Monthly Archives: October 2020

If round 2 comes, what are you gonna do about it?

Summary: As we head into fall and winter, the damn, stupid covid seems to be increasing. This time, we have a chance now to prepare for it and make it easier on ourselves. To find a purpose to carry us through, rather than cursing circumstance.

Fall has always seemed like a season of promise to me. You start with the fun and excitement of Halloween, then Thanksgiving, then it’s Christmas.

Though we don’t get them in Florida, there’s very little better than a crisp, cool fall morning and the sound of leaves crackling under my feet. It makes me feel alive.

Fall is awesome. Until this year.

Until 2020, that is…

This year’s promise seems to be another round of the damn, stupid Covid.

Governors are already warning about holiday gatherings and Europe is starting to shut down again. We may have to follow suit to one degree or another.

Autumn is coming. it’s time for Andrew Cuomo to be angry again.

To put it bluntly, that would suck. It wouldn’t be fair. It would be stupid. We’d be right to rebel against the suck, unfair, and stupidity. While science may be absolute, we’re emotional, gregarious people.

Yeah, it’s necessary and we should all wear them, but it’s still stupid.

We’re also resourceful people. It we have to do this, we’re better off doing it now than 40 years ago. While we’re sick of Zoom calls, imagine doing this without Zoom. Imagine trying to do this when work was at work and getting on the phone with someone in California would cost you a ton in long-distance fees.

Zoom fatigue sucks. But $100 long-distance bills (remember those?) suck more.

While vast chunks of the economy have been devastated, a lot of it can continue virtually. That has never been true in history until now.

We should stop a moment and realize that it could be a hell of a lot worse.

And then we should ask ourselves, if it does happen again–if this is a long, dark winter, what are we going to do about it?

The last time snuck up on us. We were making it up as we went. Now we have round 1 under our belts. And we know round 2 is coming. We can’t claim surprise this time.

It might be worthwhile to think now about what we’ll do then to save our sanity. Let’s assume we’re shut-ins again. What are we going to do so we get to the other side?

My changes started really small: I take a lot of notes and I’ve worked to make my cursive writing much more legible. It feels good to look at a page and not see chicken scratch.

Buoyed by that, I’ve started listening to leadership podcasts and reading books about ways to be better and more resilient. Right now, I’m reading a book about breathing correctly–most of us don’t. And to be honest, my diaphragm is kind of sore just now. But I slept until 6:30 for the first time I can remember this morning. It could be a coincident, but maybe not.

We are still free agents. No matter how bad this winter is (or isn’t), we have the ability to dictate our reaction to it. To find a purpose in getting through to make the burden just a little easier.

When this is over, we have the opportunity to look back on it and say “Boy, that sucked.”

Or we can look back and say “Yeah, it was awful, but look what I gained from it.”

It’ll be hard, maybe the most difficult thing, but if we can see this as a curse with an opportunity, it’s a lot better than seeing it as a curse.

If you’re American, whoever wins next week is your President

Four years ago Monday, I posted something similar to the title of this post on Facebook. Most people expected Hillary Clinton to win, so there was widespread agreement among my liberal virtual friends.

We’re four year older and…something. But some things remain the same.

If you’re an American, whoever wins next week’s election is your President.

One of the reasons I didn’t vote for President Trump for President is because he doesn’t take that view. You’re either with him, or you’re completely disloyal, a loser, a son of a bitch who needs to be fired.

Right now, civil war is dangerous hyperbole. The people itching for one are anti-American. But we’re closer than we’ve been at any point I can remember. Too many people will only accept their predetermined outcome for elections, their desired stance on legislative or judicial action. If American doesn’t decide the way they want, well, they’ll just take their toys and go home.

Of they’ll grab their tuns and make noise about executing the governor of Michigan. Or they’ll take over part of Portland and practice peace, love, and anarchy.

If we reach the point where the only American outcome is the one we want, if we only accept the candidates on our side as potential leader, we don’t need a civil war–we’re screwed already.

