Tuesday, May 26, 2020 Live to Blog from the Laundry Room
Thank you for allowing me to stray from the drivel track yesterday. I had to get it off my chest. I’ve been thinking a lot about character and ethics recently – for reasons I’ll explain below. Now, back to the drivel.
When we last heard from Bert Left and Ernie Right, they were refusing to come in off the deck. There has already been so much loss and sadness in our world that I had been waiting for the right moment to tell you that Bert and Ernie had been lost. Last Friday morning I went to the deck to try to coax them back onto my feet but they were gone. There had been a strong breeze all Thursday and well into the night. I assumed they had been blown off the deck and were lying about somewhere in the Maryland National Memorial Cemetery, about a 100 yards from our house. I didn’t want to trespass over the holiday weekend but decided I’d go hunting for them today.
But I didn’t have to. At about noon there was a knock on our door. I looked through the peephole and didn’t see anyone. I assumed it was a delivery left in front of the door as it is usually done these days. I opened the door and there they were – Bert and Ernie sitting there looking up at me.
- Ernie: Hey, bonehead! It’s about time you opened the door.
- Me: Bert! Ernie! I thought you had been lost! How’d you get here?
- Ernie: Nah, we ain’t lost. We know exactly where we are.
- Bert: The Uber driver dropped us up here. Nice lady! But you should give us a key, you know.
- Me: Uber driver?!? What were you doing in an Uber?
- Bert: We had a little trip.
- Ernie: Yeah, we got tired of just hanging on the deck and we definitely did not want to get back on your smelly feet.
- Bert: So we went on a little trip.
- Me: Oh really? How’d you get off the deck?
- Bert: We just wiggled out of the clips and the wind carried us gently to the ground. Then we called an Uber.
- Ernie: And the Uber took us to Ocean City, baby!
- Me: Wait…you’re telling me you went to Ocean City? To be the beach? When did this happen?
- Ernie: Real early Friday morning. We had all weekend at Ocean City!
- Bert: Yeah, all weekend, bonehead, and it was great. You should’ve seen all the gorgeous yoga and tennis socks over there! Hey, Ernie, what was that cute little striped number’s name again?
- Ernie: You mean Chloe? Or was that Maria? No, wait, it was Keisha, yeah, that’s right…Keisha! Oh man, she was somethin’ bonehead, but she wasn’t your type, you like wool socks.
- Me: Are you guys telling me you spent the whole weekend on the beach?
- Bert: Yeah, what’s it to you, bonehead?
- Me: What’s it to me? You’ve got to be kidding! What’s it to me? Tell me something, did either of you geniuses wear masks and keep six feet apart from people?
- Ernie (giggles): Hey, Bert, did you wear a mask and keep your distance from Keisha?
- Bert (giggles back): Oh, yeah, Ernie I stayed just as far away from her as you stayed from Yvette.
- Bert and Ernie erupt in laughter.
- Me: Okay, I get it. So you did the same thing alot of other Stupid People did over the holiday right?
- Bert: C’mon man, you’re really too uptight about this thing. I mean, jeez, it’s not a big deal. Look Mr. Trump doesn’t wear a mask and he’s always getting close to people.
- Me: I really don’t care what Mr. Trump does because he doesn’t live here. You do. And now you can’t come back in the house until you quarantine for 14 days.
- Ernie: What? What are you talking about? Where are we going to stay?
- Me: I don’t know, but I can’t bring you into the house just to take you to the deck. You’d probably just wiggle free again.
- Bert: Hey, that’s not fair!
- Me: You know, I’m getting really tired of you two complaining that things aren’t fair for you. What’s fair for me and Clemencia? We are doing everything we can to stay safe and avoid infection. Then you two pull this crazy stunt. You are no different than some of our neighbors who don’t wear masks. You are the same as all those other people we saw in the news who went to parties and the beaches who didn’t wear masks and didn’t keep a distance. You are selfish and self-centered. And now, you leave me no choice.
