This Sucks. Let’s Not Forget That.

Sofa“Sofa” by Gagandeep is licensed under CC BY 4.0

Nobody needs to be reminded that this sucks. No seeing family or friends, no restaurants, no bars, no sports, no concerts, no gym. Nothing to do but wash your hands and try to avoid the news. And now we’re all supposed to wear masks?! I once heard an ex-convict describe prison as long stretches of boredom interrupted by brief moments of terror. I’ve heard war described the same way. Not to compare the current health crisis to prison or war. Most of us feel anxiety, not terror. And at least prisoners get to lift weights and do their secret prison gang handshakes and stuff. Well, they used to anyway…

So there’s a lot to be unhappy about, and that’s why it’s nice to see so many examples of people coming together and being good to each other. People are finding creative ways to stay connected, checking in on each other, calling home more often, and making sure the most vulnerable have a helping hand when they need it most. I’m glad that there are plenty of people reminding us to stay positive.

But that being said, I think it’s both healthy and wise to take a few minutes a day to remember that this totally fucking sucks.

Before you stop reading, and if you haven’t already, understand that my point is not to remind you that this sucks – I know you don’t need the reminder. My point is that you shouldn’t go out of your way to avoid dwelling on it just a bit. We need to remember how bad this sucks. My greatest fear is that we grow complacent. There’s a lot to grow complacent with, a lot we might get used to. I hope we don’t, and the best defense we have is to keep on thinking that, man oh man, this really sucks.

Don’t get complacent with sitting on your ass watching Netflix or – worse yet – Hulu all day long. It’s fine to do that when there’s nothing else to do, when you’re just easing the boredom and waiting this damned thing out. But remember that sitting on your ass and watching TV all day sucks – it’s a vapid and depressing existence that’s easy to fall into. (Hell, I watched a Cowboys/Panthers game from 2006 the other day…). So go ahead and binge watch, but don’t forget that it sucks. Yes, even Tiger King – it’s pretty good as far as Netflix documentaries go, but compared to going to dinner with friends, or going to a baseball game or a museum or a concert, Netflix documentaries suck. So watch Tiger King if you haven’t already, but don’t let yourself forget that it’s nowhere close to being a great life experience. It’s just the best you can do right now.

And speaking of concerts, don’t buy into the whole musicians live-streaming concerts from their living rooms thing. I’ve watched a couple of them and I appreciate what these artists are trying to do – they’re doing their best. But compared to a concert it’s…well, it’s not really a concert. If this is the future of live entertainment the future is even bleaker than I fear. So enjoy them because they’re what we have at the moment. But remember that compared to real live entertainment, live streams suck.

And then there’s politics. Who would’ve thought our politics could suck even more than they did a month ago? This is the one that really frightens me – if history has taught us anything its taught that governments amass power in times of crisis, and that power is rarely given up when the crisis ends. So let’s not forget that we are now forced to look to our ruling class — the very stable geniuses we elected because they were good at making speeches and using social media — to lead us through a world-wide health and economic catastrophe only because they’re our only option right now. You confront a crisis with the government you have, not the government you want. Let’s not forget about the government we want, and — please, I beg of you — let’s never forget all the ways that the government we have has sucked at this.

So do your best to stay positive, but don’t get complacent. Do all the stuff you should do – keep in touch, exercise, go outside, eat something healthy, try not to pay too much attention to the news, and think about how good we all had it just a few weeks ago. After all there’s a lot of negativity out there. And don’t you forget it.

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