Our New Normal (How The Coronavirus Changed Our Lives)

Welcome to Ear Biscuits, I'm Rhett And I'm Link

This week at the round table of dim lighting, it's still not that dim and we're still not at the table because we're still at our own homes How do you think the table is doing? How long is this gonna last? The table's just sitting in there in the studio, just being a table Oh, I'm sure it's doing fine Yeah, it's doing good, man It's lonely, sadly, like a lot of people these days

Don't mean to start on the downer We are gonna talk about the silver lining We're gonna try to be positive, and we're gonna look to the future And what type of impact is this experience going through, weathering this virus, what lasting effects is it gonna have? What ripple effects is it gonna have? How is it gonna impact the future of our lives indefinitely? And like you said, I think in a positive way, 'cause I mean, one of the things that has been helpful for me as I get anxious, get fearful, get frustrated with the fact that we're cooped up in the house is to think about the good that will come from this And I do, I think there's gonna be, there's quite a bit, there's quite a bit to be excited about in terms of the future

It's growing pains Yeah, I've got a number of thoughts related to different categories As I'm adapting to this new lifestyle of staying at home with my immediate family, I'm starting to take note of things It's like, wow, this is, this is different, but it's not worse This is better

I wonder if I'm gonna keep this habit even after things change So, you know, I've got a number of things that I'll bring up And then, you know what? This can serve as kind of like a time capsule episode where we go back to 'em and we see how right or wrong we were Do you have any bold predictions that you're prepared to make? Well, my prediction is that at some point I won't be in the corner of my living room making this podcast, as is evidenced just by the fact that right at the beginning of this recording, when I got, which I had to do every time we get ready to do anything in here, is I'm like, "Okay, guys, I'm recording" And then the thing that came back, one person said, Noice

I think my wife said, "Can't we live our lives?" And then I think my son said, "Why don't you do this in the garage?" So again, the family has still not adapted to what's happening, even though, I mean, I hate to drive this point home– And you're not talking about the virus anymore You're talking about your job, being in their faces Interestingly, you know, my job is actually an important part of the family dynamic Last time I checked Now, my wonderful, beautiful wife is standing at the top of the steps down into our sunken living room and just staring at me incredulously because she's listening

She looks great She's got her Jason Isbell shirt on that has a dinosaur on it Why are you reducing her to only what she looks like? Well, I'm not doing that I just know, I know what she likes I know how she likes me to talk about her

I love you I love all of you I love all of you You're all great Now, go away

Well, one of the things that I have been, that has been an immediate change for me is the way that we're approaching food I think this is the case for people all over the world Now, we are in a very privileged position because we still have access to all the food that we want essentially, right? You may not get as many things as readily as you got them in the past and we're making do with a little bit more We're cooking for ourselves a lot more than we normally do We're eating leftovers which, this is gonna sound pretty privileged, but most of the leftovers at our house get eaten by the adults

I'll eat leftovers My kids are spoiled rotten, man I'll eat leftovers If another day comes, the next day comes and we're like, "We're having leftovers," the look of grief and disappointment on my children's faces is just a sign that they're spoiled rotten But now– We would have a night– We don't have a choice at this point

We would have a night of the week that would be leftover night, and we tried to make it into something that seemed more like an event Like Christy would say things like, "It's leftover night," you know, and you're just like– How did that go over? Am I supposed to cheer? It's not usually cheers No But yeah, now there's a heightened sense of, okay, there's a little bit of this left I'ma Tupperware that thing up and I'ma put it away

And then you're, 'cause you just don't know when you're gonna get some of that from the grocery store again Like a little bit of, we had, I mean, we are occasionally ordering takeout It's a stressful time Especially after that video that Ellie sent around Ellie shared a video, and there's this one doctor, I guess he's in Seattle, who, he's had a few videos go viral, but he talks about what you should do when you bring groceries home and when you bring takeout home

And I shared that video with our friend chat group, which Jessie, of course, is in And she was like, "You cannot share this video "with someone who has OCD, "because they will just go down this rabbit hole" So I said, okay– And never come back I'll be the one to be responsible for the disinfection process when things come to the door It's very stressful

