Many years ago when I was in grade school it was not uncommon for teachers to have their students write an essay upon the start of a new year about what they did or learned over the summer break. Growing up in rural Kentucky my essay was usually about how I learned to paint fences, put in hay, top tobacco, or drive my sisters nuts. Today, I wrote a short essay about the top 10 things I learned on Spring (COVID-19) Break.
1. After watching the hit show TigerKing, (along with 50 million other people), I learned that America has a bizarre fascination with large cats (Tigers, Lions) and people with bad mullets. I also learned that the best way to pick up girls is to walk around with a Tiger or Lion cub. That tidbit of information would have been more useful to me 30 years ago.
2. I learned that if the world is about to end, it’s wise to stock up on toilet paper. Food and water are important, but without toilet paper Americans would quickly perish.
3. I learned that in American essential businesses include donut shops, liquor stores, and gun shops. I agree with two of those three.
4. I learned that when grocery shopping and the shelves are bare its best to grab anything you can. This is where I learned that Rainbow Morning O’s are really just a generic version of Fruit Loops, and taste just as good as I remember as a kid.
5. I learned a new term “Social distancing’ which Webster’s dictionary defines as: the practice of maintaining a greater than usual physical distance from other people or of avoiding direct contact with people or objects in public places during the outbreak of a contagious disease in order to minimize exposure and reduce the transmission of infection. For me, a lifelong introvert, I didn’t realize that I had been practicing this behavior my whole life, so it was easy for me to adopt this skill. It’s not that I don’t like people, I like most of them, but I prefer they stay 6 feet away from me, unless they are cute or are offering me a drink.
6. I learned that PJs are perfectly good business attire when teleworking and in fact are perfectly acceptable to be worn all day and night. One tip, if on a Zoom call wear a business shirt, people can’t see below the waist. I also learned that it is still not acceptable to go to the bathroom when on a Zoom call, but if nature calls it’s important to go on mute and turn off the video (see Saturday Night Live skit).
7. I learned that Coronavirus is not a hangover you get from drinking too much Corona beer (although some of the symptoms might be the same). Coronavirus is any of a family (Coronaviridae) of single-stranded RNA viruses that have a lipid envelope studded with club-shaped projections, infect birds and many mammals including humans, and include the causative agents of MERS, SARS, and COVID-19. What I don’t know is why this strand is called COVID-19, was it because it started in 2019, is it the 19th strand that just graduated from Coronavirus high school and is no longer under adult supervision?
8. Through Facebook, I learned that all of my friends (and myself) were much thinner and better looking in their High School senior photos than they are now. They also had more hair. Lots of hair. Really big hair. Lion hair. Put an eye out hair. Those were the good ‘ol days.
9. I learned to use new technology like Zoom, Webex and many others and I learned that technology is challenging for some. That little button on the left of the screen is the mute/unmute button and red usually means you are muted, which you should be when not speaking. In the middle of a meeting I really don’t want to hear your dog barking, or your child crying, or your spouse complaining that you used the last strip of toilet paper or ate the last of the Rainbow Morning O’s.
10. Lastly, I learned that there are a lot of good people in America of all races, colors and creeds doing their best to get by in these challenging times. And I learned that we have healthcare workers, grocery stores clerks, and many others selflessly putting their lives on the line for others. I hope that after this terrible disease runs its course we can all be a little more civil to each other, and thankful for what we have.