As the saying goes, “Of all the things I’ve lost, I miss my mind the most.”
It’s true, really. I used to be so sharp, so on top of things, and I knew everything I had and where I had put it. I could do four things at once, in addition to walking, rubbing the top of my head, and chewing bubble gum. I could juggle term papers, date night and work all at the same time; and for my troubles I would earn an A, a kiss and a promotion. Those, as they say, were the days.
Even then, words were my thing. My fingers flew across the keyboard leaving nothing short of printed gold on the screen. I ran down stories with all the passion (but only half the slobber) of a bloodhound on the trail of an escaped convict wearing Milkbone-scented cologne. Everyone waited to be interviewed with bated breath, and no one would dare not to answer my call. Most would even answer every call, just in case I was dialing from another phone. Yeah, life was good, and I was better.
Then they added a few new words to the dictionary — words like COVID-19, social distancing and self-quarantine. I used to think words were my friends, but not those new ones. No, these new words (words that you can’t avoid if you live anywhere with television, radio or cell phone reception) are such jerks they make our worst enemies seem like long-lost family and friends. It makes us kind of nostalgic for those horrible people who “threw us under the bus” at work or stole our second-best girlfriend.
All of this leads us right back to the beginning of this column. All these new things are just so terrible that we are beyond sick of hearing about them. We want these words and what they represent to just go away and go away as quickly as possible so we can return to our perfect pre-COVID-19 lives. We are all just mind-numbingly disgusted with staying at home, shopping for groceries in Hazmat gear and washing our hands until we can see our veins. Surely there is a level in Dante’s Inferno where all you do for eternity is rub hand sanitizer over cut and chemical-burned hands.
Honestly, at this point we are probably all losing it. I told my wife “thanks for the interview” last night before bed, kissed the porch possum goodnight, and I believe I might have used the letter “f” to spell pharmacy — twice, and I might have used “ie” on the end. All this disruption to the patterns of our “golden age” before the pandemic is wearing on us and we might just be going to snap sometime soon. We all just want it to go back to normal, to the way it used to be when we could go out to eat, see a movie with at least 200 of our closest friends, and, oh, I don’t know, maybe something like go back to work.
But before we all begin to desperately sing the COVID-19 version of the theme song to “All In The Family” (look it up; YouTube still works), let’s take it back down a peg or three. Yes, it is extremely unpleasant to have our lives turned on their ears, and yes, it is enormously inconvenient to only be able to do certain things at certain times, and it is absolutely inconvenient to have our freedom of doing things curtailed. But as much as it is frustrating, inconvenient and emotionally incendiary, it is an unfortunate necessity.
For just a moment, let’s think about what we are fighting. And make no mistake, it is a fight. COVID-19 doesn’t care how frustrated we are. It doesn’t care if we are going stir-crazy or if we are lonely. The fact that we might be angry is irrelevant to the virus. None of these things matter to a virus that cares for nothing but the opportunity to spread. And if we fly off half-cocked and wade right back into the lives we had before, we may very well be giving it that opportunity. So, take a moment and breathe. Think it through, and make the right decision, and urge others to do so as well.
We absolutely cannot allow nostalgia to rob us, and others, of the future.