It's one thing when you've got like a couple, like two bags of carryout, but it's another thing when you order groceries and they show up Like yesterday, we had groceries show up, which, by the way, we had ordered probably five or six days in advance And so you're trying to figure out what you're gonna be out of, and you're gonna, you're trying to figure out, well, if they don't have this, then they're gonna try to substitute If they don't have anything, I'm trying to get something else just so we got, we have well-rounded meals Now Christy handled that order, but I knew how stressful it would be when all that was dropped off at the door

I was like, I'll be on the front lines of kinda bringing this stuff in And you know, we got this whole system Like, we clean off the counter and then you bring it in and you put all the bags on the floor and you take the stuff out of the bags and you put 'em in a unsanitized pile, throw away the bags, and then spray down and then wipe down every square inch of everything that's pre-packaged that's potentially been handled that's coming into the house I mean, it's a, you know, it was a lot of groceries, so it was for five people, so it was like a half-hour process to get this thing done

And it's very stressful because you start to feel like, you start to feel like you're exiting some sort of nuclear contamination zone To me, that's one of the first things I've been thinking about, is as much as I overthink everything, now I've been thinking about the level of contagion, how easily things can be spread and all the things that I'm touching So I mean, this is, I'm sure, a common experience to a lot of people, and I just don't know if that's gonna go away when this virus is in the past, you know Am I gonna be a fist bumper? Am I gonna be a, am I gonna be somebody who brings in the groceries and wipes them down? I don't think I'll be wiping all the groceries No, because that would be irrational

I mean– Oh, I know, but I will be thinking about it more often I mean, like not handshaking or touching people for such a long time Well, yeah Let's wait Let's wait to get into that because I think that there's a whole conversation we can have about like what this means about proximity to people and greetings and stuff

But going back to the groceries, I mean, the first thing I will say, because I don't wanna alarm people, I don't want people to think that the process that you just outlined is necessary for everybody because, you know, most of the research, the research suggests that the virus does not easily spread through takeout food or through groceries But that doesn't mean that there isn't a risk It just means that it's significantly lower a risk than actually being in the proximity of somebody who is infected and breathing in like an actual, you know, droplet that's in the air Droplet But that doesn't mean that there isn't some risk

So if you wanna eliminate the risk or minimize the risk, then you can go the extra mile Not doing, you sound like you're doing exactly what the guy described in the video He got all the way down– Yeah, once you send me the video, I'm gonna do exactly what's in the video Yeah, but he was washing each piece of fruit for 20 seconds with soap You're not doing that, are you? Christy handled that stuff, so I don't know if she went that far

We're just being– Probably did though We're trying to leave the external bags and we're doing takeout like once to twice a week We're trying to minimize that But leaving those external bags on the porch, and then when you can kinda empty out the contents of a package onto a plate or something like that and then throwing away that and wiping everything down, sticking to hot foods instead of cold foods, it, I just, what I'm trying to do is mitigate it, minimize it, but knowing that you can't really eliminate the risk But I mean, the thing that scares me more than anything is if I have to be in close proximity with somebody, which I really haven't

The only, during this, and so we're recording this on, what is it, the 31st of March when we're actually recording this? Yeah And so obviously, you're still in lockdown Lockdown's been, sort of a federal lockdown has been pushed through the end of April California will probably go longer than that I saw that the governor of Virginia said there was gonna be a lockdown through June 10th, subject to be updated

But he went ahead and said to June 10th, a stay at home order, basically The only thing that I've done is there was that one time I had to go over to the creative house to accept the delivery of a desk My desk finally came in And I met the guy– How'd that go? Well, I met the guys out in the front and I stayed, I was like 20 feet from these dudes outside And I was like, "All right, guys, here's what I'm gonna do

"I'm going to describe to you, "I'm gonna go inside, I'm gonna open up the doors "and leave them open so you can walk in "I'm gonna come back out "I'm gonna describe to you the room "and the location that I want this desk to be set up in "And then I'm gonna go into the backyard "and I'm going to wait" So in other words, I don't wanna be in the same house at the same time

Because I've been doing good about this quarantine thing And now, first of all, they, the two guys who were delivering and setting up the desk volunteered, they were like, "Well, we don't have it" And I was like, I didn't say anything, like, "Well, you're typically asymptom-, "you could be the 25% or more of people "who are asymptomatic, who have it but are still contagious "Or you could be the 100% of people "who usually get the disease and have it, "are asymptomatic for the first two days "but also are contagious" But I didn't break that out

