New Anthology, Writing, and the Distance...
Well, shall we begin with a cover...?
And there you have it—just released by my parent publisher, Sunbury Press Books, After the Pandemic... is a series of what I call “think pieces,” but they are also perspectives, thoughts, feelings, and the like as many of us live in our “Splendid Isolation.”
Some us don’t, of course. I do not consider myself a front-line person, but I am on the road, traveling mostly between Harrisburg and Lebanon nearly every day, for my broadcasting work. It ranges from news reports, being a deejay, production, and behind the scenes work most don’t know exists in our business.
My contribution is more of a real-time perspective, and I examine the potential for change, its inevitability, and whether or not we are going to be able to handle it.
I have a lot of thoughts going here, and have since the beginning of the pandemic. Our world has changed, and we are going to have to deal with it.
Being a jobber in this business, I was at the beck and call of various stations, companies and the like. It’s what I do; full-time in this business is coveted, but only if you are willing to put yourself into a position, and it may not be the one you want.
One job remains somewhat constant, and I can count on knowing I am required, needed and valued. It is again a matter of sticking in there, and not giving up. You can’t quit in this business, unless you know you have something bigger and better on the horizon.
Job #2 involved a change in ownership, and now change in formats, change in personnel and the backlash that goes with it. I’ve been through it, but some I don’t think fully understand that jobs for life in radio don’t exist. If you hang on for some years in a place, there’s reasons why. Either you are right for the job, or you may not have any other options.
Add to it, a ransomware attack, and the pandemic.
I await the full change, to see if I still have a future.
Job #3 put me on furlough, and the one benefit was a need to no longer deal with weekends.
To get this a bit more succinct: if you don’t have a place to go that’s vital, you stay home. You know that, don’t you?
The past several weekends, I’ve been able to park my car, go inside, and stay there. I do go into my backyard, I do let the cats out in the enclosed space, and I do take the garbage out, the little things. My trips are essential—work, the store, that’s about it.
I went five weeks without making an order at a Starbucks, imagine that. The only one open for all this time was in a supermarket, but I don’t generally go to that one.
Today, my “office” was open, and that was weird. My old friends were happy to see me, but I stood at the door and waited for my drink to be made, brought across the floor, etc. I’m glad they are working, and I also respect this is kind of where we are.
My friends the pizza delivery guys (no more than once a week, my waistline thanks me) have gotten to know me, too. I write, I edit, I listen to music, I watch stuff on DVD now and again or on Youtube, I read, I prep BookSpeak Network shows, I clean the place, I cook.
I think. Therefore, I am...something.
I get you. It sucks, not going to places, doing the things you love, seeing your friends. That human contact, we have to have.
But I am no fan of the childish, entitled behavior of these people who think descending on state capitols or elsewhere with guns, screaming abuse, hurling hatred at gays, Democrats, liberals, non-Christians, and whomever they don’t like is going to get them their way.
Well, when you all get sick, tell us how it was worth it.
Have we not learned anything? I have had to hear the story of how a longtime friend of mine lost his father, despite all efforts to take precautions against the virus. I will not name his name, but the gentleman in question served our country, had a medical career afterward, and came to his end in a veterans’ home. That home, according to my friend, did their diligence to guard against the virus, months before lockdowns.
It didn’t work. 14 people who served our nation have died there.
In Pennsylvania, we have more than 50-thousand positive tests, and more than 3-thousand deaths. That’s nothing.
I am no doctor, but this gets worse before it gets better. People clamor to be accommodated, waited on, given favor...it cannot always happen that way, folks.
You don’t like wearing a mask? Sorry, but, FUCK YOU!
Do you want to die? Do you want your loved ones to die? Would you like to live out your final hours suffering, in an isolated room, with a ventilator down your throat, with machines so loud you can’t hear anything else. No one but the medical professional can see you, and you can’t hear what they’re saying.
You essentially die alone. Is that what you want?
Or, do you actually think this shit isn’t happening? This is some kind of plot against you, the president, whomever? You think you’re immune do you? You think this is nothing?
Tell that to my friend who lost his dad. Tell that to cops, military service members, and especially doctors, nurses and all the health care workers.
I know, I’m sitting here at a keyboard hammering this out, and you are pounding your keyboard in fury over all this.
So sorry, you are a Victim of Comfort. We all are—we’ve had it so good for so damned long.
Honestly, I don’t mind one fucking bit that I have to be at home. I go out yes, but it’s not a picnic. I’m around people all the time, and despite the best efforts at social distancing, let me tell you, that six foot rule is hard to deal with.
I wash constantly, use sanitizer, wear a makeshift mask.
I ONLY JUST GOT A FUCKING “REAL” MASK TODAY. It’s probably not a real one, but at least it’s better.
MY EMPLOYERS HAVE NOT OFFERED US ANY PPE, OR PERSONAL PROTECTION EQUIPMENT. NONE!
Sure, we have sanitizer, stuff to spray on things, and one building has dispensers all over the place for that stuff. That’s cool, but that’s how it goes.
Oh, by the way—toilet paper? Good luck finding any.
I fortunately had enough before all this began, and so it’s not the end of the world. I have not seen TP on store shelves in weeks. It’s gone the moment it arrives.
I hope your toilet paper breastworks hold off the invading virus. Sure, I get if you’re home more, then yeah, you’d need more...but that much?
I have one spray bottle of cleaning stuff I can use. I ran out of sanitizing wipes a long time ago, and I can’t get any more. I’m not stealing ‘em from work, either.
Do I care. NO. I’m doing my best with what I’ve got.
It’s a good thing I don’t drink, believe me. I hear people talking about the liquor stores, their stocks, what they tried to buy. I’m no fan of any of this. ‘Cause you know what this is all about, right?
CONSUME. OBEY. BUY. SPEND.
The movie with Roddy Piper is terrible, but at times is prophetic. All we hear about is the economy, and we gotta get it started again, we need people to get back out there, not to work, but to hit the stores, go shopping, go out to eat again, etc.
As George Carlin said, “spending money they don’t have, on things they don’t need.”
Don’t get me wrong, I’m as guilty as you are. I’ve done that. I try hard, really I do to think about what I’m buying. Do I need it? Have I got to have that item now? Do I have the money? Can it wait?
Waiting sucks, but makes things a bit better in feeling. I hope so, anyway.
I’m not feeling sorry a bit. I’m okay. I’ve done well, as I write, and prepare for the next book to come out, and I look at the works I’ve accomplished. There’s so much good we’ve done here.
I love seeing my friends performing on social media, putting up new stories, new artworks, and making the best of it in a time when we need one another.
The question of my think piece was whether or not we can change, and handle it? I’m not sure we can.
I think we need another smack upside the head, to say, “HEY! The shit ain’t over yet, buddy. More people are gonna get sick, and you may be one of them.”
I realize people are losing work, so have I. Jobs...are some going to be there for us when we come back? Are we going to have any help, beyond bones thrown us, while the captains of industry get fatter and fatter, not realizing that money, like toilet paper, does not defend against a virus.
This now is the time, as an old friend once said, to remake ourselves. We will need to change; find new ways to do things, adapt to the new rules of the game. We may also have to break them, and find our own way.
We’ll get through it; the change has not yet manifested itself, and we must prepare for whatever will come.
I plan to do what I have to do. I will write, I will work, I will do what I need to do. It’s not about surviving, it’s doing, and being.
See you when the time comes.