Lancer Letter


#473: Pandemic Ponderings 3

There is no question that the pandemic we face is a serious matter. Last week, I addressed the importance of our response; but, we need to keep our sense of humor about the whole thing or we’ll go crazy! This week, I offer some ramblings, both silly and less than serious.

(To be read in the style of Andy Rooney.) Have you ever noticed how certain words and phrases come into vogue and are then overused? Take for example the word “crisis” and its use by television news anchors. Before we had an actual pandemic crisis, it seemed that in the war of superlatives, everything was deemed a crisis. The news anchor reads, “A new report released today noted that the incidence of bunions among middle aged Americans is on the rise.” The caption at the bottom the screen would read, “Bunion Crisis in America.” Not to downplay the fact that there really are crises in the world, and now that we actually have one, they have found another phrase to be overused: Breaking News.

Every story now is Breaking News. I used to think this term meant, “Hey, you better pay attention because something just happened and this will probably be the first you’ve heard of it.”

But now every night, each story related to the pandemic which we’ve been dealing with for months, is labeled “breaking news.” As with the boy who cried wolf, I’m not perking up my ears when I hear “breaking news.” I’m broken.

The stay at home order has given rise to many people working from their homes, which in turn has given rise to many online meetings. In these online meetings, we are all reduced to talking heads, only seeing each other from the shoulder up. This gives rise to a question that is always on my mind: “Are all these people in this meeting wearing pants?’ If you have been participating in these kinds of meetings and contend you are not thinking the same thing, I say, “Yeah, right.” Confirmation that I’m not the only person thinking this was a cartoon recently in the newspaper. A man wearing a shirt, tie and blazer was sitting at his kitchen table looking into his computer and asking,” Is everyone ready to start the meeting?” Underneath the table, you could see he was only wearing boxers and bunny slippers.

Of course these online meetings have given rise to another concern: nose hairs. With your visage being blown up to larger-than-life sizes, there is growing urgency to keep these trimmed. We may be able to avoid wearing pants all day, but keeping follicles from protruding from your nostrils is a new imperative.

In the early stages of this crisis, when people didn’t know what to expect, people exhibited a natural reaction to fear. I’m not talking about summoning courage or going to others for advice. I’m talking about, what else, but hoarding toilet paper. We should not be surprised by this. In times of uncertainty, do not people always look to CYA?

Stay at home orders are new to us, and, in American society which values personal freedom to come and go as we please, this has been difficult. Perhaps more difficult, is finding out that you’re nonessential. Only essential people get to go to work. So, is it good to be essential, or not so good? I don’t know the answer to that but I am glad to know that the new local chocolate shop in Edinboro, Edinboro Chocolatiers, has been deemed essential. What would Easter to be without a chocolate bunny? (Of course, chocolate should only be used as a supplement to a healthy diet filled with fruits and vegetables.)

In the category of the bazaar, I saw on social media a way to make a face mask out of men’s boxer briefs. Are we really that desperate? I think not. Besides, if we’re not wearing pants to meetings, those boxers need to be used for their intended purpose!

Find previous Lancer Letter articles here.