There was an important job to be done … 

You know where this is going, don’t you?

If you’ve ever worked in a corporate environment you’ve probably read the story of “Whose Job Is It, Anyway?” If your organization is anything like The Leader, in the last 15 years someone from your HR department has printed this out and taped it to the wall in the high traffic area (the kitchen, right?). You’ve read it a hundred times and you can probably recite it in your sleep.


This is a story about four people named Everybody, Somebody, Anybody and Nobody. There was an important job to be done and Everybody was sure that Somebody would do it.

Ringing a bell yet?

It continues, with its catchy language, down the list of characters who shrugged off responsibility and got angry with one other.

Anybody could have done it, but Nobody did it. Somebody got angry about that, because it was Everybody’s job. Everybody thought Anybody could do it, but Nobody realized that Everybody wouldn’t do it.

Remind you of anything?

This week Tennessee became the hotspot of the entire world for COVID cases per capita. And that’s not as great a claim to fame as being the home of country music icon Dolly Parton, but it’s true and it’s sad and infuriating that this is where we are.

On the day when we should have been celebrating the hope that the vaccine is bringing, Thursday Gov. Bill Lee spoke about the surge in cases and blamed Tennesseans who gathered together for Thanksgiving with their extended families. He said while the vaccine will help, there are things that it cannot do.

“One thing that this vaccine will not solve, one thing that this vaccine will not cure is selfishness or indifference to what’s happening to our neighbors around us,” he said. “This vaccine will not cure foolish decisions about how we gather, it will not cure an attitude of a refusal to wear a mask and it won’t cure the idea that I will take my chances and that that will not have an impact on someone else’s life.”

The comments on this story included lines like, “It’s nobody’s fault” and “it’s everybody’s fault …”

It ended up that Everybody blamed Somebody when Nobody did what Anybody could have.

We all have a part to play in slowing the spread, flattening the curve, eradicating the virus and whatever other catchphrase you want to use to describe what we’re trying to do. And that’s survive, with as few casualties as possible, for the record.

Other comments ask for good news related to COVID updates, but what positive spin do you have when you’re the hotspot of the world?

So, here’s some good news: We know how to mitigate the spread. We’ve talked about it ad nauseum since March, but this includes wearing masks, washing and sanitizing your hands, social distancing, staying home as much as possible, staying home if you’re ill, adhering to quarantine rules.

But the bad news always follows. Every day in the comments I read anecdotal evidence suggesting masks don’t work, that God has everyone’s days numbered and we should live our lives without fear, that people who wear masks and abide by the mandates are sheep (or sheeple, your choice), that the government shouldn’t limit our freedoms even in a public health crisis. I see photos of gatherings where people aren’t masked and, really and truly, just don’t care. Or they don’t think it’ll happen to them, and then it does.

And that is how we’ve arrived at the top of the charts.

We have a president who repeatedly made a mockery of the situation.

We have a governor who would not lead, because it was not popular, until it was too late. And then he blamed people for doing the things he never told them they shouldn’t do.

We have a general public mixed between doing the right thing, doing the right thing until they decide they really want to do something they really shouldn’t and doing the absolute wrong thing because they believe the misinformation they consume.

And everyone’s pointing fingers elsewhere, but we all play a part.

It ended up that Everybody blamed Somebody when Nobody did what Anybody could have.

It’s been 10 long months and, according to infectious disease expert Dr. Steve Threlkeld, we have at least another 6-8 coming. I’m tired, you’re tired, we’re all frustrated. But we all have the power to fix it.

Everybody should be wearing masks.

Anybody can be the difference between Somebody ending up in the hospital or in the morgue.

Nobody else should have to die.

Controlling COVID is an important job and we all need to do our part.

Echo Day
Author: Echo Day

Echo Day is an award-winning journalist, photographer and designer. She is currently The Leader's managing editor.