For the record, I’ve never voted for Donald Trump. I didn’t like him on The Apprentice (I may have hold my wife, he looked like a constipated frog sitting behind the boardroom table) (she was not impressed). And my mind was made up when he whined like a tired four-year-old after Megyn Kelly dared to ask him a hard question in a debate.

But once the election was decided, he became my President. I called him out when I thought he was wrong, dangerous, and even anti-American, but he was still my President.

If he wins next week, I’ll be disappointed. I’ll fear for our future.

I’ll say he’s my President. And I will be loyal in my opposition (a concept the President doesn’t seem to understand).

If Biden wins, I’ll welcome his change in tone and probably oppose just about every legislative and policy initiative that originates in the the White House.

And I’ll say he’s my President.

Because he is.

Justin Turner was wrong and selfish. I’m not sure I’d do better.

You’d think if one of the most storied franchises in a major sport ended a 32-year title streak, that would be the biggest story of the day. It’s 2020, so, of course you’d be wrong.

Justin Turner has been a key member of a Dodgers team that’s won its divisions eight years in a row and been to the World Series in three of the past four years. He’s one of the inspirational leaders of the team–a guy who rebuilt his career from nothing, having been cut from a very bad Mets teams in 2013.

Dodgers third baseman Justin Turner

If you ask the Dodgers players, no one (with the possible exception of star pitcher Clayton Kershaw) deserved to be out there celebrating than Turner.

Except Turner had an inconclusive Covid test, followed by a positive test. He was removed from the game in the eighth-inning and wasn’t on the field when the Dodgers beat the Rays, 3-1 to clinch the title.

Turner was quarantined and after initially staying away, went out to the field, first with a mask, then without, and violated all the social distancing requirements. Edited to add: Justin Turner was quarantined in the bubble for weeks with these guys. They had a group barbeque with the entire team the day before. Whatever risk was there after the Dodgers won, the same risk existed before.

The Dodgers have been in a bubble in Arlington, Texas since the post-season started, going only from the team hotel to the ballpark and back. Turner’s wife Kourtney was part of the bubble and he definitely violated protocol with her on the field (hey, stay classy).

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is justinturnerandwife.jpg
Turner and his wife Kourtney, after winning, without masks

Dodgers manager Dave Roberts had a bout with cancer in 2010, but has been cancer-free for nine years. Turner had his mask off when he posed with Roberts and the Commissioner’s trophy.

Turner (center) to the right of Dodgers manager Dave Roberts, a cancer survivor

Pandemic fatigue is becoming a bigger issue as we move into fall. People are tired of all of it–the social isolation, the not living their lives, the whole 2020 package.

The logical response is too damn bad. Suck it up buttercup. If you have to stay masked and socially distanced until 2037, damn well do it, you selfish bastard. Logically, you should socially distance, stay home, or face the consequences.

As evidenced by Turner’s actions, we’re not logical people. In general, the Dodgers seem to be okay with the risks Turner presented. They were tested and returned to Los Angeles yesterday. Major League Baseball is not, and is starting an investigation. Turner may see a suspension to start next year. The Dodgers may be disciplined, as well.

One player, presumably outfielder Joc Peterson, returned to LA separately, perhaps because of a test result.

Turner stayed in Texas.

I’d love to say that if I were Justin Turner, I’d stay away from my teammates, even if my teammates said not to. Three months ago, I would have.

But the fact is, I’m taking risks I didn’t take three months ago.

I’ve probably spent more time than I should outside with my running group for beer after our Thursday runs. I’ve sat in a local cafe and Panera to write and work (mask on) just to get out of the damn house. I left Panera this week when a group of seniors came in and did things like not cover both nose and mouth, and pulling down the mask to yell across the room.


In spite of some reports that the Covid is aerosolized, I run without a mask on, though early in the morning or in settings where no one is near me. Evenin my running group, I’m slow enough that I run alone.

Overall, I’m not doing everything I possibly can to stay clean.

It’s entirely possible that both Justin Turner and I are selfish assholes. It’s entirely possible people like him and me are making the risk go on longer. It’s entirely possible that you can remove it’s entirely possible from both of the preceding sentences.

