No Holds Barred: Where are the clowns?

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I loved Richard Fariña’s 1966 book title “Been Down So Long It Looks Like Up To Me”.  And now I get it! This two-week year-end for a lot of us normally is dark, depressing, and way overamped.  The need to create a circle of family and friends when you really have none or have “used up” most during those Covid Zoom meetings is now a challenge.

Imagine, Trump gets to pardon 20 people on his Presidential final days.  I personally don’t even know 20 people anymore, let alone pardon anyone least of all myself for such an abysmal year. Even my attention-whore dog now finds me a stone-cold bore. “Lockdown Love” can be short lived. In the beginning it was novel — now it’s dangerous.

It’s hard to plan for 2021. We have already been warned about the dismal winter/spring ahead. Never mind the 2020 calendar days of empty “Blursdays” — all I see on my 2021 calendar are doctor appointments. No birthdays, anniversaries or trip dates. Remember those?

I look to the Queen Elizabeth “Where do we fuckin’ start” meme. Will she finally take away Meghan and Harry’s royal title — so they can produce their line of Café Latte’s and overhyped Netflix documentaries on their own?  Let’s hope. It’s clear Queen Liz is the only leader left who has any gravitas.

There have been articles written questioning the return of frivolous sex. Booty calls. One-night stands. What is that? More importantly, will I ever be able to stand in a crowded airport, Safeway or Post Office again? Agoraphobia will be my lingering Covid side effect. But I was never a people person. Now I am past that and am skeptical of a room with more than me and three.  Then again, I wonder what all the escort services and hookers are doing lately. There are plenty of empty 5-star hotel rooms to score at cut rate.

Some people are already scheduling trips for the end of 2021 — I can’t imagine wearing all that PPE on a plane. I can’t wear a mask longer than 30 minutes. Imagine having to goggle-up and mask-up and glove-up and diaper-up. Remember, we won’t be approaching herd immunity for a least 8 months, so we will still have to wear protection till 2022.

How can all those travelers really feel like they are “far from the madding crowd” when you have that facial reminder on.  How much of a get-away does that really feel when your guard is still up to your eyes. Then again, whenever I traveled I couldn’t wait to get back home in my own bed. As more people make their houses luxury hotels, that feeling will start happening for everyone.

It will take 2 years to get over all the daily checking we all do on infection rates, tracing and death tallies as well as our own pulse oximeter oxygen levels. Or all the doom scrolling we do on social media. Not to mention silently (or not so silently) judging the Covid safe behaviors of those in your bubble. These have become our daily rituals. Now what? I think the kids will return to school and will adjust better than most, but the media will have to continue the political drama no matter what. So, we need to back away from that rabbit hole, pray for a time-out, and most of all have some patience.

Last week an article circulated accusing America of being the worst (of course) in handling Covid.  But also, how we have become a nation of psychopaths; of “indifference, stupidity and brutality.” Apparently to the world, we look like a nation of “bullies, fanatics and maniacs, who only care about money, sex and power.”  And it doesn’t matter what political party — if you are a right-winger you are an idiot; if you are liberal you are oblivious.

Personally, if we are all psychopaths, look at the rest of the world.  I say it is all the tech and time spent on screen devices that has made everyone disengaged, unemotional and disconnected.  No one is winning the psychopathic game with all the global dictatorships and theocracies to look at. No one country looks good of late. Maybe Samoa.

In the middle of Covid retail collapse, we have the New York Times’ Rhonda Garelick declaring “Fashion will not disappear.  It will transform.” Is this a revelation?  No. EVERYTHING will transform!  Look at Covid itself. Even IT is morphing. These kinds of articles like “Is Society Dead?” and “Is New York Over?” are ridiculous.  Of course everything changes. It’s called survival. There will be new clothes, new reasons and methods to shop, and new shoppers. NYC will eventually be revived by a whole new set of immigrants who will re-invent NYC’s culture, eateries, all of it! After all, a lot of the cities original “creators” have either died or fled to Florida. A new city needs new blood!

All those empty office buildings will eventually become affordable housing or medical facilities or something not yet considered. And once again, homes will become serious base camps – not just for business, but for dining and entertaining. Sure, people will want to get out for a change – but maybe not as often. And remember, masks won’t disappear anytime soon. No matter what!  As a grief counselor once told me – the thing to remember when you are struggling with endings and new beginnings, “It won’t be the same, but it will be okay. We can stop with the “new normal” taglines.  Guaranteed, it will really be different!

As I watch Trump deal with conceding or even admitting to losing, I kept hearing reports that he is planning to do a big event (rally?) at the same time as Biden’s inaugural ceremony.  I guess the Trump Show must go on – and there’s got to be a bang. And after all, the media needs the churn. And here we were all looking forward to settling down to a Biden long winter’s boredom.

I have been reading Leonard Lauder’s (chairman emeritus of Estee Lauder) new book The Company I Keep. Indeed, it is a fascinating memoir of his amazing life, but it is a master class in life lessons for everyone. After all, he transformed his parent’s “Mom and Pop” cosmetic business into a multi-billion-dollar global brand. The book is a treasure trove of beauty brand history and incredible insights of wisdom. And who better to impart “beauty as truth/truth is beauty” than Leonard Lauder. I was thinking of Trump when Lauder wrote: “Apologize when you are wrong.  Never be afraid to admit you made a mistake. It shows you’re human and people respect you more … How much can you really learn from success?  If I make a mistake and I recognize it … boy — I have really learned something.”

My mother’s year end message done as a two sided book mark!

Lauder also gives some pointers to leadership. “You are only as good as the people that surround you and indeed support you.  But more important — be kind and listen. Through just listening I learned everything. And deal with people with respect. You can’t believe how much people will remember, follow and celebrate you.”

A master class in life lessons for everyone.

Lauder ends his book in a quandary about the future while Covid rages on:

“It may be the greatest challenge Estee Lauder has to face in its 75 years …. It is too soon to tell …. But I can promise we will keep going and here’s why. I’ve been spending even more time than usual listening to people  I have heard them describe their concerns, their anxieties, their confusion and sharp-edged fears. But I’ve also heard … their commitment and their determination to find creative answers to today’s difficult questions and in the process to treat their colleagues, customers and community with kindness and respect.  Thanks to them, I have received faith in our resilience and our ability to, once again, adapt to a changing world.”

I applaud a man (not to mention his family and his business) who KNOWS how to transform people so beautifully — from their faces to their bodies and minds! Now … I look at my bottle of Lauder Revitalizing Supreme Power cream with a whole new level of hope!

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