It’s hard to know what words of comfort to use these days. I think for a while it was, “It’ll be fine,” and then, “We’re going to be OK,” and then, “It’ll be over soon,” and now we’ve arrived at, “We are going to get through this.” That sounds right, and it’s true, too. Somehow, we will. I don’t know how, and I don’t know when, but we will.
Right now, unfortunately, we have a President who keeps waiting for a miracle to arrive so that he can take credit for it. The “miracle” is leadership, and Trump is not going to provide it. We will have to provide it ourselves, and those that are able, do so in your community. If you can’t do so in your community, do so in your home, and if you live alone, provide that leadership for yourself. Get up. Maybe take a shower. Give yourself a schedule, even if that schedule is, “video games for two hours, followed by Netflix for two hours, then a walk around the neighborhood (if allowed, and with appropriate distancing), followed by two hours of watching the news and scrolling through Twitter from between your fingers, and then an hour of podcasts.”
If you’re going to listen to podcasts, you can start with Emily Gordon and Kumail Nanjiani’s podcast, “Staying In with Emily & Kumail.” I know we’re all like, “Eat the rich,” and “you’ve got to get kidding me with this, Imagine? Really?” However, there’s some real comfort and Emily and Kumail’s podcast because they really are in this with us, and because Emily is immunocompromised, they are as terrified and panicked as the normies among us. They take it in stride — well, Emily does anyway. Kumail is having panic attacks and sh*tting himself, but hey! Even Marvel superheroes are having panic attacks right now, which means — in some ways — we really are in this together.
My wife and I took a drive yesterday (gas is really cheap, and it’s easy to socially distance from inside our cars) and listened to the podcast together. It not only provides comfort but it rightfully questions why it was OK for Elizabeth Perkins to sleep with a 13-year-old boy trapped in Tom Hanks’s body in Big. That’s not OK, y’all, and we should talk about this more, especially in light of Tom Hanks recent diagnosis. Also, Emily and Kumial are a delight, and proceeds from the podcast go to charity.
After you’ve found comfort in that, maybe you can find the humor — and not the earth-quaking terror — in a Florida county commissioner explaining that you can eradicate the virus by taking a blow-dryer to your nose, a piece of advice he picked up from OANN, the far-right news service.
Okeechobee County Commissioner Bryant Culpepper at emergency meeting says you can kill coronavirus by holding a blow dryer up to your nose after he saw it on “reliable source” OANN, warns “there’s a lot of baloney out there on social media” #BecauseFlorida pic.twitter.com/n9dGDBQ4WW— Billy Corben (@BillyCorben) March 22, 2020
Andrew Cuomo said something the other day about how the most important thing is surviving this over the next two months, and we can worry about the economy later, that the money situation will figure itself out. I think for so many of us outside of Los Angeles, New York, Seattle (and parts of Michigan), the financial piece is what feels most pressing while the public-health crisis feels more distant. The public-health crisis will probably come to all of our front doors within the following months, and I will say as someone who survived extreme poverty for 22 years that, on a day-to-day basis, this anxiety and uncertainty is worse. If we can get through this, we can figure out the other part, and we will get through this.
Finally, back in the late ’90s, when they were cranking out forgettable white-boy bands as though from an assembly line (see also that Reply/All podcast), there was an otherwise forgettable band that Adam Duritz helped to discover (he sings on the track below). They were called Dog’s Eye View, and they had one hit. It’s called “Everything Falls Apart,” and while it’s really about this dude’s relationships with his dick, in my mind, it meant a lot more to me in its dumb, very corny way. “Everything falls apart,” he sings, “and then I put it back together again.” It’s that second line that always felt as though it were a challenge. We’re still in the falling apart stage right now, but, man, I cannot wait to help try to put it back together again. We look for wisdom in the weirdest places sometimes, and that’s the way I tried to view the situation for so much of my troubled early life, not as the world falling apart, but as an opportunity to rebuild it.
We’re going to get through this, dammit, and then we’re going to put it back together again.
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