Here’s a potentially cringe-inducing joke I recalled from my childhood last week:
“Why are Boy Scouts so tired on April 1?
“Because they’ve just finished a 31-day March.”
OK, it’s not all that funny, but it popped into my head on Wednesday when the calendar finally changed to April.
I suspect you’ll agree that this year, March’s 31 days felt more like 31 months.
I’m one of those people — maybe you are too — who likes to fix things as quickly as possible.
That’s just not possible with the coronavirus and is part of the frustration so many of us are feeling.
If there ever was a universal “one day at a time” moment, this is it.
We can’t fix things quickly. We can only do our part. Every day.
Though newspapers are designated an essential business, virtually everyone on our team is working from home.
The few still working here, for page and other production tasks, are making sure to keep the recommended social distance, spread out in the nearly-deserted and regularly cleaned corners of the room.
The committed people I’m blessed to work with make me proud all the time — and in these difficult circumstances, multiple times a day.
They have been awesome working to produce the important information our communities need and to tell the compelling stories of the Valley people working on the front lines and coping with this crisis.
Thank you, by the way, to those of you who have taken the time to write and thank us for our efforts in keeping the Valley updated on local and state developments. It means a great deal.
This crisis is far different from all others in many ways for everyone.
One major difference for us and other journalists is that this time, we are not simply reporting an important story.
We are actually living it.
Journalists usually are not involved in the stories we are reporting and writing. We’re taught to not be.
I remember — and so does my wife, Mary — a night in the early 1990s when we were living in West Lafayette, Indiana. A tornado struck right around the time the news team at The Journal and Courier was wrapping up for the night. It remains the only time in my career I actually got to say “Stop the presses.” We scrambled to get to the scene and report how bad things were and gather information to help those who had been impacted.
There was no internet at the time. If we didn’t get the story in the paper, it would be another 24 hours before we could report it. I was laser-focused.
I was also an idiot. It took way too long for me to realize I needed to stop and call home to see if Mary and our four kids were OK. It turned out the tornado had passed within a mile of our home. Thank God, they were all safe.
This time, not being personally involved in this story is not an option. We have to keep ourselves safe and healthy. We have family members and friends we are concerned about.
Nevertheless, the job at hand here needs to be done and I can promise it will keep getting done.
Email comments and local coronavirus story ideas to firstname.lastname@example.org.