Justin Turner should’ve stayed apart during the Dodgers’ celebration. I should’ve forgone the running group and the trips out to work and write.

I know this stupid virus could kill us. But damn, this stupid virus is killing me.

I’d like to do better, but I’m not.

How you feed your head will help you weather the storm

I’ve taken to listening to leadership podcasts to help change my mental approach to the damn stinkin’ Covid and change my mindset overall.

$@&* the Covid. $@&* it hard.

It’s not easy to change your mindset, but the podcasts are changing my viewpoint and opening me up to possibilities I hadn’t considered before (or considered and dismissed).

It’s cliched, but your mind is like your stomach. If you feed it crap, it’s gonna turn to crap. And parts of my viewpoint had turned into a steaming pile.

My mindset, 2020 version.

I want better than that, for myself, but also for you. So here’s some of the choice mental filet mignon I’ve consumed this week:

The damn stinkin’ Covid ain’t going anywhere, so we might as well make the best of it. This suggestion sounds defeatist, but it’s not.

The Vietnam vets who did best as POWs were the ones who took this approach. They didn’t deny that the situation sucked, but they decided they couldn’t control that situation, so they controlled their response to it.

That gave them a better sense of purpose and autonomy, even if they control was minimal. The approach most of us have taken has been incremental: if we can just get to Easter, July 4, Labor Day, Thanksgiving, etc., it’ll be okay. As each of those milestones has come and gone, it’s been a humiliating kick in the crotch (lyrics alert).

It’s gonna be here as long as it’s gonna be here.

Action alleviates anxiety. Collapsing on the couch to binge-watch all 77 seasons of Law & Order: SVU while you eat all of the ice cream isn’t action. Action is action.

Olivia Benson isn’t your soul mate. Neither is that case of Chunky Monkey.

It doesn’t have to be amazing action. It can be incremental. Walking for 20 minutes a day. Doing a puzzle. Playing an instrument. Writing a blog.

Doing something adds to your sense of autonomy.

We can figure out how to figure it out. Maybe the action you want to accomplish is overwhelming. Maybe you want to learn to play an instrument or finish a marathon (I do) or make the most complicated recipe you’ve ever seen.

None of these things can be done in one sitting. To expect to master them in one shot is, quite frankly, an insult to the people who have mastered them.

Figure out how to figure it out. Make a plan. Then execute the plan. Have the humility to suck at something new.

To time me running a mile, you need a calendar. I’m that slow. That’s okay. I weigh 16,000 pounds, so it’s hard to lug that weight around. I’ve figured out how to figure that out though, and with each day of working the plan, I get incrementally closer.

Actual tool to time me for a mile run.

It’s hard but you’re worth the effort. Changing your mindset is hard. You’re changing a deeply ingrained habit. When the shit hits the fan, there’s a well-worn path to your reaction. It’s comfortable and easy, if not useful. You have to do the uncomfortable work of re-mapping that path. It’s really hard, but you have to commit to being worth the effort.

Though most of my life, good enough was good enough. Excellence wasn’t a requirement. It’s easy. Comfortable. It doesn’t upset anyone and it leaves you ready for ice cream and Netflix after work.

And it’s bullshit.

Hello, bullshit my old friend…

This year already sucks bantha podo. it’s not like it can get incrementally worse if you try something different (unless you decide to try licking doorknobs).

Someday this will end. You’ll look back and judge what you did. How’s it gonna feel if you just lay on the couch in a pool of your own slobber?

This could be the hardest year you’ll ever know. Just getting by is very good. Is there room for more. Is there an opportunity to look back and say this year sucked, but look at what you did?

If you can look back with accomplishment, you’re less likely to look back with bitterness and disappointment.

You say RINO, I say patriot

A Facebook friend from my fitness days posted the following quote from former RNC chair Michael Steele, followed by a vehement disagreement.

According to the friend, Mr. Steele can remove the word conservative from the quote because a vote for Biden is a vote for socialism. Mr. Steele is a RINO (Republican in Name Only).

I respectfully disagree. I’m a conservative and I feel compelled to vote for Biden myself. Not because I love his stances.