I didn't wanna be that guy It's frustrating that it's just not getting through to people Well, that's another thing we'll talk about, is people's inability or unwillingness to process the facts around this stuff But anyway, so I said all that, and then I'm in the backyard and the guy, he's like, "Sir" And I'm like, "Oh, no, they've run into a problem

" And I kinda like stick my head into the living room and I can see in the hallway, and I can see that they've got the desk sort of like stood up and they're like, "This desk is not going to fit into, "we can't get it in there," and he was like, "I've been doing this for 13 years" At that point, It ain't gonna happen I took a deep breath And you told him to just put it in my room Well, actually, no, no– It's a nice desk

No, I explored this option I was gonna do this without your permission Oh, yeah? I was gonna put my desk in your room and just switch our offices and see if you ever noticed But it's not the location of my office, it's the width of the doors in the creative house are 29 inches, which are too small to get anything in there So you're, there's no room that it could fit in except the living room, so I told him to take it back

But before I told him to take it back, I went up to them, I held my breath and walked into the house You know I can hold my breath for quite some time I had a conversation without breathing, which I have been practicing lately Which we've discussed, yes And I was like, okay, by the time I was running out of breath, I was like, "All right, you're right

"I don't think this is gonna fit "Just return it," and then ran outside You ran outside? Yeah It's like your face is turning blue I probably did breathe inside a little bit so, but you know, that was a week ago and I'm still feeling okay

Anyway– I mean, I get as much delivered as possible, but I ordered takeout from this one place and I went to pick it up And I had done this before and you know, you go in and they've got a rack and your stuff's on it We've already paid There's no touching the credit cards or even signing of anything You just take it

But some people, they're not, they haven't figured all that out So I get there and it's like, I gotta sign a thing I'm not, I didn't wanna sign a thing And I'm touching this pen Yeah, what the hell? Why are they, what is wrong with people, man? I don't understand why they can't get with the program

Figure it out And then, even worse, they have this coffee bar, and that's where you went to pick up the stuff, but there was a guy sitting– You should have just said, "I'm not signing it," by the way Say, "Screw it "What are you gonna do, sue me? "I'm not signing it" I signed it and I had my antibacterial spray, and I immediately sprayed myself and walked out and sprayed myself again, sprayed my hand, you know, but– Sprayed myself

There was a guy who had gotten coffee, and they gave it to him in a to-go mug, and then he sat down in the aisle where everyone has to pick up And he's like just within a few feet of people, and he's an older guy And he's talking to everybody that comes in because, I don't know, maybe he lives alone He's probably lonely He just sat there

And they should have told him he had to leave And here I am, I'm like, am I the one to tell this guy, "Sir, you really don't need to be here "for your health and the health of other people "Everyone has to come in too close proximity to you "and you're talking" What's the word when you like, you boom your voice? Projecting You're projecting

You're projecting your voice so that people can hear you at a distance, which is projecting stuff into the air, man It's like– Well, just to give you an idea– This is why I didn't talk to the guy, because if I started talking to him, I didn't wanna get angry with him So I didn't say anything Well, and so there might be people who think that, and we're gonna talk about this There might be people Just talk about it

Who think that we're overreacting, that we're overreacting, that the experts are overreacting But just to give, what you're talking about with the projecting of the voices So did you hear about the chorus group that got together? 60 people got together– No Like, you know, a week or two ago I don't know, before everyone really understood, maybe two, three weeks ago, before anyone really understood the seriousness of what was going on

They got together for one practice in a room, all singing, 60 people 45 of them have tested positive for COVID-19 Being in the same room with people who are talking, much less singing– Projecting and singing Just breathing is a risk It's like, this is, again, this is not, this isn't, it is not rocket science

It is science, but it isn't a mystery It's not a surprise Because people are like, "We didn't know this was gonna happen "We don't, this is a surprise how quickly it's spreading" No, it is not

People have been talking about it the whole time Why are we so surprised? So all right, let's take a short break And it's scary I just wanna get the scary part out of the way so that on the backside of this break, we can be more positive, because now I'm worked up I know with some of the stuff we're gonna talk about, we're gonna get worked up again

