Day 31 – Stories of COVID-19 and Sheltering-In-Place

I don’t think anyone expected that when we changed the clocks we’d go from Standard Time to the Twilight Zone. Would all of this go away if we just stopped using Daylight Savings Time?

Wednesday, April 15, 2020 – Live to Blog from Under a Tax Obligation – Happy (Original) Tax Day!

HEY! Can I withold MY taxes because I don’t think our government has handled the COVID-19 crisis competently and send it instead to the World Health Organization? Just asking!

#alonetogether

I don’t think anyone expected that when we changed the clocks we’d go from Standard Time to the Twilight Zone.

It feels like the Twilight Zone, eh? There are certain moments in your life that always stay with you. The time of COVID-19 will be one of them to be sure.

Speaking of the Twilight Zone, it gave me one of those memorable moments too on Friday, October 11, 1963. I was nine years old and I had two school friends sleeping over. All three of us were big Twilight Zone fans. We were laying on the floor in front of the TV with our faces nearly stuck to the screen. As the intro music played, we all shuddered with excitement. When the “flying eyeball” appeared in the opening, we looked away. But as the narration and music built toward the beginning of the show, we became transfixed.

Finally, it was starting. We were watching the original airing of “Nightmare at 20,000 Feet.” We had no idea we were watching TV history in the making.

The episode starred a young William Shatner who, three years later, would warp back into our TV sets as the captain of the Starship Enterprise. His nemesis in this episode of the Twilight Zone would be a gremlin whom some would credit with producing one of the most frightening moments in the history of television. “Nightmare at 20,000 Feet” would become an iconic episode that would inspire two remakes (one as recently as 2019) and numerous parodies and homages in movies.

We couldn’t know any of this, of course, as we lay side by side, only inches from the TV screen. Here’s what we saw (don’t worry, this is a 2 minute 15 second version of the show, complete with the scene that nearly made us wet ourselves):

Did you figure out which scene it was? Yep, that’s right! The one where Shatner can’t decide whether to open the curtain. He finally does, and of course, the gremlin is right there…pressing his face against the window looking right him.

The moment he ripped that curtain to the side, all three of us discovered we could fly. It’s the only possible explanation for how we three found ourselves on the opposite side of the room, behind the sofa, and covering our eyes. We saw that which cannot be unseen…even though we really didn’t see it that well. We were so scared and thrilled out of our minds that all we could think of to say was…“Do it again!”

Years later, when I finally got to see the episode again as an adult, I found it hard to watch that scene at first. In my mind’s eye the gremlin was absolutely hideous and my memory pushed every “stop” button it could to keep me from seeing it again. However, my courageous self prevailed and I watched the scene, leaning in for a prolonged, closer look at the gremlin. What I saw this time was a really good acting job by Shatner who built the tension in the scene up to just the right place for the surprise and, finally, I saw some dude with really bad gremlin make up.

Because of this episode, The Twilight Zone lives on in my mind, and that of at least two of my childhood friends, as the very best that television has ever had to offer.


Meet Cayci Banks – Communications Guru

Cayci Banks is a colleague and friend who is also the VP for Strategy and Communications at 1000 Feathers. She is the backbone of a team of us who produced Leading Through Crisis: A Framework for Nonprofits During Trying Times. Cayci sat down to do an interview with Patrick Jinks, another team member, to talk about communicating in a crisis. Cayci’s advice here is stellar, practical, and actionable. If you are leading a nonprofit, this is 18 minutes of golden advice. If you are not leading a nonprofit, but have a leader you can forward it to, please do. It will build some capital for you for sure!


In Reality

While the COVID-19 pandemic seems like an episode of The Twilight Zone, it is not. How we see it, though, depends on what we believe about it and how we experience it.

  • Some believe it is an overblown panic about a non-crisis and people should be able to live their lives as normal.
  • Others believe it is an inconvenience because it is disturbing their day to day lives.
  • Many believe it is a bad dream because the consequences they are experiencing are severe – lost jobs, businesses put at risk, hunger, the continual threat and worry over infection, and others.
  • Too many believe it is a genuine nightmare because they are experiencing the sickness of COVID-19 and/or have lost friends and loved ones to it.

I’m not here to tell you how you should see COVID-19. I only want you to remember that others will see it differently than you. That is because they are experiencing it differently and because they have a different set of beliefs that inform their experience.

What we have in common, though, are facts. As of today, COVID-19 has infected 2 million people worldwide and 635,000 in the United States alone. Worldwide over 133,000 have died. In the U.S. we can account for nearly 28,000 of those (that’s about 21% of all deaths).

What do these numbers tell us? They tell us this is a serious issue and people are dying, regardless of what we believe about the virus and how we experience it. All this illness, all this death deserves our best efforts to end the spread of COVID-19…whatever it takes, no matter how long it takes.

Stay safe, be well, keep calm, keep washing you hands, keep wearing your mask, and keep your eyes on the numbers because they tell the whole story.

Tom

Day 30 – Stories of COVID-19 and Sheltering-In-Place

There is walking for exercise and there is walking dogs…old dogs. They are definitely not the same but both are necessary…and both get you out of the house in the time of COVID-19.

