I’ve been reading your stuff for a while now… And I wanted to offer a gentle word from one author to another.
Please take a break from themes involving COVID-19, I suspect other people like me are getting sick of you writing about it. Truthfully it is getting very old. Just a little professional advice.
Well, the first thing I owe you is an apology. I am sincerely sorry. This is quite embarrassing, and I feel ridiculous because what you say is absolutely true. I freely admit it.
So do you know what I did today?
I heeded your professional advice. That’s right. Today, keeping with your smart suggestion, I tried NOT to think about COVID-19. Not even once. To distract myself I went Christmas shopping at a local store.
No sooner had I pulled into the store’s parking lot than I was forced to wait in a long line of cars. Because, you see, the storefront is closed to physical shoppers and person-to-person business.
Luckily, my wife had already shopped online, so all I did was pick up our order. It was easy. An employee wearing a clear plastic Darth-Vader-style face shield opened my vehicle door and placed bags into my backseat.
This is called “touchless” shopping. No money exchanged hands. There were no smiles. Not even a “Merry Christmas.” The employee only said, “Stay safe.”
“Safe?” I chuckled. Obviously this employee hadn’t read your helpful email. So I informed her that people are “sick” of “themes involving COVID-19,” and that this was all getting “very old,” so she should quit harping on it. I told her this was my professional advice.
She took it well. I hope insurance will cover my shattered windshield.
Next, I went to a favorite lunch spot, a place I’ve been frequenting for years. But, sadly, they’re closed and the building is for sale. Turns out they couldn’t pay their bills when the pandemic hit.
There was a phone number in the window for interested buyers. So I dialed it. When the business owner answered, I gave him the same tidbit you gave me—I told him to quit referencing the topic of You Know What.
“Everyone’s sick of hearing about it, so shut up,” I gently offered. “Just a little professional advice.”
He thanked me for this wisdom and told me to stay put because he wanted come over to thank me personally for this helpful advice.
But I was in a hurry, so I left to visit the gas station before he arrived. When I got there, I noticed something unusual. After each customer drove away, an attendant would scrub each pump’s handles and credit card keypads with alcohol towelettes.
“What are you doing?” I asked the attendant.
“I’m disinfecting the pumps.”
I openly cackled, then I offered him your wisdom. I told him how annoying this was all getting. “Just some professional advice,” I insisted.
He was extraordinarily grateful. He thanked me by showing me one of his most professional digits.
So I was making friends all over the place today.
Later, I went to the library to return a few books. The librarian met me at the door with an infrared thermometer laser gun. She was wearing a mask and big rubber mitts.
She stopped me and said, “I gotta take your temperature before you enter, sweetie.”
“Why?” I asked.
After she explained herself, I gave her your professional advice. I told her people were fed up with hearing a particular word that rhymes with “BOVID-19,” and she should simply avoid using it. “It’s getting very old,” I said.
She smiled and suggested I store my professional advice in a well-known cavity.
Inside the library were a few school kids who were taking some sort of class. The children were seated about 12 feet apart, which was almost sad to see.
Do you remember when we were kids? Remember how we were always messing around and having fun? Well, these kids weren’t doing that. They looked lonely. It was like a funeral.
The teacher told me that most students are starved for basic human interaction. “Many kids are dealing with clinical depression,” she went on. “Their mental health is being affected by this.”
Boo hoo. I told the teacher to suck it up. Quit pouting. We’re all tired of hearing about it. Then I let her have your professional advice.
Boy, oh, boy. I didn’t know No. 2 pencils could be so dangerous.
What a busy and productive day I’ve had. When I finally got home, I received a call from my mother. She’s been sick recently. My sister says she hasn’t seen Mama ever cough and hack so hard. Come to think of it, almost everyone I know has been sick. We were all pretty worried about Mama because she has a compromised immune system.
Oh, but wait. There I go again. Repetitive themes.
Thankfully, my mother is feeling much better and making a great recovery. So I shared with her your advice. I told Mama exactly what you told me. Verbatim. Letter for letter. I told her to quit blabbing about “it” because everyone is sick of hearing about this dumb old virus. I told her to explore some new themes.
And do you want to know something? My mother hasn’t hauled off and swatted my hindparts that hard in nearly 40 years.
In a way, you could say this was Mama’s professional advice.
And it helped me immensely.