• Jody Kussin

In Times Like These #29 4-12-2020

We people are busy. Busier than you’d think, during a pandemic. And I’m not referring to our heroes and angels, who indeed, are 100% swamped saving lives to make sure we have access to bread and eggs and also those working in hospitals with sick and dying patients.

Not to mention you, your children, your ‘cell mates.’ Everyone has a lot going on.

What are we doing with our time? Well, one exhausting endeavor happening the world over is research. It’s serious work.

12-year olds everywhere are researching ‘how to murder your parents in a safe way during COVID-19’ and 17-year olds are googling ‘how to surf porn, find a private moment, and clear my browser history quickly enough to switch back to virtual school in a second’s notice.’

Long term committed couples are investigating sites like, ‘how to prepare for a divorce even though you know that’s not what you want but researching it makes you feel better’ and ‘how and why to find your spouse attractive after 30 years and 30 days in quarantine.’ Baby boom post shelter at home? I’m thinking not.

Melancholy is hitting. Despite our forthcoming lovely weather, we are starting to feel the blues, if not also sing them. Brittney Spears is experiencing a come back (“my loneliness is killing me…”) as are The Animals (“we gotta get outta this place, if it’s the last thing we ever do….”)

The Spring holidays of Passover and Easter are behind us. Ramadan has not yet begun. School has NOT been cancelled. Instead, academic requirements are re-emerging post Spring Break with longer hours and more assignments, given that faculty ‘had time’ during their ‘vacation’ to prep and create assignments that make sense in these times:

Briefly describe ONE specific historical similarity between the internal migration patterns in the period 1910–1940 and the internal migration patterns in the period 1941–1980 and why anyone cares about that when we cannot find Clorox wipes in 2020.


Although literary critics have tended to praise the unique in literary characterizations, many authors have employed the stereotyped character successfully. Select one work of acknowledged literary merit and in a well-written essay, show how the conventional or stereotyped character or characters function to achieve the author’s purpose in 2020 when we essentially all are becoming stereotypes of ourselves.

And, for preschool:

How many birds are found below? Remember birds? They fly. Build nests. Lay eggs. Ok, never mind. How many rolls of toilet paper are found below? Ok, never mind….

So back to basics please. Do not sweat the small stuff, as ‘they say,’ and, at this point, it is either ALL small stuff or else we all are living some bizarre dream where nothing makes sense. So given the options, let’s call it small stuff. And in our fear, let’s just be still. Every now and then. Slow your own heart rate.

Adopt the LET’S BE STILL lyrics of The Head and the Heart:

You can get lost in the music for hours honey, you can get lost in a room We can play music for hours and hours, but the sun'll still be coming up soon

The world's not forgiving of everyone's fears The days turn into months the months turn into years So just for the moment, let's be still

They're tearing down so we can rebuild And all this time Is just circles in my mind So just for a moment just one moment Just for a moment let's be still

Maybe not as good as Brittney Spears circa 1998 (?), but…. inspiring, nonetheless. Oh, baby baby.

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