I’ve been to Los Angeles and seen the tent cities under the freeways. I know there’s an app you can get in San Francisco so you know where to avoid piles of human feces because they don’t apply that law there. I know San Francisco DA Chesa Boudin touts how crime has dropped under his watch and that it’s hard to have an increase in crime when you don’t enforce laws against pooping in the streets and stealing less than $900. I understand that Boudin’s disciple George Gascon will probably take that brand of justice to Los Angeles.

I know the Covid shutdown regulations literally said you could throw and catch an American mini-football, but did not make the same allowance for a regular football.

I understand all of this, and I’m still voting for Joe Biden. I switched parties to vote for him in the primary so we wouldn’t have to choose between Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders.

As a conservative, I believe there are more important things than political ideology. Things like not dispersing gas on protestors so you can have a photo op with a Bible. Things like not going in front of the world and siding with Vladimir Putin over your own intelligence agencies.

Honoring Jesus? Cool. Gassing peaceful protestors to take a picture with a Bible? Not even close.

Things like always condemning people who will do violence on your behalf to other citizens, not telling them stand back, but to stand by.

The Proud Boys made President Trump’s “suggestion” to them part of their logo.

Things like acknowledging that in a fair election, you actually can lose and agreeing unambiguously to accept a loss in that election.

Sure the economy has been great. There have been important security advancements in the Middle East. Donald Trump has accomplished things as president, some of the substantial.

The cost of those accomplishments is too great, because the cost is to the Constitutional framework and freedoms this country is founded on.

When you’re the leader of a free society, it’s not your place to demand that media outlets fire reporters who don’t agree with you. It’s not your place to demand that sports leagues fire players who don’t do what you want them to do. It’s not your place to demean anyone who dares oppose your stances and policies. It’s not your place to use Twitter like a spoiled thirteen-year-old whose parents took all the controls off his phone.

In a free society, Colin “Benched for Blaine Gabbert” Kaepernick gets to kneel without the head of state demanding his job. Even if he is a schmuck.

Assuming Joe Biden is elected, any honeymoon I have with my liberal friends is likely to be short-lived, because I believe in reasonable regulation, not just more of it. I believe the government that governs least governs best. I believe that laws should protect everyone, and that while we absolutely need to protect all citizens, you don’t do that by making the district attorney an ally of the public defender’s office.

But I believe the man who currently holds the title of President is a bigger threat than the people who want to turn us into California.

I didn’t vote for Biden because I love socialism (democratic or otherwise). If I were socialist, I’d have voted for Bernie Sanders. I switched enrollment to vote against him.

“I believe in socialism for all! And for the last time, GET OFF! MY! LAWN!”

I voted for Biden because the cost of not doing so will cause incredible damage to the country I love.

Call me a socialist, communist, RINO, or just a big friggin idiot; I don’t care.

I believe everyone should vote their conscience. My conscience would not let me pull the lever for President Trump.

Because I’m a conservative who loves this country enough to make uncomfortable choices.

Winning ugly is the best kind of winning

My run today was a disaster–and a triumph. Let me explain.

I’m building back from a litany of injuries. It’s late October and the weather’s suitable for July. That’s to say, I’m pushing my pace and increasing the number of minutes I run to try to get back to where I was when the injury bug hit in August.

Today’s goal was 53 minutes. And I pushed my pace.

About two miles in, it became clear I wasn’t going to run 53 minutes at the pace I’d chosen, so I backed off and walked a little. Then I ran again, at a slower pace. After a couple of cycles of that, it became clear, this was not a path to success.

Forcing it wasn’t an option. I’ve already lost four months to injury this year and don’t want to lose any more. I also want to run tomorrow.

I’m reading a book called TOPGUN’s Top Ten by Guy Snodgrass, a former fighter pilot and instructor at the actual TOPGUN Naval Aviation school. One of his themes is that the standard is the standard. It is unflinching and unforgiving. I think he may have lifted this from the Pittsburgh Steelers.

I like that theme, when it’s applied reasonably. Being a jerk to myself and running myself into the ground or injury isn’t a reasonable application.

So if I wasn’t going to run 53 minutes and the standard is the standard, what does that leave?

