May 23, 2024
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May 23, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

I’m not blaming anybody here, but it would be nice if someone had any idea what was going on. Like a really solid understanding.

Okay, so first of all, you know all those rules that were supposed to be keeping us safe? Every day the rules change. Society is relaxing the rules for certain things in a certain order, but based on what? Enough people have had the virus? We don’t care about the rest? What are we doing here?

At first, the experts said, “Don’t wear masks; they don’t help.” Don’t they? At the very least, they remind us not to touch our faces.

And now they’re like, “Forget all the other things we said. You could get together, touch whatever you want, raid stores together—as long as you wear masks.”

You mean the masks that don’t help?

So now we’re in this stage where it seems basically that we’re allowed to break one new rule every day, and that rule no longer matters.

There are still some rules: Right now, as I write this, the stores are open, but you can’t go into them, and you can’t go to the park, unless it’s a protest, but not if you’re protesting the parks being closed. You have to be protesting something unrelated to the virus, and then you can break the virus rules. The virus knows.

Also, I think we’re allowed to touch things now.

Meanwhile, a few weeks ago, the New York State government said that schools can’t open, but daycares can, and all the yeshivas were suddenly saying that they were daycares. Years of rebbeim saying, “Pay attention; this isn’t a daycare,” and now the yeshivas are finally admitting that yes, it is in fact a day care.

“Okay, they can go back to school then, but make sure not to teach them anything.”

That was a couple of weeks ago. And as I write this right now, everyone’s protesting the parks and the camps being closed. No one was protesting the schools being closed. The Jewish community is trying to get the camps open, because they’re essential, as opposed to schools, which are not as essential. Because, as the schools have been saying, they’re just day care centers. But in the meantime, if you ask your school for financial assistance, the first thing they ask you is whether you send your kids to camp. So is camp essential?

Every day there are new rules and new twists to this story, and as a result, every article I write is slightly outdated by the time it comes out. Plus every town is different. So I don’t know where you are when you’re reading this, but where I am, no one knows what’s coming next. I suppose we always don’t know what’s coming next, because the Ribbono Shel Olam runs the world, but usually there’s at least some security in assuming that nothing will happen next. Whereas now we know something’s coming next; something has to. We just don’t know what or when. And that’s not great, especially for someone who has to write articles a few weeks in advance.

And who am I going to complain to about this? Everyone’s like, “Oh, no! His humor article is not going to match up with what’s happening outside!” No one feels bad for me. We all have real problems. I also understand that a lot of people are struggling financially, and that’s no laughing matter. But I’m always struggling financially, even without this. So I’m doing about the same. Once you’re drowning this far below sea level, a few feet doesn’t make much of a difference.

Though actually, for people who aren’t doing great, there’s some comfort in knowing that no one is. It’s like all these rich celebrities keep saying, “We’re all in the same boat.”

No, we’re not. You’re in a yacht. I’m in a paddle boat with a leak. “We’re both in boats,” is what you mean. We’re all in the same boat? Of the two of us, you’re the only one who actually owns a boat.

And yes, it looks like we’re on the uptick, but who really knows? A lot of other countries thought they were, and then they fell back down. It’s literally like climbing up the slippery part of a slide.

I’m old enough to remember slides.

Point is, this pandemic has been going on for a lot longer than any of us originally thought. (I for one thought it would end after Pesach.) Our thoughts have no bearing on anything. You would have thought that this pandemic, as long as it’s been, would be boring by now. But the Ribbono Shel Olam has been changing it up. At first it was about blaming bats and buying toilet paper, and now, as I write this, it’s about race riots and getting into the park. Also people are randomly setting off fireworks every night, as a protest against having kavana at outdoor minyanim. And now we’re at the part of the pandemic where we’re toppling statues of people who have at any point shown aggression toward other peoples. And no one is sure how we got there from “pandemic.”

Also, somehow, on the way here, we passed murder hornets. By the time you read this, who knows what Makkah we’ll be up to.

And you think I’m finished? I am not. But we’re out of space here, fortunately, so we’ll continue next time. I’m in the middle of a rant, apparently, and as we all know, rants are made all the better when the speaker has to pause for a week.

Mordechai Schmutter is a freelance writer and a humor columnist for Hamodia and other magazines. He has also published seven books and does stand-up comedy. You can contact him at [email protected].

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