Tom Cruise, I wish I could be like you

Paolo Kernahan -
Paolo Kernahan -

I RECENTLY rewatched Tom Cruise in Live. Die. Repeat. Edge of Tomorrow. It's a delightfully stupid sci-fi romp that asks you to suspend your disbelief, forgive an obscene number of plot holes, and strap in for a mind-dumbing ride. 

At any rate, if you were prepared to believe Tom Cruise as not just a samurai, but the very last one, then accepting him as a warrior taking on time-warping alien invaders isn't much of a stretch. Live. Die. Repeat is precisely the sort of big-screen spectacle for which Cruise is famous. What he'll likely be remembered for is an unrestrained rant against members of a film crew for lapses in covid19 safety protocols. 

The movie star went supernova on two crew members for standing too close together on the studio lot. There was a lot of effin' and jeffin' from a man who sounded more high-strung than a catgut banjo. This is a family column, so it's inappropriate to repeat the invective unloaded on those @#$%^&$(*&^!.

The audio of the film star in berzerker mode was, quite naturally, leaked. If it was hoped the recording would activate the Cancel Culture Tribunal, his rant seems not to have had that effect. In fact, a few notable celebrities came to his defence. 

You see, while his tirade was certainly over the top, and seemingly interminable, Cruise nailed everything that's at stake. Covid19 has crippled the entertainment industry and economies everywhere. He isn't missing any mortgage payments, but the cinema industry employs tens of thousands whose livelihoods are either in limbo or have been destroyed by the pandemic. 

You think this man joking? He wears two masks even as many Americans refuse to wear one. Keeping a film production going under covid19 restrictions is extraordinarily difficult. Wrangling with film insurers, enforcing on-site testing and rigid safety protocols for hundreds of people – these are weighty concerns. If there is an infection in the ranks, chances are the production gets shut down and the money clock starts ticking. 

Covid19 doesn't just kill – it's destroying the means by which we are able to live. Understanding what he's up against, Tom Cruise spent US$500,000 of his own money to rent two cruise ships in Norway to house crew safely. So those two numpties standing shoulder to shoulder were cruisin' for a bruisin'. 

Vaccines are (painfully) slowly making their way into some populations. Still, the grip of covid19 on the planet is only tightening. In the US, after millions selfishly ignored CDC recommendations to skip Thanksgiving travel, there is now a surge directly linked to that holiday. Americans are facing terrifying statistics of 200,000 new cases and 3,000 deaths per day. It's likely to worsen as Christmas travel across the US will peak soon enough. The virus will catch those it missed during Thanksgiving. 

Here at home, where testing is a bad joke, we need a Tom Cruise on every corner, in each shop, and outside every bar. When the health minister warns we can't shut down the country again he isn't lying. There won't be any money for covid19 salary relief grants or rent assistance. Indeed, there are a great many people who insist they have yet to get grant funding which the Finance Minister says has already been spent or at least allocated. Additionally, it's no secret our health sector can't even grapple with everyday chronic disease far less a rampaging virus that resists treatment.  

Even with all this, many Trinis adhere to safety protocols out of fear of the police more than the disease. Consequently, people are flexible with social distancing and mask-wearing. Crowds of chin-strapped drinkers are slowly building up outside of bars again. 

Not long ago I visited a grocery where I noticed staff stepping directly out of public transportation and walking straight into that grocery without sanitising. Aisles are congested with shelf packers at 10 am; whole families trawl the shelves for goods. People are chatting gaily at the doubles box without masks. 

It seems lost on many that all it takes is one lapse in judgment, one slip-up, and that gives the virus an opening. One infection becomes another when that person takes the prize of stubbornness home to relatives, who in turn take it to work and gift it to their colleagues and so on.

So Tom, boy – cuss dem yes. I wish I could do the same here – but that is no Live. Die. Repeat – Edge of Tomorrow Hollywood ending. That is Wah? Chap. Dead – Edge of my Cutlash.


"Tom Cruise, I wish I could be like you"

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