Rather than call it, I made the 53 minutes. I walked briskly, about a 15-minute pace. I still made more than 4 miles by the time I got home–about half a mile less than I’d have otherwise covered. I got the work done in a way that allows me to do the work again tomorrow.

And I feel good about it.

You aren’t going to kick ass every single day. Some days, you have to adjust and improvise.

Anyone can succeed on a day when everything falls into place. It’s the days when you scratch out a victory that are most special. Being Americans in the 21st century, we have this expectation of domination. Winning ugly isn’t really a win, not completely.

I didn’t expect my body to be uncooperative today. Sure I was pushing the pace, but I did that twice during the week and it worked.

Winning ugly is when unforeseen complications come up and you reach back and find whatever you need to get to the finish line.

And if you’re thinking that really winning ugly would’ve been finding a way to finish the 53 minutes running, my bigger goal isn’t based on today. It’s reaching an ongoing training program and–if I can stay free of injury–finishing a marathon.

That goal’s better served by winning ugly today and worrying about tomorrow’s run when I get there.

Understanding life is chaotic will free you to handle the chaos

Because I’m dissatisfied with parts of my approach to life, I’ve been reading and listening to leadership and self-development resources over the past couple of weeks.

I won’t say they’ve allowed me to make radical adjustments–that would be silly. You don’t change thoughts decades of bad thought by reading a couple of books. It took time to establish those thoughts and you get to give yourself time to change them. (In other words, change takes time; you get to mess it up along the way; be kind to yourself.)

But I have new concepts to consider.

The first, courtesy of the Unbeatable Mind podcast, is the concept of VUCA–volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity. If you could describe 2020 with one buzzword-packed synonym, this would be it.

Mark Divine, the unbeatable mind behind Unbeatable Mind

Through most of my life, I’ve looked for ways to avoid VUCA situations. As the great Branch Rickey said, “Luck is the residue of design.” If you do your work up front, if you plan, prepare, and follow the rules, you’ll avoid all that crap.

Branch Rickey

If 2020 has taught us anything, it’s the folly in that approach. Talk to anyone in the travel, events, restaurant, or entertainment industry about the lunacy of that approach.

Luck is the residue of design, but design doesn’t guarantee luck. Things happen. Instead of seeing VUCA as something to be avoided, what if you saw it as the norm? What if we accept it as the water we’re swimming in?

What? Am I insane? It’s hard enough dealing with that crap, and now we’re supposed to assume them as some sort of norm? Way to blow a Sunday to crap.

But what if you did that? What if you assumed there were going to be unexpected obstacles? What if you saw them as the norm, instead of an abberation?

How would that be different than what most of us have been dealing with in one form or another since March?

You still do the same things to prepare. Unbeatable Mind is driven by a guy named Mark Divine, a former Navy SEAL. Those guys are disciplined. They plan, train, and prepare. But they also understand what Prussian Field Marshal Helmuth von Moltke meant when he said that no battle plan survives contact with the enemy.

Field Marshal Helmuth von Moltke the Elder, a wise man with a bitchin mustache

If you’re still standing, then this year has taught you that you can make it when your plans turn into a steaming pile. And maybe in some ways, you can thrive.

2020 in one picture: a big, steaming pile

In February, my writing situation was horrible. I was trying, but nothing worked. Whatever I put on a screen was putrid and the discipline of writing every day wasn’t there.

So I started to write this blog. Since mid-March, I’ve published at least one post every day. Since the beginning of February, I’ve missed seven days.

Some of the content, especially early on, was horrid. But it’s rejuvenated my writing. In addition to these posts, I’ve started a complex, multi-layered novel. For a first draft, it doesn’t suck.

Other areas of my life with the Covid haven’t been so stellar (and I’m hardly alone in that). But my writing situation has improved immensely.

I bet if you look hard enough, you’ll find something, too.

When you find it, hold onto it. It’s proof that when the battle plan turns to crap, you can produce. You can move forward. You can do something.

Once you understand your power in the face of volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity, you can extend that power. The key is to believe in yourself and build up your network. Find some people you can test your theory with, who’ll rally to you when you need it.

