I’ve been thinking a lot lately about Pollyanna, a book written 100 years ago which tells the story of a little girl whose cheerful determination to look on the bright side infects everyone around her. No ordinary the-glass-is-half-full optimist, Pollyanna was a the-glass-is-overflowing-with-magical-sparkly-unicorn-piss optimist. Her name has become an adjective to describe someone so unrealistically, relentlessly positive that after more than a few minutes in their company, a normal person is strongly tempted to punch said silver-lining-seeker in the face.
Pollyanna tried to find something to be happy about even during the worst of bad times. She called this The Glad Game. I can’t think of any time in history when we’ve needed this more, so let’s all play The Glad Game. I’ll go first.
During the Coronavirus lock-down, I’m glad to…
broaden my mind. When the shutdown was imminent, I rushed to the library and stocked up on classic literature, determined not to waste this precious opportunity to improve my mind. It was during week 1 so I don’t precisely remember the title, author or plot, but I definitely feel that maybe I finished an entire book. I was also inspired to brush up on my Shakespeare. I didn’t actually read more than a paragraph, but a niggling memory from a long ago English class inspired me to use the Google to look up a passage from Macbeth. Each morning when I wake up and realize where and when I am, I lie in bed staring at the ceiling like Bill Murray in Groundhog Day, but without the 5 o’clock shadow. Instead of Sonny & Cher’s I Got You Babe, this line plays through my head. It has become my daily mantra.
Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow, creeps in this petty pace from day to day, to the last syllable of recorded time.
appreciate that outside appearances don’t matter. Beauty salons were one of the first, nonessential businesses to be shut down, giving all of us the opportunity to appreciate that physical appearance doesn’t matter in the grand scheme of things. Doesn’t matter for you and me, that is. Certain politicians are clearly still getting Botox and other essential (for them) services, while Chicago mayor Lori Lightfoot took one for the team and sought the services of her stylist when scientists warned her split ends might be directly responsible for worsening the virus’s spread in her beleaguered city. My inability to get a pedicure means that my toenails are growing around the tops of my toes, making it difficult to walk, but I’ve got nowhere to go anyway. I’m glad that months without a manicure mean I will soon be able to give those Indian mystics a run for their money as a record holder in the Guinness World Book.
support local businesses. Restaurants and bars are all closed, but I’m glad I can do my part to support these small business owners by getting huge, fat-laden carryout dinners almost every night. After months of carryout dinners I’m also glad to be the proud owner of a stylish set of matching black plastic food storage containers.
tackle needed projects around the house: I resolved to use this time to kick my to-do list into high gear, planning to clean and organize our basement, garage, utility drawer and every overstuffed closet in the house. I actually did clean out one closet that first week. That was before my new best buddies, Despair and Apathy, dragged me down to my permanent place in front of the TV, ass-nestled in the Barcalounger with an open box of Little Debbie Zebra Cakes. Whenever I start getting down on myself for not doing jack around this hell hole, all I have to do is open the door to that one clean, organized CoronaCloset and I feel glad.
appreciate that outside appearances don’t matter, part 2: The first week it made me sad to look into my closet crammed full of stylish clothing and shoes I would now have no place to wear. After months of living in one of three pairs of sweatpants, now when I look into that closet it’s a glimpse into a strange exotic land that you’ve read about but never visited. Before I crawl into bed around 3 am, since I now have my days and nights mixed up worse than a newborn baby, I have a strict rule of dropping the sweats-du-jour onto the floor and changing into my jammies. We must maintain standards. I’m glad that after this is all over I’ll have the chance to do more than my fair share to revive the economy, since I’ll need to replace my entire wardrobe. The Covid-19 (virus) tragedy has resulted in my Covid-15 (pounds) tragedy.
learn new technology: Now that just about everyone with an office job is working from home, even old people like me have had to embrace modern technologies like Go to Meeting, Zoom and Skype. Whenever my job requires me to see other people from my kitchen-table-turned-office space, I’m glad for Zoom’s Virtual Background which lets me superimpose a picture of a clean, organized workspace over the reality of the mountains of molding take-out containers which litter every dusty surface of my home. I’m doubly glad for the Virtual Dickey App. It was worth every penny of the extra $499 it cost to cover my greasy, two-tone bird’s nest with a smoothly styled hairdo, and lay a crisp, professional suit over the oversized sweat-shirt I’ve been living in. It used to be pink, is now a shade best described as “greige,” and the Ghosts of Carryouts Past have left stains on the bodice that form a road-map detailing my journey from productive member of society to apathetic, overweight hermit.
thank Essential Services. Some feel that certain governors have become petty dictators, drunk on the frighteningly unlimited power they have seized during this crisis, making god-like decisions on which places can be open and which can’t that range from questionable (flower stores) to incomprehensible (beaches) to unconstitutional (churches, synagogues and mosques). Others feel that it is perfectly reasonable for someone elected to cut ribbons and bestow fat contracts on political buddies (here in the Great State of Illinois, the governor’s mansion is also a stopping place on the way to the penitentiary) to get to declare that we must stay holed up in our basements for the next 18 months, or whenever said governor deems we can crawl out because life has become perfectly safe in every way. Despite these differences of opinion, I think we can all agree on the core industries that have been universally classified as Essential Services from day 1. In every jurisdiction throughout our country, throughout this pandemic, brave men and women have been working tirelessly, day after day, to bring us safely through this crisis. I’m glad to raise a glass in salute to these, the most essential of Essential Services; hospitals, police and fire departments, and liquor stores.
What makes you glad during the lock-down?