Opinion | Biff America: Mask on pants off
The Q-tip was so far up my nose that I felt around back to search for an exit point.
The spring of 2020 came in like a lamb and went out like a grizzly bear. We all began the year looking towards spring, summer and the months ahead. Who could have guessed that by May you would be encouraged to wear a mask to a bank and could get arrested for coughing?
I’m not even going to try putting a “look on the bright side” perspective on this 2020 dumpster fire. It has been difficult for all. And life changing/terrible for others.
But I will go as far to say being quarantined to only 10 miles from your home is a heck of a lot more pleasant here in Colorado than in the Bronx. And by the same token, though I have missed the occasional fist bumps, perhaps we finally agree that obligatory handshakes of the western world should go the way of the lawn dart.
It is easy to overlook the good things you see with your own eyes and focus on the idiocy sometimes visible on social media. At least from my vantage point, along with the rare freak-outs, there was a prevailing sense of “we’re all in this together” attitude in America. Social services, food banks and various federal, state and local programs stepped up to help mitigate the sting.
Before I go any further, I want to thank all those folks who risked their health to provide essential services while the rest of us hunkered down with bourbon and Netflix. So, to all the cops, firefighters, postal and delivery employees, health care and grocery store workers: thank you. Oh, and also a shout out to pharmacists, liquor store employees and dispensary workers (budtenders).
It is amazing how quickly odd things can become the new normal: life-like Zoom meetings, and one way traffic on grocery store aisles (I will admit to occasionally walking backwards). I actually realized a life long dream last Saturday by attending a virtual wedding wearing no pants. A year ago, if scientists and doctors had told me all of this I would not have believed them. Unfortunately, some still don’t believe them — usually the same folks who believe Jesus rode dinosaurs.
As a rule of thumb, at least initially, how serious folks took this crisis was determined both by politics and age. Granted there were exceptions but (again initially) it seemed the conservatives and the young were more cavalier. Since I’m neither, I took it seriously. I am part of the high risk populations — I’m older, have lung and sinus issues (from a past life) and a younger wife who has never been mistaken for Florence Nightingale.
In addition to being in the higher risk category, I also have the double whammy of being part of the “worried well.” In other words, a hypochondriac. So every sneeze, cough and sniffle has me sitting down and writing out my will and showing my mate where we keep our vacuum cleaner. It seems the pollen and allergies has been particularly bad this year, so my runny nose and watery eyes, coupled with sweating on hot bike rides, makes my face looks like a glazed donut.
After a few weeks of that, I was convinced I had either COVID-19 or leprosy. So, as a concession to caution and with the goal of being allowed to move my bed in from the garage, I went in for testing.
The nurse, though dressed like she was handling nuclear waste, was pleasant. She stuck a Q-tip, attached to a broom handle, up my nose; I was unsure if she planned to withdraw it or if I was expected to pull it out the other end. I would not call it pleasant but it was quick, easy and free (coincidently a valid description of my bachelorhood).
The good news is that I’m fungus free. Or, to use our president’s words describing his results, “I tested positively toward negative” (true quote).
It is my wish and belief that by following the advice of the scientists and doctors, we will get through this. Hopefully, we will look back on the days of social distancing and masks with the thought, “Yeah it was bad, but it beat the alternative.” I just hope I can once again get used to wearing pants to weddings.
Jeffrey Bergeron’s column “Biff America” publishes Mondays in the Summit Daily News. Bergeron has worked in TV and radio for more than 30 years, and his column can be read in several newspapers and magazines. He is the author of “Mind, Body, Soul.” Bergeron arrived in Breckenridge when there was plenty of parking and no stop lights. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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