Tuesday, April 14, 2020 – Live to Blog from in Front of the Television

#alonetogether

I just came back in from a walk with Clemencia. It is always so nice to take a walk without the Girls. They are slow and they don’t like to walk very far. All they want to do is smell everything within nose length. And look for natural “snacks.” Facing reality, they are not only senior, they are elderly miniature schnauzers. In human years, Madison is the equivalent of age 84 and Dolly is age 76.

At this moment they are both curled up at the feet of their favorite doggie parent. No, it is not me…though they seem to think I’m an endless source of doggie biscuits. Which I am. It is, after all, the only leverage I have anymore.

Dolly and Madison As Young Dogs

There was a day, before Clemencia retired, when I was indispensable in their lives. After she left for her office at the university in the early morning, they would lay under my desk while I worked in my office. Dolly would even occasionally ask to sit in my lap while I worked.

Alas, their True Love is here and I am left alone…in the cold…in my office…day in…day out…all alone. Not that it matters to me very much…really…only a little…okay, some. I do have Bert and Ernie and, strangely, their mumbling is becoming more intelligible to me day by day.


I’m sitting in front of the TV and the daily Coronavirus Task Force Update from the White House just came on. I shall refrain from saying another word about that.


Speaking of dog walking, though, when I was a little kid my mother used to put me into a harness with a leash before taking me out in public. I was pretty little…probably just a toddler who liked to toddle into trouble. I do remember the harness and the leash quite clearly. I thought it was pretty unusual until I saw a toddler in one several years ago on the Washington Mall. I saw him trying to toddle everywhere despite his parents’ pleadings and admonitions. Witnessing the tug of war before my eyes, I thought to myself, “Hmmm…yep. Now that does makes sense.” I’ve since seen one or two others.

I remember the harness and the leash so clearly because of the day I put it on myself and played horsey. I must have been quite a talented horsey because I tied myself to a tree stump. Probably while I was grazing, a bat flew down and landed on the stump. (Ah, farm life!) It just sat there staring at me while I stared at it. Of course, I was also screaming and crying at the top of my lungs. It is unclear who was more frightened. I don’t know how I got loose and away from the bat but obviously I did because I’m here to tell you this scintillating story.


It’s a Three Stooges Day!

Every so often I just need a dose of The Three Stooges. Today is one of those. Usually, though, it isn’t just any dose of The Three Stooges. It is this one:

“Swinging the Alphabet” by The Three Stooges

The Three Stooges “Swinging the Alphabet” is a happy place for me. One of the reasons is probably because Curly Howard was my favorite Stooge. Tragically, he died at the age of 48 after a massive stroke hospitalized him at the age of 42. He has a solo in this song which highlights his real voice and not the Curly voice usually associated with him (“Nyuk, nyuk, nyuk!”). Now, tell me you can watch this and hear to the music without singing along!

When my son was little we had a Three Stooges’ album of children’s songs. I was thrilled to be able to introduce my son to this song. Of course, he also had to endure me singing along with it. I really miss that album and, even more, that experience with Jake. More than any other reason, THAT is why this is a favorite happy place.


Back to Reality..

Not today. I’m getting too much reality on TV at this very moment. I need to stay with Curly, Moe, and Larry a little longer while the dogs continue to ignore me. Hit it, Curly! “B-A-Bay…B-E-Bee…B-I-Bicky-Bye…B-O-Boh…..”

Stay safe, be well, keep calm, keep washing your hands, keep wearing your mask, and let your self linger in your own happy place every now and then. It’s okay.

Tom

Day 16 – Stories of COVID-19 and Sheltering-In-Place

So, who hasn’t been thinking about masks today? Honestly, I haven’t been, except I can’t avoid them. EVERY person I’ve seen today has been thinking about them, talking about them, and even sharing videos about them.

Tuesday, March 31, 2020 – Live to Blog from Under a Mask

So, who hasn’t been thinking about masks today? Honestly, I haven’t been, except I can’t avoid them. EVERY person I’ve seen today has been thinking about them, talking about them, and even sharing videos about them. Wait! The only person I’ve seen today is Clemencia! Truly, a sample of one!

But she is not alone. Plenty of other people are thinking about masks too…and underwear. Just watch and learn…I’ve put a few different versions of this thing for you to enjoy. Which is your favorite?

This guy is pretty good…plus I love the windmill picture behind him.
No, it is NOT an N95 mask. Do not be deceived!
Well, interesting noises in the background and, gee, would it have been so tough to put on an undershirt? But, you know, he is having a GREAT time!
Love the commentary!
Uh-uh…no…not at all. Nope! I don’t think so! But thanks for sharing!

This has been a public service announcement from five people who spend far too much time on the internet. I think I like the first one best. No reason. It just seems…well…I don’t know…you know…a little less…uh…yeah, that.

I’ve got nothing today that can top these. Plus, they made Bert, Ernie, Beto and Enrique dive under the bed out of sight when they saw them. I guess they wondered what we might have in mind for them.

Okay…well…uh…that’s it.

Really, don’t wait for me to say April Fool! Nope, not gonna happen. Sometimes an April Fool joke can’t be any better than reality. Welcome to THAT kind of April Fools Day.

Stay safe, be well, keep calm, and keep washing your hands, and, please, just use your underwear for its intended purpose.

Tom

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