inside us lies a raging bada** who can overcome the scariest obstacles just by reading.

But my life was going to take more than reading to fix. So I tweaked the name to match my grim new reality: E.O.D.

Evolve Or Die.

The world has spectacularly bungled our chance to put the COVID genie back in the bottle. We’re continuing to spectacularly bungle COVID now. By refusing to do what needs to be done in the short term, we’re sacrificing our future health and safety. 

We know that the global inequalities that gave rise to COVID will only continue to give rise to worse things in the future, too. As bad as COVID is–in which America has learned to tolerate a 9/11 every week–can you imagine a virus with a 50% lethality rate? They already exist. Like COVID, all they need is a vector.

The world has a choice. Evolve or die.

And thus far, we just aren’t evolving.


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