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HSV & COVID-19 Pop Quiz

By Dennis Simpson, March 25, 2020

And this week in Hot Springs Village, the COVID-19 pop quiz

When we were in school, we were “warned,” there would be a “pop quiz.” Why would a sadistic teacher impose this on anyone? Much less on an unsuspecting eight-grader who was neurotic and struggling with a self-esteem crisis?

The standard answer was, because we needed to “be prepared.” I think it was a blessing- a way to “see if we were paying attention” while helping us learn in incremental ways. And it was helpful. We learned to be prepared for the unexpected.

COVID-19 WILL be a pop quiz for many things

Although most of us are no longer in the eighth grade, the ‘class’ again faces a pop quiz. What material is being covered?

  • A refresher course on viruses and how to wash your hands (correctly),
  • How to decipher social media trash from treasure (by the way, drinking water WILL NOT prevent the Coronavirus from entering your lungs!),
  • How well you assess your needs in a crisis (Is toilet paper REALLY at the top of your survival list?),
  • How well do you treat your neighbors?
  • How to take reasonable precautions,
  • More importantly, how good are you at life skills? and,
  • Most importantly understanding how this crisis will affect you and our HSV community.

Guests in Hot Springs Village don’t want to leave

We run several Airbnb’s and by and large our guests are from large cities- cities that are growing larger and larger and becoming more congested. Our guests (the brave ones that have arrived in the last two weeks), simply put…do not want to leave. They are going back to crime, noise and a LOT more uncertainty than we have here in Hot Springs Village. Frankly, I don’t blame them for wanting to stay.

Hot Springs Village is unique

My first stay in Hot Springs Village was in 2002. By the way, this was spring break and we were inundated by the news telling us of a new Gulf War and possibly even more terrorist attacks. Yet, all that seemed to become fuzzy and gray as we walked the golf courses, waded in the streams and hiked the trails in Hot Springs Village.

The gates cannot block terrorist attacks, but they and our low population density does change the odds. Since that first stay, I could not wait to move to Hot Springs Village. As an Arkansas native, I knew the area well. I grew up just a couple of miles outside of Benton, and still, I knew it was a place apart and unique.

Our vision of major population centers will probably not be changed in this COVID-19 Pop Quiz. We will more than likely still see them as places that “are not worth it” as I noted in my interview with NPR (heard my more than 33 million ppl) I offered that “big cities are just not worth it”. Most Villagers know that, but there may be thousands or millions of other folks that also come to that conclusion.

Urban density has a very dark downside- a side that those who were ready for the “pop quiz” see. Some of us have preconceptions of how each (younger) demographic group will handle this, and more than likely they will (sadly) live down to our expectations. But there will be those that exceed our expectations. We will need to welcome them to the Village.

Welcome to the Village

Really, I think this crisis may be a shot in the arm for the Village. Major crises are many times very helpful to the village. Much like after 9-11 I could not wait to move here. Many guests from NOLA, post-Katrina, that looked at the hill country of HSV and the Ouachita Mountains and thought:

  • What a beautiful place,
  • How safe and secure, and

The Village has long been a “getaway” for everyone. From criminals running from officials and hiding in the “dark corner” in the late 1800s and early 1900s to people fleeing high taxes and bad traffic, to “locals” like myself and my wife who could see what a fantastic place HSV is even compared to the rest of our home state. It does not take a Pop Quiz World Champion to see that Hot Springs Village IS a place apart, a respite from the “real world,” and that it is unique and extraordinary.

Me? My pop quiz score? High, very high. That’s why we are here in Hot Spring Village. 

By Dennis Simpson, March 25, 2020


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