Toilet Paper, Zoom, Beer & Wine Cravings, No Haircuts...How The Pandemic Makes Us All Equally Human

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Ricky Gervais in The Tonight Show, Tuesday, April 28, 2020 (courtesy YouTube).

As horrific as the trauma and stress of Covid-19 is, I’m consoled by one thing: Our humanity across the planet has never been more evident. It doesn’t matter if you’re famous or not, rich or not, accomplished or a regular joe. We all are facing so much in common right now. The fear.  The boredom. The inability to go about our “business as usual.” The joy of the connection with friends on electronic media. The time spent with family that has become more meaningful than perhaps we ever expected. Life is so strange, and so comforting normal and basic at the same time.

Last night I caught “The Tonight Show” with Jimmy Fallon – I hadn’t seen it since the Pandemic hit, because I usually fall asleep before it comes on, but I was awake and watched how the show’s broadcast unfolded. Usually it’s boisterously with music from The Roots with iconic scenes from New York City to open, and finally we see a live, loudly cheering audience before Jimmy steps out in front of the crowd. Instead, last night’s show opened with Jimmy trying to get his daughter’s to announce the show’s title. It was very cute. It was a very quiet intro. It felt a lot like FaceTiming or Zooming with a friend at home. But it wasn’t someone I knew personally. It was Jimmy Fallon.

Then Jimmy and his wife Nancy took their dog for a walk and answered viewer mail. It’s usually an edgy, sarcastic bit. Last night, the Fallons answered a question that related to the extent they went to start their family. It wasn’t a series of quick barbs. It didn’t seem planned – it was a personal story of triumph over difficult, emotional odds. It felt like a deep conversation you might fall into with your friend or neighbor when you end up walking your dog together.

Jimmy’s first guest (the only one I managed to stay awake for) was Ricky Gervais, who of course also “guested in” from where else – his home. Typically when I watch a talk show like this and I see famous people, they’re telling stories of movies or shows they’re working on, talking about their famous friends or big news they have to share. There was a little of that. But mostly, Ricky talked about basic things, like not getting a real haircut and only cutting off parts of his hair in the back as long as he could see them from the front when he looks in the mirror.

When talking about his latest preferences, Ricky summed up what he values most: alcohol like beer or wine – and toilet paper. He summed it by saying that there really WAS no replacement for beer or wine, but if you just looked around, you could find lots of things to replace toilet paper with – books, grass, etc. So you might say, fun beverages win out for Ricky…hands down.

They also talked about how the Pandemic makes the simplest things we take for granted important – like family and dogs. They are silly guys – and so they digress when they talk – a lot. But that makes me laugh, so I’m good with it. And they played a good game of “Hey Robot” by trying to get Alexa to guess word on a note by giving Alexa clues. People just being creative with what’s around them to pass the time. They could be your hilarious brother-in-laws.

I obviously know the Pandemic is affecting all the people of this earth, but I keep feeling astounded by how alike we all are when simple conversations like this come up. “Normal” life typically puts a chasm between the every day person and famous people – but it doesn’t matter if you’re the Pope, a Hollywood celebrity, a sports star, a politician or someone who has experienced momentous history like Jim Lovell – who basically said it doesn’t matter if it’s the Apollo 13 mission or Coronavirus – you have to have the attitude that there’s a problem and it’s going to be solved. Who would know better than him?

And what about the “One World: Together At Home” concert staged by Lady Gaga and featuring a bunch of A-List performed to honor front-line communities and other workers – not for some distant tragedy as in years past for similar concerts – but for the disease that is hitting home for every human being on this planet. The concert was same idea of bringing funds and recognition to an important plight, but this time it’s an entirely different spin as viewers saw performers in a virtual setting, not on the grand stage together. It’s uplifting and eerie at the same time.

This past weekend, I also learned that a group of men that can clearly be described as some of the most iconic people to ever walk this planet – The Rolling Stones – released a song called “Ghost Town.” It speaks of being locked down and the video shows the all-encompassing emptiness of the world. As one of the important 1960s bands that came through “The British Invasion” and created some of the most important music for decades on some of the world’s largest stages – it’s shocking to think that they are now in the most vulnerable age group for getting seriously ill with Covid-19. Once again, our humanity comes back to us.

What’s the tie in for parenting teens and my blog? This is a time of history. It’s a time they’ll never forget. My kids are already saying how they know that their kids or grandkids will be studying this in history, and they suspect their kids will have no ability to relate to what it was like, and will likely be a bit indifferent. Because it didn’t happen to them.

Let’s hope they’re right. Let’s hope that someday, we can look back on this as “that time we were all locked down” as an event of the past, never to be repeated. Except, I hope we don’t forget our shared, simple, beautiful humanity. That would be tragic.

For now, enjoy this trip with the Rolling Stones – with the images a reviewer describes as “all-encompassing yet claustrophobic.” It’s eerie, relatable and historic – just like this time of life.

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