So here we are–and by “we” I mean the entire world–at home in the midst of a pandemic. For most of us, this is our very first pandemic, and the very first time we’ve been told to stay home.

Are we excited about it? Not so much. After all, this pandemic has been the cause of many deaths, many more illnesses, much separation, and a huge downturn in the overall economy. None of those are the kinds of things we typically get excited about.

We’ve known forever that one of the best ways to stem the tide of a pandemic is to stay away from each other. Terms like social distancing, quarantining, and stay-at-home all have to do with ways that people like us can and are staying away from each other.

Restaurants have no dine-in seating available, not even six feet apart. Or even twenty-six feet apart. Stores that are open put tape marks on the floor to help people know how far apart they should be when they are in line to check out.

Gyms are closed completely, and I can’t tell you how bummed I am about that

Gyms are closed completely, and I can't tell you how bummed I am about that
Gyms are closed completely, and I can’t tell you how bummed I am about that

In reality, I’m getting about the same amount of use out of my gym right now that I was before it closed. When people ask me about that, I tell them I anticipated this would happen someday, so I prepared myself by not using it ahead of time.

But what if you’re one of those people who didn’t know your gym would close and you kind of got in the habit of, you know, working out? It even became “fun” for you.

Or what if part of your fun was going out to eat? Maybe you started doing that because no one in your house cooks, and then you discovered that there are people who are amazing cooks and will sell you food they’ve prepared. Also, you kind of like having someone come to your table and treat you well.

“Hi! My name is Kim, and I’ll be taking care of you this evening. Can I get you started with something to drink? Perhaps a cold beer served in a chilled mug?”

How can you not like Kim, even if you don’t like beer? I guarantee you’re going to be ordering something you’d never make at home, and you’re going to love it. You might even have a desert. (Real desert, not just your normal Girl Scout cookies.)

A round of golf, anyone?

What if you play golf–a game many look on as pure torture, but which provides hours of entertainment for millions of people–and you’re living someplace where golf courses are closed?

A brief aside here: someone told me that the Governor of Nevada, who apparently does not play golf, closed the golf courses three weeks ago because of a YouTube video he watched. So I looked, and I found this quote from Governor Sisolak.

“The only thing that will stop this virus, and I’ll say it over and over again, is social distancing and responsible behavior,” Sisolak said. “I am ordering sporting and recreational venues that encourage the social congregation, including golf courses, public basketball, and tennis courts, and publicly accessible swimming pools, to close for the duration of the state of emergency.”

Bad golfers. At least if they did this during the pandemic because they are only 3′ 9″ apart.

Wait… responsible behavior? Golf?

Anyway, the Governor went on to say, according to Channel 3 News in Las Vegas, “I’ve had a multitude of pictures that were sent in to me to show that people were not practicing good social distancing, they were not riding one in a cart, they were congregating on the greens,” he said. “I cannot take the chance of having it spread that way. We tried it, and it didn’t work.”

Sigh. But he’s the guv, and I’m not, and I do think we are supposed to obey our leaders, so if I happened to live in his state, I would not be playing golf. And I’d be having even less fun.

Maybe you’re the kind of person who likes to go to the movies, or hang out at the local coffee shop, or go to concerts or go to a club or a bar with your friends. None of that is happening almost anywhere in the US.

(I saw a young friend at my golf club yesterday–which is NOT in Nevada–who had been in Texas pursuing a career in professional golf. He said there was no reason to stay there because the golf courses and the bars were closed. Big financial loss for Texas when he left. Just sayin’.)

Grills Just Want To Have Fun

I saw that phrase on an apron the other day, and I liked it. Not enough to buy the apron, since I don’t grill much anymore, but some people do. And those grills are having fun because they’re doing what they like.

You want to have fun, too, and we’ve already established that a lot of your fun has been taken away from you.

To be fair, this is kind of like when your parents grounded you for hanging out with the wrong crowd. You didn’t like it, they didn’t like it, but social distancing was going to keep you safe.

I say kind of because some of these governors seem to be using the pandemic to further their own political career, while some do seem to genuinely care about the people of their state.

So what did you do when you were grounded? Did you even have the internet and streaming TV? Here are some suggestions, since no governor is making you sit in the corner.

Some fun things you can do right where you are..

Some fun things you can do right where you are..
Some fun things you can do right where you are..

Solve a jigsaw puzzle. Do this only if you already own one. Please do not cut up an 8 x 10 glossy photo of your Governor to make one.

Read a book. Somewhere in your house, there is probably a book. If you’re lucky, you might even have a book that is funny. Anything by P. G. Wodehouse (pronounced wood-house) will make you laugh. Here’s a line to give you a taste:

It was a confusion of ideas between him and one of the lions he was hunting in Kenya that had caused A. B. Spottsworth to make the obituary column. He thought the lion was dead, and the lion thought it wasn’t.

Write a song. You may or may not be a writer. It doesn’t matter. Here’s how you do this very fun thing. Find a song you like and know fairly well. Listen to it to make sure you have the meter. Print out the lyrics. Cross out those lyrics and write new lyrics, and you have a new song! Make it about COVID or about staying at home or about the fun you used to have. Your song, your call.

Decorate the outside of your house with something goofy. Here’s what a garden store near us did with a 9′ tall dinosaur that stands by their driveway.

Take pictures of your house from strange angles. Do inside and outside. They’re just digital images, and you can delete them ceremoniously at any time.

Jump rope. This one is short because it is self-explanatory and I can only do it for about a minute. But it’s still fun.

Cook a meal. Try stuffed peppers if you want a suggestion, but make it anything a little challenging—waffles instead of pancakes.

Clean your room. OK, not so much fun while you’re doing it, but great fun when you finish.

The point is…

As long as you can exercise your mind, be a little creative, and have a great attitude, the fun can be found everywhere. It may not be the same exact fun you like, but it is still fun. Enjoy it, and this time will pass like a rocket! Or at least faster than the 96-year-old World War II veteran who is running across America. (Now there is a man who is having fun!)

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