This Is Us

Battling Covid-19 Showed Me the Limits of My Mind

I couldn’t think my way out of this disease, though I certainly tried

Liz Kotin
Human Parts
Published in
6 min readSep 30, 2020


Colorful lights swirling around inside a clear box.
Photo: PM Images/Getty Images

When I was six years old my grandmother took my cousin and me to Disneyland. I had been there before, but this time was different. This was a big kid trip. My cousin, seven years older than me, was not interested in “It’s a Small World” or “Dumbo” or “Peter Pan.” She had her own plan for the park: roller coasters.

Not long after making our way down Main Street, we said goodbye to my grandma, who preferred waiting to riding, and headed straight for Space Mountain. I had never been on a roller coaster before and I was terrified. My stomach whirred, my limbs felt floppy, and I wanted to run away every time the line inched forward. But I pretended everything was fine. I smiled and laughed. I feigned excitement. And I tried to think my way out of my fear.

Disney was a huge company, I reasoned, and they’d be in big trouble if anything happened to someone on one of their rides. They had to make them safe. They didn’t want that kind of liability.

This may seem like a peculiar line of thought for a six-year-old. But my parents are lawyers, so phrases like “limited liability” and “overruled” and the parental favorite, “asked and…