Message in a bottle

Robert Siegel
2 min readMar 5, 2021


message in a bottle

Not surprisingly, the pandemic has given rise to a great many predictions. Give the wide range of anticipated outcomes, it is not surprising that many of these predictions have been wildly off the mark or that others have been more accurate. Of course, those that more closely reflect what has transpired — whether by insight or by chance — are highly touted.

One group of reflections concerns the role of the police. They have been characterized as both heroes and villains. With regard to these assertions, hindsight may be the best judge.

It is already clear, however, that some of the most accurate predictions have been by the Police themselves.

As far back as 1979, they predicted the pervasive psychological impact and sense of isolation that the pandemic would bring.

 Just a castaway, an island lost at sea, oh
Another lonely day, with no one here but me, oh
More loneliness than any man could bear
Rescue me before I fall into despair, oh

Even more remarkably, with Talmudic wisdom, they predicted that a highly unlikely strategy would be the solution to our pandemic predicament.

Message in a bottle, yeah
Message in a bottle, yeah

And that it would take approximately a year to bring that strategy to fruition

A year has passed since I wrote my note

How did they know that both Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna would pursue this message RNA strategy or that it would be so wildly successful? As they further intoned, the vaccine strategy is being implemented on a massive scale, finally bringing a message of hope in these challenging times.

 I don’t believe what I saw
Hundred billion bottles washed up on the shore
Seems I’m not alone at being alone
Hundred billion castaways, looking for a home

Message in a bottle!
“Yeah”, indeed.

Where do things go from here? It may be well worth our effort to further consult the rock liturgy for insight.

Robert Siegel
February 15, 2021



Robert Siegel

Professor — Department of Microbiology and Immunology Woods Institute for the Environment Program in Human Biology Center for African Studies