Facing the future without fear seems an insurmountable task right now. It becomes easier to take it in little bites, like starting on a giant pizza one hot mouthful at a time. Pretty soon the box is empty, and you are crumby, full of crumbs, crumbful. OK, we go on.

Fact 1. We all die. It is the how and when we worry about. Children mostly do not think of this fact. They play video games where they shoot up lots of villains, Space Invaders, Delta Force, Bad, or just Candy Crush and when they are done, they hit the reset button and they all are alive and play again. Unless you are from a war-torn country, and I know some of you are, most of us do not think death every day. But now we do.

Fact 2. There is no reset button for this pandemic. As my old drama teacher used to say, “Life is not a dress rehearsal, it is live and in living color.” Of course, that was after color television circa, 1965. I always say the entire world was in black and white before that. I may be wrong.

Fact 3. We do not know what the “new normal” is going to be. We have a lot of predictors who mostly speak assertively, “Yes, I have the answer, blah, blah, blah.” These are the same guys who thought we should all stop using plastic bags and only use cloth. We need to return over and over to the grocery store with drippy messes in our healthy cotton bags. Which we now know are full of bacteria and disease. I am for not putting plastic in the ocean, who could be so stupid? I reuse the plastic and dispose of it responsibly. The dump in the ocean people are the same ones that toss their garbage on the mesa instead of the dump.

Back to the “new normal,” yes, we are a little afraid. Our friends have not joined Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid but, we are now all wearing masks if we are smart. For me it is the new fashion statement. Black gloves, black mask, what every little former Catholic School girl should wear. What I miss when I shop once a week at Smith’s is the fact my friends do not recognize me. I recommend reusable buttons that have our name on them. We can print them forwards and backwards for those of us of advanced years. That way we can go in the restroom, look in the mirror and remember who we are. Remember the motto, “Better 12 devils you know than one you don’t.”

Fact 4. Things will never be just the same as before. It is an impossibility. Change is forever, you can not force the past onto your future. You can learn from it. People who lived through the depression of the 1930s never really came to trust banks again. They went to withdraw their savings and poof, it was all gone. They had no Federal Reserve to get it back. Now we do.

Japanese Americans, during World War II were gathered up, and had their homes, businesses, and bank accounts confiscated by the United States government. They were put in concentration camps and kept locked up for five years. It took decades to repay them and most were dead before it became known of their treatment. Sometimes life is not fair!

How can we prepare? Be smart, not just angry. Anger is a waste of time. We all have issues that fit into the “righteously angry” column. We need to work on solutions.

We can look up what has worked in the past to fast forward success into our future. Hard work, the best example of that is right in our neighborhoods, grocery workers, garbage pickup, street workers. How can we help them? Wear those darn masks and gloves if you can. Pack the garbage so it will not fall all over. Only take what you need at the store. Our ancestors got by with leaves not toilet paper. Of course, I recommend “Huggable.” Drive responsibly. Workers are fixing the highway, slow down. Cooperation and respect for those trying to give us aide are what we need. And if people still think you are part of the James Gang at the store, smile with your eyes and say, “Thank you.” Roaring Mouse, “Thank you for reading.” Out.

Jo White
Jo White

From 1966 to 1971, Jo attended the University of New Mexico and Memphis State University, earning degrees in Communications, English, Journalism, Speech and Drama with history minors. At UNM, her hero was Tony Hillerman. She taught high school and middle school in city, country, and private schools for 30 years. Roaring Mouse is in its 25 th year. She can be reached at jomouse@aol.com