And then when uncertainty occurs–and it always does–believe that when it passes, you’ll be standing on the other side of it. And then trust your ability to be smart and resourceful.

Lets the past seven months be your proven track record. There are no style points. There’s just making it through.

If you’re reading this, congratulations. You qualify.

Race is not a valid reason to void the sale of the Mets

In spite of the team’s poor showing, 2020 has been an exciting year for Mets fans. The team is being sold by its current tight-fisted, micromanaging owners, the Wilpons, to Steve Cohen, a hedge fund investor worth $14. billion. The sale was agreed to and was sailing through Major League Baseball’s ownership process–until this week.

The team’s lease with CitiField give Bill de Blazio the right to block a sale if the new owner cannot be a felon or someone who controlled a felon. Although Cohen has not been convicted of a crime, his firm, SAC Capital Partners was found to have engaged in insider trading in 2014 and one of his employees, Matthew Martoma, was convicted of insider trading and sentenced to nine years in prison.

There’s no indication de Blazio’s office is doing more than due diligence. They’ve not signaled they intend to block the sale.

On ESPN’s First Take, hosts Molly Qerim Rose and Max Kellerman, said de Blazio should block the sale. Not because of the charges against Cohen’s company or employee, but because the other finalists in the purchase, Alex Rodriguez and Jennifer Lopez, are people of color. And because, to paraphrase Rose’s argument, little girls of color would benefit to see a woman of color own a baseball team.

The terms of the lease were intended to prevent the city from being embarrassed by a felon owning one of their baseball teams. Rose and Kellerman never mentioned the potential ethical issues in their discussion. Their entire argument had nothing to do with the lease terms or whether Martoma qualified as a person under Cohen’s control.

Potential Mets owner Steve Cohen

If ratified, Cohen would become the wealthiest owner of a Major League franchise. Although A-Rod or J-Lo are megawealthy, there are concerns that if they bought the Mets, they’d lack the money to invest in payroll and infrastructure. (The sale price of the team is $2.4 billion.)

Other potential Mets owners Jennifer Lopez and Alex Rodriguez

Rose and Kellerman dismissed such concerns, pointing to Marlin’s owner Derek Jeter as an example–even though Jeter did just that as owner of the Miami Marlins. Kellerman, in particular, brought no backing to his argument, beyond nah, that’s not gonna happen.

You can’t argue that having JLo own the team would open up a new, younger fanbase, who would follow the team because of her, but that’s not what they brought up. They didn’t bring up anything to say they would be better owners and make the team more competitive.

If they don’t have the money to field a competitive team, little girls will continue to be Yankees fans, because who wants to root for a team that makes the postseason once every 15 years?

Cohen, on the other hand has already indicated he’ll revamp the team’s infrastructure, adding substantially to its analytics department, and increase payroll.

He’s also said he’d pay season workers about $500 a month this off-season to help offset the harm done by the lack of work for them during a season that featured empty stadiums. One would imagine that at least some of those people are people of color.

The entire discussion was based solely on A-Rod and JLo’s race, and the fact that little girls of color would benefit and it would be kind of cool for the Mets to have minority owners.

Either Cohen is a viable owner of the Mets or he’s not. His worthiness is not dependent on A-Rod and J-Lo’s race or whether little girls would have a new role model.

In any other context, what Rose and Kellerman did would be considered racism.

After the election someone has to stop being furiously right

In an episode of How I Met Your Mother, Ted Moseby was infatuated with a woman his friends hated. After they told him she talked way too much, his illusion was shattered and no matter what, he never saw her the same way again.

In a similar way, political differences have shattered illusions about friends and loved ones. Important relationships have become strained and even vaporized because the moral gaps implied by that person’s political stance have shattered the illusion of their decency. And now you can never see them the same way again.

At some point, the 2020 Presidential election will be decided. Some people will be elated. Some people will be furious. Whether you’re victory dancing or righteously indignant, there’s a good chance someone close to you will epitomize the other side when it’s over.

