I see you in the comments of the grimmest NPR article to date, which raises my balding hackles as I never invited that drivel into my feed, I swear. Another string of text to eulogize an aunt, friend, grandfather, co-worker, stricken down, as you claim, by COVID-19. As you struggle to condense a life into words on a screen, I know that it is my time to shine.

“I’m sorry for your loss,” I type with gentle, compassionate strokes, as I am no unfeeling monster, “But did your loved one have any pre-existing conditions?”

Because, you see, as soon as you reveal the asthma that your friend has easily managed with an inhaler, the pregnancy your sister waited years for, or the memory loss that bought your aging great uncle his ticket into a care facility, I have you and your credibility in my health-insured clutches.

Like a lazily written mystery novel picked haphazardly from the now-closed library shelves, I can tell you that COVID is the latest festering red herring, distracting us from the real killers — the ailments your loved ones have already been managing. How could you blame COVID for someone’s death when they already had diabetes waiting to take them down at any moment? I have read some really convincing articles about the importance of the pancreas. And do you really want to try to put another label on the time-honored “died of old age?”

You see, I am not willing to live in fear, as that counts as a pre-existing condition for my medical plan.

Your loved one would have died from something anyway, and I am here to defend the honor of this asinine coronavirus. It is not here to kill the innocents, those who care for themselves enough to avoid those genetic rolls of the dice that have condemned your dearest to early graves with delayed funerals. We should all know well the risks of gambling, anyway.

And, yes, some in your position have tried to tell me that their dearly departed had been clean eating, marathon running, mindfulness meditating 25-year-olds who had never so much as smelled second-hand smoke. But have you studied their medical records for answers to the questions that you are currently shouting into the answerless void?

Stranger, when I educate you on your loved one’s real cause of death, I can continue avoiding my responsibility toward other people. “Live and let live,” I say in my arguments against measures protecting others from me, holding my mask-free head high. You should really calm down over all of this COVID-19 nonsense anyway. I read that stress can really impact your immune function. I only tell you this because I care.