‘I’ ON CULTURE
You won’t be hearing from me for some time because of the trying times ahead. I began writing this column in 2003 and haven’t missed a deadline. I will miss writing this, but even through all of this, I will be worrying about all the nice people who have told me or written to me that they enjoy the column. And even for those few who have told me the opposite.
This is a time we have to hang tough and hang together. For almost all of us having to hunker down is something new. Going to BJ’s and finding no toilet paper and then, after picking up a few things I think we will need, I wait at the end of a 50-person line to pay. And was grateful. Actually, I salute the people there. Employees worked hard and kept calm under horrid circumstances.
And generally, people so far have behaved well. Not all. Watching college kids partying on beaches against all medical suggestions makes me fear for the nation’s future. Hearing a few of them call the whole thing “boomer kills” — in other words, spreading a disease which has cost a lot of old people their lives — really ticks me off since I am one of those in the target group.
But even many politicians are working together. Hearing the Democratic governors of New York and California praising Donald Trump and him telling reporters what a great job they were doing made me wonder if perhaps this was the end of the world and we were coming to Judgment Day. Of course, some in the media spend more time wondering exactly how racist the current administration is by calling this the “Wuhan” or “Chinese” flu rather than asking what the facts are. Has anyone wondered whether Adolph Hitler actually began World War II because he resented having a disease the “German measles?” Don’t bother looking it up. We call it rubella nowadays.
The real issues for most of us are worrying about our own health and those of others, worrying about the collapse of the economy, which all but the hardiest anti-Trumpers hope will rebound once this is all over, and, perhaps most important, what we are going to do when we are forced to stay home.
The movies are closed. Live shows are gone. We are left with the disaster we call television. Speaking to my sister — and has anyone noticed that we call the people we care about more than ever before — I suggested that it would be great if those in power at the networks ran a lot of shows that have been popular in the past. Wouldn’t it be great to see some of those shows that have not been regurgitated over and over? She responded they would never do it because it would simply demonstrate how truly rotten the current content is and how little taste the current network leadership has shown. She is probably right.
The most horrible thing for some people is now they have to actually spend time with their spouses. I have friends who, like me, are retired and long-married, who credit the continuation of the marriages to the fact that both partners do different things most of the day and see each other fairly briefly. The men hang out and the women play mah jongg. Now they have to be together almost the entire 24 hours a day. Horrors! Of course, we happily now have several TVs in our homes and can try some limits before we wind up having more homicides than death by coronavirus.
This will probably be a tough stretch. Here in Florida, we have a bit of an advantage in that the weather is warm and we can take nice walks or hang out in our yards. We can try to learn. I am lucky, love to read and have a lot of books to spend time with. My wife loves FaceTime as a way to talk to the grandkids. There are a few benefits for all of this, but sometimes we have to look carefully.
All I can suggest is to love your family and friends, follow as many of the rules as is possible, do a really good job of reading all the media and do it by checking both sides of the political aisle, since more than a bit of bias shows through, and just take it one day at a time.
I’ll be thinking about all of you. See you on the other side.