Dear Boris Johnson:



I will not ask you how you are doing (but I'm curious, though. No, really.)
When a friend of mine in London emailed me to ask me how I was holding up, I told him that I was doing fine, 'under the circumstances'. And I added: what a gas, BJ 's got corona!
Now, a week later, I wouldn't write this anymore. It goes to show how fast a person's morals, if any, can change in times of crisis.
It seems to me a bad case of Schadenfreude, or, as we call it in the Schadenfreude-happy Netherlands, leedvermaak, literally: the amusement over someone else's suffering. (Come to think of it, the 'someone else' part is not required, one can also enjoy one's own suffering, but this is less common.) Why is it, if you allow me, that your beautiful language lacks such a term, or am I missing something? (It appears I am.) Then again, on the continent, we lack a term for understatement.
Which brings me to your understatements, sir. Newspapers in your country are convinced that you were downplaying your illness. You were in denial about your fever, for one thing.
The Keep Calm and Carry On mantra is carved into your forehead (except the keep calm part is hidden under your hair – but really, a man who never looses his temper is not a man, but only a shadow of a man).
Anyway, it reminded me of that marvelous scene from Monty Python, I believe it is from The Holy Grail, in which a knight keeps on fighting, even after his limbs have been chopped off. When his opponent refuses to go on because it seems unfair, he calls him a 'coward'. 'It's just a flesh wound, for god's sake!'
Don't get me wrong: I admire British bravery at all costs. I wish I had it. I also like the idea of privacy: that the state of your body and mind is your business, and your business alone.
Except you're PM in 2020, and that changes everything.
I do hope there are enough people around you that you dare to show your vulnerability to. In times of fear, no one wants to be alone.