As consultants, beach week is a bit calmer these days

Edisto Beach, SC — As if this year weren’t already weird enough, my son is in the bathroom of our rented house shaving for the first time. His mom has been onto him about needing to shave and for reasons known only to a teenage boy — or maybe not even known to him — he has chosen this moment, just after a twilight walk on Steamboat Landing to look for little frogs and then watch dolphins from the pier, for this milestone.

Wishful thinking won’t get us out of this

Before wading into the murk of America’s bizarre tug of war with itself in the year of COVID-19, let’s first stipulate one thing: we’d all love for this to be over. Wearing masks, social distancing, arguing with people on social media over who and what to believe, some of us sweating out every decision on where we can go and who we can see and what we can do and not do any time we venture out of our little quarantine cocoons, others proceeding with their lives as if not one thing has changed. We’re just over it, OK?

Walter moves on to a far greener cow pasture

Maybe we should have named our beagle-mix Lazarus, so often did he seemingly come back from the dead over the years. But we named him Walter and we figure he must have turned 18 earlier this year. There have been days when we didn’t think he could get up, days we found him on the porch flat on his belly, his legs splayed in opposite directions like a beginning skier who has fallen and can’t figure out how to get back up. We’d sit with him, give him more Glucosamine, scrub his ears, discuss our options, and hope for the best.

Language has changed but racism remains

Though we are as divided as we have ever been as a country, the one thing we seemed to be able to agree on is that recent deaths of Ahmaud Arbery and George Floyd were heinous, both reminders that the evil of racism still exists in America. We shared this “common ground” for about five minutes before the waves of protests and rioting began, and then the sudden abrupt shift in focus by one group from the murders to the reaction to the murders revealed that we had not, after all, reached some new level of mutual understanding.

The oh-so-sweet sound of bat and baseball

When our son, Jack, joined the high school marching band, he promptly announced his official retirement from baseball, unceremoniously closing the book on a 10-year career — from tee ball to senior league — that included at least a hundred games and untold thousands of practices, including those earliest ones in our back yard, where I taught him, among other things, how to turn his glove to catch the ball and how to shift his weight when swinging the bat.

Right now, life as an otter sounds pretty good

Can we all admit that this quarantine is getting a little weirder every week? The rules for what we can and cannot do in order to defeat the coronavirus have become so specific that many of us are staging strange little rebellions at home by completely obliterating the rules that were once so much a part of the fabric of our daily lives that we took them for granted.

The days just drone by, listlessly

I am thinking of a scene in the movie “Fargo” that captures exactly how I am feeling a couple of weeks into quarantine. The bad guy needs to bury a suitcase full of money somewhere on a long stretch of highway, so he pulls the car over, grabs the suitcase, and walks over to a barbed-wire fence that runs along the road as far as the eye can see.

In trying times, the cream rises to the top

If it feels like we’ve seen this all before, it’s because we have. All of a sudden, we are all characters in our very own dystopian movie, with a virus on the loose that has already killed thousands of people around the world and has the potential to kill millions, a feckless President whose utter ineptitude has made a bad situation much worse, and a country that by the beginning of this week was on the verge of complete lockdown.

The rubble heap that was our basement

It has been over a week since my son had seven boys stay overnight at our house to celebrate his fifteenth birthday party. We are still sorting through the rubble, fishing through layers of debris for whatever valuables may still be buried there: shoes, missing iPhones, family pets, and so forth.

The painful reality of car shopping

If I could go back now and talk to my 12-year-old self, I’d tell him a few things. First, most of these grown-ups that you think are awful are, in fact, pretty awful, so try to relax a little. Second, you know those kids in your school that you can’t stand, the really mean ones? It doesn’t turn out so well for most of them. It turns out that karma’s a thing.

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