March Sadness, Being Called a “Turd,” and Kalsarikännit

A shocking number of tidbits collected in the past few days! Maybe we WILL survive this quarantine!

This last Friday, my department had a Zoom rock-paper-scissors battle against another department to combat “March Sadness.” It worked.

A bracket of department members was made in advance, and the heads of the two departments moderated. For each match, everyone muted their video screens except for the two playing and the two moderators. At the count of three, you had to hold up a paper with the word rock, paper, or scissors. Some got creative — writing all the words in Spanish, printing a photo of Dwayne “the Rock” Johnson, holding up a physical pair of scissors. It was a nice way to spend 30 minutes and forget about all the sh*t going on.

My department won, by the way.

I had a thought the other day how it must be funny if it’s your actual birthday and you sing “Happy Birthday” to yourself twice every time you wash your hands that day. Then I thought about how Facebook tells me whose birthday it is daily, and maybe I should sing Happy Birthday to those people while I’m scrubbing up. Is that weird? Probably.

My friend texted me out of the blue asking if I considered myself a sister or a mom to my dog, Chowder. On impulse, I immediately answered his sister. But then I had to back up.

“But he can be very aloof.

Maybe a female cousin who grew up next to him?

Or his aunt who isn’t necessarily cool, but agreeable?”

These are the things we consider during a pandemic.

A sitcom moment. One afternoon last week, I went into my parents’ room to watch an episode of New Girl on their massive TV. I found the cable remote and flicked on the screen, which is set to always open on channel 70, which is ESPN rewind or something — my dad’s favorite channel, where he can watch Yankees World Series re-runs and tell you the final score of any game in nearly seconds, from memory.

I immediately was disgruntled because the TV was too loud, and I needed a separate remote to not only turn it down, but switch to Netflix. Naturally, the remote was nowhere to be found. As I’m scrambling around the room searching for it, increasingly annoyed by the noise, I start registering what the noise is: a Michael Kay sportscast. And Michael and the other sportscasters are fiercely debating a pretty funny topic — Rex Ryan allegedly calling Amari Cooper “a turd.”

Now, at the time, I had no idea who the sportscasters were talking about. But they must have said the word “turd” a dozen times on air.

“I just can’t believe he would use the word ‘turd.’ You remove ‘turd’ from what he said, and what he said is a fine opinion. But the moment you add ‘turd,’ it becomes very offensive.”

“I wouldn’t forgive him if he called me a turd. Even I am a turd, you don’t call me a turd. What right do you have calling someone a turd, publicly like that?”

So, here I am, stomping all around searching for a remote control, becoming more and more agitated as not only the TV is blaring, but it’s blaring the word “TURD” over and over and over. When I finally found the remote, the relief was unreasonably enormous. It’s funny to me now.

Discussing movies with my family recently, I was reminded that I truly am an elderly woman trapped in a 23-year-old’s body. The conversation brought me back to a moment when I said to my roommate something like, “Movies nowadays are just too much. Everything happens so quickly and there are so many effects that you don’t know what’s going on. And they’re so violent. Ugh, I just can’t follow them and they terrify me and give me a headache.”

Her response: “Wow, you really are a 65-year-old woman.”

That was only one time. Another friend responded the exact same thing when I lamented to him, “Snow is such an inconvenience. Unless you can play in it — ski, snowboard, sled, etc. — I mean really, a nuisance! You have to spend all this time layering up to go outside, it takes forever to get all the snow off your car, you’re always cold…”

Not to mention I go to bed at 10:00 every night.

As long as you like a book, you return to it, right? You keep coming back to reading it until it’s finished. For some reason, I cannot do the same with podcasts. I’ll be listening to a podcast on a run, and even if I’m really engaged, if I haven’t finished it by the end of the run, I simply won’t finish it. And I was enjoying it! I suppose the moment is lost for me; I don’t know.

My dad sent me a New York Times article entitled “Getting Tipsy at Home in Your Underwear.” It’s all about the Finnish practice of “Kalsarikännit,” or roughly, “pantsdrunk.” It’s drinking at home in your underwear, the expectation that you are hunkered down, going nowhere, just treating yourself well. The Finns have to do it all the time to stay sane, since it’s dark for nine months of the year in Finland.

How on EARTH did we not hear about this sooner and start practicing it? I understand that we’re in a pandemic and it’s more relevant now, but I mean really. This is important information we should have shared long ago.

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