A Wilson Times Co. publication · Serving Southern Nash County Since 1947

Embracing a 'New Normal' that's bright, not bleak

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I heard a radio spot this morning talking about the New Normal. I was quite confused, as I had understood what we as a nation were going through was temporary. 

I had assumed businesses were going to reopen, people were going back to work and we could eat in restaurants and go to the movies and the mall and such. According to this radio spot, I was wrong. 

What I had heard, quite clearly, was our lives were irrevocably changed and we just needed to suck it up and deal with what the new normal was. Well, Mr. Radio Announcer Guy, that just isn’t acceptable. 

I really don’t want to have my normal planned out by others. I have always been happy being a wee bit abnormal, and I didn’t take too kindly to a guy with a deep voice on the radio telling me I had to get used to the New Normal. 

This wasn’t a commentator either, this was a commercial that said things like “these uncertain times” and “global emergency.”

I figured I would put my brain cells to work and try to come up with some alternative normals that, like the radio guy, I could run past the citizenry of this fine nation and get some input. I figure if we are going to set up a new normal, we might as well have fun with it. 

I am already thinking that whatever the new normal will be, there needs to be unlimited breadsticks, soup and salad, chips and salsa and free refills. Maybe some of those steakhouse dinner rolls with the sweet butter. I don’t want to get greedy. Five-dollar footlongs need to be an actual foot and not 11 inches. I’d take away the giant beverage law in New York City because anyone who wants to drink Dr Pepper from a 55-gallon drum should be able to. 

I have a problem with such things as protests. While I think people have the right to protest, they should equally have the right to celebrate. It seems as if the New Normal has given groups the right to congregate for disorder and violence, but groups that wish to celebrate or worship or enjoy friendship are limited to 10 or so people. This might be new, but it’s not normal. 

We can go into the streets and cause mayhem, but a parade is too dangerous for our health. I have been to plenty of protests and let me tell you, they are a lot more dangerous than a street full of marching bands. If you think a guy dressed up in a sports mascot costume throwing candy is dangerous, perhaps you should not leave the safety of your own home. 

I had heard that Major League Baseball was going to have an abbreviated season and play to empty stadiums. That’s right. No fans in the seats. Nine innings to an empty house. This way, the teams get to see what it’s like to be the Kansas City Royals. 

The NHL season has been reduced to 20 high schoolers from Winnipeg who have nothing else to do. 

I propose we let the teams play to their normal crowds. Football, baseball, basketball, hockey — let them play to packed houses. There used to be a show on TV called “Survival of the Fittest.” Keep the name of the show, but focus on the fans instead of the athletes. 

I suggest that we bring the entertainment back to Broadway. Open the shows and invite the fans. I don’t think the audiences are as afraid of the coronavirus as they are of $100 tickets. Open the theaters and playhouses. What happened to “the show must go on?” Apparently the show must go on, but not this year because we can’t get a thousand audience members to wash their damned hands. 

The New Normal should be simple. The New Normal should be the way the Old Normal was, but with a little more kindness. A little less politics and a lot more conversation. 

The New Normal won’t be so bad if we take what was good about the Old Normal and try one or two new things. This can work. We can open things and be able to go places and see people and have our lives back. Just wash your damned hands.

Joe Weaver, a native of Baltimore, is a husband, father, pawnbroker and gun collector. From his home in New Bern, he writes on the lighter side of family life.