By John R. Greenwood
A Shot In The Armfelt like the appropriate title for a story about writing after hitting the pause button for a while. This is my first post for 2021 and I’m about to head to CVS for my first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine. I’m hoping it will be the shot that will prolong the inevitable dirt-nap and the shot that will refresh my outlook on the future. Simply put, I’m exhausted from the daily discourse that has coated my brain with negativity and despair. I’ve tried to climb out of the ditch, but every time I start to whistle again, a wave of political poison places a boot heel on my forehead and knocks me back in the hole.
I’ve become zombie-like in my daily routine. The difficulty putting pen to paper has been a lack of caring. I’ve reverted to child-like selfishness that melts when I see others struggling but re-ignites when someone scrapes their opinions onto my plate. Reading the xenophobic refuse that people share on social media makes my head hurt, and my heart cringe. It’s unnecessary and consuming. It devours my ability to function in a positive light for more than a day. Even as I plunk down these ramblings, I feel a sense of pissing in the wind.
There is good news out there, but you have to mine it like gold. It’s always buried beneath a pile of scare tactics, warnings and conspiracy theories. There’s a never-ending army of naysayers waiting to trounce on every uplifting sprout.
From here on out, I’m going to focus on the positive—the ability that used to come to me naturally. These days I have to use a pair of jumper cables to get me started. Thankfully spring is headed our way. Mowing is better than snow-blowing. Tee-shirts and shorts beat out puffy parkas and neck gaiters any day. Releasing the lawn furniture from the basement is just a few weeks away.
I haven’t been completely stagnant. Indoor projects continue to commandeer my time. Sprinkle in an occasional appointment or a visit to the grocery store, and winter has scooted along like an aluminum saucer on crusted snow, but the stress of the outside world has taken a toll on my desire to sing. I’m fighting it like a Tiger comeback, but it’s not going to be easy. There’s a lot of pain out there, and it’s hard to move ahead without looking back. In the past, a day in the woods with the sun shining on my face would do the trick. Spring 2021 may take something extra. Maybe a combination of a motorcycle ride around the lake, a bike ride around the neighborhood, and an old-fashioned pickup-run to the transfer station will do it. The key is not to wave the white flag. Keep swinging. Keep swatting away those pesky gnats of negativity. Keep telling yourself you’ve been through worse and always exited the other side.
This shot in the arm needs a little more than before. Pandemic and politics are no match for the human spirit. At least that’s what I keep telling that voice on my shoulder.
Shot #2 is scheduled for the end of the month.
Look out, April, here I come!