Jeanna Safer is a Democrat. She’s been a practicing psychologist for 45 years. She’s also married to a senior editor for The National Review, a staunch Republican. Her experience in that relationship has led her to write the book I┬áLove You, But I Hate Your Politics: How to Protect Your Intimate Relationships in a Poisonous Partisan World.

In a recent Wall Street Journal interview, she talks about how to keep important relationships in the current political environment. There’s nothing earth-shattering in her advice, but sometimes you need to hear people say it.

It’s unrealistic to think the divide will end when someone wins in a couple of weeks. Immediately after the election, a lot of people will be spitting-mad angry. A lot of them will be gleeful–and probably sore winners.

At that point, individually, we have to weigh things. Is the outcome of the election, for better or worse, more important than a relationship? Is rubbing that stupid loser’s face in it more important than continuing the friendship or keeping peace in the family? Can you really be cordial to someone who’s helped usher in a new era of American darkness?

If your car broke down on a rainy night and someone with the other guy’s bumper sticker offered you help, would you take it? If the broken-down car had the other guy’s bumper sticker, would you stop and help?

If the friend or family member who loudly ripped your candidate had stage-four cancer and would be gone in a few weeks, would you visit them?

Those aren’t intended to be leading questions. They’re decisions we’ll need to make. If your principles are right and vital to you, maybe you can’t reach across that divide. Maybe they have to be dead to you.

On the current path, we’ll eventually dissolve into a red-and-blue society, where we only talk, love, or even associate with like-minded individuals. Maybe that’s your dream.

The cost of getting there seems high, though.

After the election, we all have to make those choices. We can vent our righteous anger at the person nearby who epitomizes everything wrong, or we can look for ways to try to restore relationship.

If we don’t want this future, someone has to step back from being furiously right.

You get to choose the former. But if you don’t you don’t get to complain that no one’s interested in the latter.

Survive this stupid year and you’re a bad ass. No one can take that away.

Wearing a mask is stupid. Staying home day after day until freaking infinity is stupid. Having to spend 14 days worrying after each interaction with people outside your house is stupid. Getting sucked into a fight because your politics don’t perfectly align with a supposed friend or family member…stupid.

Everything about this stupid year is stupid.

I haven’t lost my job. I don’t know anyone who’s gotten the Covid, much less been hospitalized or died of it. And yet this year’s been a colossal grind. Most people have had it harder–some, a lot harder.

If we went back to October 2019 and described October 2020, to our then-selves, the most logical explanation for our story would be a massive infestation of hallucinatory drugs.

“How the hell are you dealing with that?” our then-selves would ask.

We’re angry. Scared. Melting down at Costco or Trader Joe’s or on Facebook every now and again. But we’re here, and we’re largely functioning. Society has been strained, but it hasn’t broken down. That ain’t nothing.

It’s okay to be weary. It’s been seven months like nothing we’ve ever seen in our lifetimes. We don’t know how much longer it’ll be until things start to seem normal again.

It’s okay that we’re afraid. Living entails fear. It’s on page 1094 in the contract. Attachment J. Subsection 16.33(a).

This year is a massive injustice, with extra injustices on top. Like big roses made of rancid frosting on top of a spoiled cake. It’s not fair. None of it is fair.

And yet here we are. Beaten but not broken. Pressed by trouble all around, but not crushed. Despairing but not hopeless.

When I used to run Tough Mudder, it was hard. Sometimes you got your ass kicked. But at the end, you got the beer, the headband, and the t-shirt. I’m out of shape now, but I still have those t-shirts. I’ll have them forever because no matter what, I did that. It’s a stupid shirt, but it symbolizes what I accomplished.

Damn right I earned this.

No one’s going to give you a beer and a t-shirt for finishing this year, but they should.

You should be proud of the strength and perseverance required for you to make it to the end. Even if you stagger across the finish, there aren’t style points. You’ll be dirty and tired and dinged up, but you will have crossed that line.

And that is an accomplishment. Sometimes weathering the storm is the greatest victory.

Rather than concentrating on how hard things were, concentrate on how resilient you were.

This is some bad ass stuff. And when you get done, you will have earned a badge that no one can take away.