- Ernie: What do you mean no choice?
- Me (lowering a plastic bag to the floor): Get in the bag. You’ve ruined it. I have not choice now but to wash you.
- Bert: No you can’t do that! We are living beings! We are you!
- Me: No, you aren’t me. I’m not the brightest bulb in the chandelier but I’m not stupid. You were safe here. You blew it. Get in the bag.
- Ernie: No way! You can’t do this!
- Me: Yes, I can and I will. You now pose a risk to us. In the bag. And if you don’t get in it willingly, I’ll nudge you in with my shoe.
By 1:00 PM Bert Left and Ernie Right were transported from the washing machine to the dryer. They were good friends to me and I miss them already. I’m very sad, though, for their stupidity. They were, too, in the end, apologizing profusely to me. Still, they had to be washed and disinfected. To be clear, I did not spray them with Lysol nor soak them in Clorox. They just needed a good washing. In fact, I think they appreciated it. I swear I heard Ernie say to Bert during the wash, “Hey, Bert, this ain’t so bad. In fact, it is little bit like that roller coaster we rode on last Saturday.”
If the opportunity arises for them to return, they’ve promised me they will. The next time, though, I hope they will be a little nicer to me and bit more humble. But we’ll see. For now, rest in peace in the sock drawer, Bert and Ernie – March 16, 2020 to May 26, 2020. Aged -I mean really aged! – 72 days. They will be missed but their stench – and attitudes – will not.
Character and ethics have been on my mind a lot during the pandemic. I’ve been reading a couple of books and finishing up a long-over due project, which probably explains why.
One book I’m reading is a textbook entitled Ethical Leadership: A Primer. It is a college level book that examines and compares a variety of ethical theories. It is not the light reading I do at night before bed…but it is very interesting.
The other book I’ve been reading in a rather meditative way is David Brooks’ The Road to Character. It is a great book for reflective reading because the book is a reflection by Brooks on what he has learned about character. Brooks is a New York Times bestselling author, a writer for the New York Times, and a regular commentator on the PBS News Hours on Fridays. When I attend Quaker Meeting I sometimes need meditative reading material to help focus my mind and quiet my spirit. The Road to Character has been very good for this purpose.
The other thing that has been causing me to ponder character and ethics is work I’ve done recently to finish a project I started over two years ago. It was the WWJD Redux Project. I decided to self-fund a study to understand more clearly how people view the leadership of Donald Trump in light of the ethical and moral lapses he has been accused of. The study was accepted for presentation at the 20th Global Conference of the International Leadership Association meeting in West Palm Beach, Florida in October of that year. I had promised, as I was doing the study, that I would send the results to everyone who participated. However, that promise got away from me in the busyness and business of life. Over the past few weeks I shot a video of that presentation and am now am making good on the promise. This link, WWJD Redux Project, and the one above, take you to the project page on the Tenacious Change LLC website where you can find more information. If you are interested in watching the video presentation (its roughly 29 minutes in length), you can watch it on that page or below on the Tenacious Change LLC YouTube channel.
If you take time to watch the video and learn about the study, I’d be interested in hearing what you think. It is still relevant to our time…perhaps even more so in the midst of this pandemic.
A View of COVID-19
This image was taken from the website of the Johns Hopkins project that is tracking COVID-19. The view is of “Cumulative Confirmed Cases” worldwide. There is an old expression that seems appropriate here…let’s say it together: “A picture is worth a thousand words.”
The Adventures of Chickenman
Episode 40 – Chickenman has followed the Teddy Bear into a party in the hotel, only to discover he is at a costume party hosted by the Teddy Bear. The Teddy Bear is, in fact, Scarfce O’Banyon, a highly respected Midland City dentist. When it was time to unmask, though, Chickenman found himself in a difficult position. But could he just fly the coop? Or just fly?
Stay safe, be well, keep calm, keep washing your face, keep wearing your mask, and, please keep being smarter than Bert and Ernie.