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The Mast Head: Sound Advice

Wed, 06/17/2020 - 19:05

As such things go, early on during the pandemic I passed on a piece of good advice I had heard — about learning a new skill during the lockdown — then did not really heed that thought myself. Among my friends and family quite a few have though, whether stemming from my suggestion or probably more out of their own curiosity.

One of the kids is learning coding, that is, taking an online course about how to write computer programs. My sister received a portion of sourdough starter and went on a bread-baking jag; my own portion languished in the refrigerator. My brother took up gardening. Our college-age daughter declared that she would learn to make mixed drinks; perhaps bartending is in her future?

One of The Star editorial staff has had more than 80 straight days of Spanish lessons. I am trying to get a handle on welding and have been patching the plaster walls and repainting the door and window trim at the office.

A friend is tangling with video editing. With his industry on ice for the moment, another decided to learn to build a phone app — impressive! I am sure I am missing others, but you get the idea.

Unfortunately, and despite the reopening of some things, indications are that this crisis will continue and probably get very bad again before it is over. One of the things we may have to collectively get better at is protecting ourselves and others. Already, locally, we have watched how individual creativity and drive have helped.

Think of the wave of mask making while supplies were dangerously low. Think of the construction company here that figured out how to make protective plastic gowns out of ordinary materials, then delivered thousands to the hospitals.

Think of the effort and imagination that have gone into meeting the soaring demands being placed on the food panties. Think of the fund-raisers gone online or held at a distance. Think of the small gestures being made among neighbors to help out. Think of the massive turnout at rallies demanding an end to racist policing.

Perhaps the most important thing we have learned from all this is that helping one another is not dead. It just might have seemed that way before.

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