I was randomly perusing old music the other day since this insidious virus has eliminated a number of my favorite summertime activities and came across a 90’s country song by Terri Clark. For those who don’t know, back in the 90’s country radio had a strong female contingent. Of course, there was Reba, The Judds, Shania Twain and Faith Hill leading the way. But there were many others including Suzy Bogguss, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Patty Loveless, Trisha Yearwood, Kathy Mattea and of course Terri Clark.
Like Shania, Terri hailed from Canada which made US country listeners more than a bit suspicious of her at first. From her debut album, Terri Clark, she co-wrote her first single “Better Things to Do”. The song peaked at number 3 in both the US and Canadian Country charts. It’s an up-tempo little ditty about a woman “who realizes she has better things to do than sit around and cry over her ended relationship. At the same time, her man wants her back, thinking she’s lost without him.” Among the list of things to do, she sassily announces she could wash the car in the rain, change her new guitar strings, or mow the yard again, just like yesterday. Just in case he was wondering, she’s got plenty of ways to spend her time that don’t including crying about him or anything else.
Along the same lines, Dirty Jobs host Mike Rowe recently posted a quote from C. S. Lewis written in 1948 and titled, “On Living in an Atomic Age.” In his message Mr Rowe suggests we replace the words “atomic bomb,” with “coronavirus” as we read the passage below.
How are you to live in an atomic age? Why, just as you would have lived in the sixteenth century when the plague visited London almost every year, or as you would have lived in a Viking age when raiders from Scandinavia might land and cut your throat any night; or indeed, as you are already living in an age of cancer, an age of syphilis, an age of paralysis, an age of air raids, an age of railway accidents, an age of motor accidents.
In other words, do not let us begin by exaggerating the novelty of our situation. Believe me, dear sir or madam, you and all whom you love were already sentenced to death before the atomic bomb was invented: and quite a high percentage of us were going to die in unpleasant ways. We had, indeed, one very great advantage over our ancestors—anesthetics; but we have that still. It is perfectly ridiculous to go about whimpering and drawing long faces because the scientists have added one more chance of painful and premature death to a world which already bristled with such chances and in which death itself was not a chance at all, but a certainty.
This is the first point to be made: and the first action to be taken is to pull ourselves together. If we are all going to be destroyed by an atomic bomb, let that bomb when it comes find us doing sensible and human things—praying, working, teaching, reading, listening to music, bathing the children, playing tennis, chatting to our friends over a pint and a game of darts—not huddled together like frightened sheep and thinking about bombs. They may break our bodies, but they need not dominate our minds.
It sure felt like the universe or the Good Lord might be trying to send me a message to get it together and avoid pouting or moping about. I wondered what we might do if our glorious fall sporting season is altered in any of several previously unthinkable manners. I’m sure by now you’ve all finished the honey-do list we seem to accumulate each year during football season. Like you, I have all my fingers and toes crossed and have sent up fervent prayers that we and football season might be spared. But just in case, what better sensible, human things might we find to do this football season, so we are not found “whimpering and drawing long faces?”
Summer in eastern Oklahoma is much like summer in Macon, that is approximately the temperature of the seventh level of satan’s abode. The heat and humidity tend to limit the amount of time a body is interested in being outside. My desire to do something healthy about the extra pounds I’ve put on recently has been diminished by the incessant heat. I am of course attributing this expansion to the sedentary behavior brought on by working from home with dogs. No longer do I take a brisk walk down the hall to visit a coworker, grab a beverage or visit the facilities. I now have a makeshift office where the only coworkers are my sweet Munson and my husband’s spoiled brat Josie. The fridge is just around the corner from the desk and nothing is very far from anything else. All shopping is done online, in advance, with curbside pickup so there’s no chance of a day long shopping trip culminating in those coveted 10,000 steps. The furthest Munson and I seem to go is a mid-day walk to the mailbox and back.
Perhaps if there is no football this year, I’ll take advantage of the cooler fall temperatures and take long walks outside, maybe even hike a bit. Certainly, some physical activity would be good for both body and spirit. I could spend my time pouring over house plans and land for sale so that next year when I’ve accomplished the pre-requisite financial goal I’ll be settled about what I want to build and where I want to build it. I might even have all the interior decisions made about flooring and paint and cabinets. I could take an online course or certificate program in Data Analytics. That would certainly use up several hours each week hurting my head. It would look good on LinkedIn to have that “digital certificate” should I decide after 15 years I’ve had enough and choose to move on from my current employer, right?
I might do any or all of those things in a fall where there is no football to be watched, no comment threads to moderate and no victory post to gleefully write. I suppose I’m blessed that I normally only plan to attend one game in person each year. This year I plan to attend the Auburn game. When it was time for annual donations and season ticket purchasing back in the spring, I naively assumed this virus would be well in hand before kickoff weekend. I even became a season ticket holder for the first time ever. I’ve done nothing with those tickets given the present uncertainty. Will there even be a football season much less ones with fans in the stadium, with or without masks? Our beloved institution has already said if there is no season, whatever you had this year they will roll over to next year if you like and I believe without penalty. Refunds will be issued for tickets purchased but of course contributions are non-refundable. It’s already been a strange year for the athletic association. For I think the first time in many years, there were more season tickets available than they had donors.
If there is football, even one without fans in attendance, I will be in my usual spot, watching and cheering from 831 miles away. Certain there is someone on our football staff who is tasked with reading Dawg Sports comment threads during the game so they can take advantage of the collective wisdom of the community in making in-game adjustments. I hope you will be here too, and we will once again enjoy the socially distant virtual kinship of one another as we have so many times before.
Wishing you and yours physical & mental health, every happiness and a very hearty