CSotD: Coping, and doing better

Graeme MacKay offers some advice for those working from home.

Several decades ago — the kids are in their 40s now — I used to write at home and manage kids, so my patience with people who cartoon about the impossibility of that is fairly limited, though I guess it’s easier if you’ve been doing it all along.

Plus most of my coping mechanisms then had to do with goofing with the kids during the day and doing most of my serious writing after they’d gone to bed at night, which worked when I was writing for a monthly magazine while attempting to be JD Salinger.

By the time I was writing on more immediate deadlines, they were off at school for most of the day, so that when I dismiss the issues, well, I’m not being all that honest.

And I’ll admit that I’m glad to be both childless and single now because having someone else kicking around the place while I’m channeled in on my writing — or trying to be — would drive me nuts.

Or to drink.

The other day I mentioned the female TV hosts who are doing their own makeup at home and how much more natural they seem, which is good.

On the other hand, when you hire someone for their ability to be outrageous, leaving them to their own devices may raise issues beyond whether every hair is in place.


Oh well. Some day, when this is all over, it could be the basis for another remake of a classic film.


And, no, I’m not in the mood to cut anyone a lot of slack. As Benjamin Slyngstad suggests, we’re about to witness the meeting of a medical ship with a showboat and I’ve already heard a naval veteran grouse about the absurdity of kissing a 900-foot ship and the potential for someone to fall off the pier in the attempt.

But even if we grant that Dear Leader simply meant he wanted to be there to bid the ship good-bye, his need to be at the scene has certainly ramped up since the days when he could have gone to look at boats in the Mekong River.

Maybe I’m just a grumpy old man (that’s highly likely), but I got this thing from the CDC in the mail yesterday and couldn’t help but wonder if Dear Leader could find their offices on a map, much less attend a meeting and help shape their guidelines.

And it occurred to me that I have had 13 presidents in my lifetime and this is the first time I’ve seen one feel compelled to make a set of guidelines appear to be his own inspiration.

Perhaps because wise leaders pass the credit around on my grandfather’s wise theory:

I have been in gatherings of “big shots” where one after another claimed credit for an idea or an accomplishment, and none of them were very convincing. The very fact that they considered it necessary to talk about it merely served to highlight their own doubts as to whether they were getting the idea across.

I knew a superintendent of a mine who made it a point to disclaim authorship for any new or novel way of doing the various underground jobs. It usually got to the point where the visitor he was escorting through the mine decided that he was actually lying and that he was involved in most of them. I’ve used this system on occasion, too. In a word, it pays to forget about “I” and use “We” or “They.”

I quote my grandfather a lot. Trump apparently didn’t even know his grandfather died of the Spanish Flu.

Not the only difference between us, I hope.


Juxtaposition of the Day

(Graeme Bandeira)

(Peter Brookes)

I don’t know what sparked this pair of cartoons in Britain, but I’d trade either one of them for the flood of medical-workers-as-super-hero panels I’ve seen.

Fifty-one doctors in Italy are dead of a virus they almost certainly encountered while attempting to save others, and I’ve got three family members currently in the business.

Are they heroes? Sure. Do they need equipment more than they need praise? Yeah.

Heroes do what they do because that’s who they are. In fact, I was talking to Eldest Son last night, being brought up to date on their situation.

I told him I was less concerned than I might be, because before he was a trauma nurse, he was in the Navy, fighting fires and doing ship-boardings in the Gulf, and he was a volunteer firefighter before that. All that after he was a ‘keeper on his high school soccer team who prayed for penalty kicks because that was when things got really fun.

I’m done worrying about him, because he’s a stickler for worrying about himself, but I do worry about sending him and people like him into situations where they don’t have what they need to do the job right, and safely.

Proud Papa Moment: He was 19 and new to the volunteer fire department just at the time entrepreneurs were setting up cranes for bungee-jumping. We drove by one and he looked up and said, “You want adrenalin? Walk into a burning building. It lasts a lot longer and you’re doing something that matters.”

His colleagues are largely cut from the same cloth, and, whether they swashbuckle about it or just go about the job quietly, they’re obsessed with doing things that matter.


Juxtaposition of the Future



(Chris Riddell)

I don’t want things to ever get back to normal.

Normal is how we got here.


6 thoughts on “CSotD: Coping, and doing better

  1. The Coronavirus Guidelines, sent to every address in the U.S.,
    is a Trump2020 campaign mailer paid for with public funds.

  2. D.D. Degg— yep, that and the “invitation” to contribute to his campaign went right in the circular file.

  3. I don’t have children around when I’m working from home… watching Jimmy Fallon try to do his show with a disgruntled two-year-old has been as close as I need to get to that.

    As for the Trump coronacampaign mailer, everyone I know is annoyed by it. My first thought upon taking it out of the mailbox was that somebody on his staff must have read “The Ugly American.” At least the bit where the central character realizes that the Viet Cong were seizing the bags of rice U.S. was delivering and marking them as having come from the VC.

  4. I was happy to receive the Trump Coronavirus guidelines-
    needed some extra toilet paper.

  5. All that work and nobody noticed the typo. It should be

    President Trump’s Coronavirus:
    Guidelines for America

  6. I found the guidelines less unappealing once I Sharpied out “President Donald Trump”. That worked better than redrawing a hurricane map.

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