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  • Jody Kussin

In Times Like These #27 4-10-2020

Remember that great song from RENT – 520,600 minutes…how do you measure, measure a life? Well – I have some suggestions of late. I am measuring it in loads of laundry (my large detergent bottle noted that it covers 160 loads – and it is almost empty– is that even possible on day # who knows?) I am measuring it in the decrease of vitamins in the vitamin container, because once these run out, I’m not sure I can get them, having yet to even ONCE master ‘online ordering.’ Sigh. I’m measuring in number of socks eaten by the dog, and no longer am I even attempting to wear matching pairs. And for sure I’m measuring in amount of bird food consumed, because despite (because of?) the rain, we are currently serving 520,620 birds daily.


Counting minutes, or even days, has its ups and downs. Most likely we should stop and focus on the day by day, as it’s hard to remember the day of the week, let alone the date on the calendar. In these first days of April I do wonder – is there such a thing as too much virtual celebrating? Passover – Easter- Ramadan – birthdays – anniversaries – quincenarios – sweet 16s – wedding showers…The online celebrations somehow make ‘partying’ feel more compacted and condensed than when we were back in the days of our real lives, in person, physically planning and participating in joyful events. Perhaps that’s because in person, we limited ourselves in saying ‘yes’ to only so many invites, but in the cyber world, we figure, ‘why the heck not?’ and thus we attend more celebrations. It’s both lovely and lonely as for some, scrolling through social media feeds and seeing that EVERYONE has screen shots of multiple person parties results in a sense of extreme sadness and pain and for some, being one of many tiny little squares on a zoom screen feels more like life is a hologram than life is a cabaret my friend.


Times are tough. It’s especially tough, of course, for those families in life/death situations. The rest of us are grappling with much fewer challenging things. For instance, on the non-life-threatening front, many things are quickly becoming ‘toooo hard.’ It’s very onerous to keep up with the chores. Because do you know what happens after you wash the floor? An hour later your kids have spilled chocolate milk on it and your spouse has dripped wine on it and you tipped over the coffee and it went into every crease and crevice in the hardwood in addition to specifically crawling under your built in fridge that no one will ever move. And do you know what happens when you clean up the playroom? An hour later the puppets are mixed in with the dolls and the Legos are spread out in no discernible pattern other than the one sure to result in stabbing the bottoms of your bare feet as you return to pick things up again.


On a plus note, let’s remember another great song. By Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, called “Teach Your Children.” A fabulous often overlooked part of this song is that it’s not only about the legacy we give in raising our children, it’s also about the role our children play in raising up us parents. This is particularly poignant in these times, when we rely on our kids to play IT techy teachers to us, when we need them to make it so the tv screen shows the zoom feed and when we need them to translate texting letters into words (WFHWK – working from home with kids – has its advantages.)


And you, of tender years, can't know the fears that your elders grew by, And so please help them with your youth, they seek the truth before they can die.


Teach your parents well, their children's hell will slowly go by, And feed them on your dreams the one they pick, the one you'll know by.


Don't you ever ask them why, if they told you, you will cry, so just look at them and sigh and know they love you.

As the mom and aunt of many young adult millennial kids, I have been taught lots. And often they express pride in my new-found skill set. The most recent influence was their encouragement of me to ‘drink a little.’ Having given up alcohol AND coke zero over the past years, I had very few vices left. I gave them up due to sugar and chemical content, but honestly, I’ve never stopped missing them. My collective child mentorship group were very supportive when I opened a mini bottle of champagne located on the top shelf of the garage fridge, and when I not only drank it, but thoroughly enjoyed it. I sent a text. Or maybe a snapchat. Or Instagram. For sure I did NOT make a tik tok dance, but after a few sips, I could have! Perhaps I posted it on WhatsApp and Facebook. Any which way, they were highly complementary and said, ‘SEE – we told you – a little alcohol goes a long way to peace of mind. Go for it!’ Teach your parents indeed!

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