Oh, I'm gonna get worked up You know I'm gonna get worked up There's people dying I mean, you know, Joe Diffie is dead, man Right

Poor guy You know, it's like, I have a lot of good memories to Joe Diffie songs I actually felt really sad, you know, it's like– But he does have, he has the quintessential song about what to do to him after he dies, though Prop me up beside the jukebox when I die I wanna go to heaven, but I don't wanna go tonight

The main thing that I thought about is the fact that I just don't feel as prepared as Joe Diffie Are they gonna do that to him? Are they gonna, is he currently propped up beside, put some, put a stiff drink in my hand, fill my boots up with sand Sadly, and I'm not joking, I know it seems that we're making light of Joe Diffie's death, we're not I think the reason that it's not gonna happen is because of this damn virus It's like if he had died in another way during normal times, they might actually be considering that, but there's no, you can't have a funeral

You can't You can't have a funeral I mean– You can have an online funeral When you talk about famous people that you're fond of dying, I mean they're heart-wrenching, tragic stories I just can't bring myself to read about 'em anymore, of people's loved ones passing away

And it's, you know, let's not get into it, but it's scary, and it's taking too long to sink in, and it's taking, again, two weeks ago, it was said by the people who were trying to get it to sink in, it's not gonna happen until people start dying, until people you love start dying Yeah, that's what it takes for some people We have this disconnect We have this disconnect You know, I operate under this disconnect a lot

It's like you watch the news and you hear about bad stories and it's like that stuff happens to other people It doesn't happen to me It doesn't happen to people It must be a defense mechanism, because I'd like to think I'm not the only one who has that tendency We talked about it some last week but– I think there's a number of reasons and we can– There's a number of reasons

But I do think there are some positives, we'll get into that We will get positive But first, we're gonna get positive right now 'cause we're gonna let you know that we are continuing to sell the 3D– BYMB shirt Be Your Mythical Best shirt, with a portion of the proceeds going to Feeding America And Link, do you have the copy for what Feeding America is doing? I had it, but my computer's having so many problems, I had to shut the program that had that information about what Feeding America is specifically doing during the outbreak

Feeding America is a nationwide network of 200, I can't even read numbers Oh, god Wow I said 200 food banks working to ensure our most vulnerable populations continue to have access to food And their greatest need right now is donations and support of local food banks

So yeah, the t-shirt benefits Feeding America You can also donate yourself, so Mythicalcom So how do we wanna get into some positivity? I wanna talk a little bit about just this idea of conservation and how that applies personally and what that might mean for the world– Oh, you're talking about leftovers? Yeah, well, I'm not going back to that specifically, but I am saying that it has made, the scarcity or at least the perceived scarcity of some of these goods, toilet paper for who knows why being one of the chief ones that there's a perceived scarcity of toilet paper, that's not actually true, there's just a few people who have it all

And I don't think they've got especially dirty buttholes, I just think they got panicked This perceived scarcity has changed the way that I approach my meals, but also the amount of toilet paper I do use, paper towels, like the McLaughlin family, we can go through a sapling's worth of paper towels in a meal sometimes, just a disregard for how much we are consuming And this is a problem in America, this is a problem in the Western world, but the thing is is that as these developing nations become industrialized and they kind of move into this consumer-based culture, they're all consuming at the same rate, right We know that's a problem The Earth has been sort of shouting for a while, like, "This is a problem, there's not enough

"if you're all gonna act this way" But it makes me think, as I was trying to evaluate what's this doing to me personally, I was thinking about Jessie's grandmother who died last year, I think she was 92 So she was basically born right around the time of the Depression and she had this tendency to be incredibly, like she would conserve in ways that we would laugh at Like she would put aluminum foil over some food, and then she would serve it and then she would take the aluminum foil off, and she would wash it, and she would fold it back up and put it back in the drawer I mean this woman used aluminum foil over and over again

In fact, one time, one Christmas her sister, Aunt Betty, got her aluminum foil, or tin foil as we called it in the South, for Christmas It's like that was your Christmas present And those things that seem– So that she could throw it away more readily or just because? Just 'cause she knows how much she values it, it's just like toilet paper has become currency I haven't bought anything with toilet paper You could, try it

I could? If you draw a picture of George Washington on it, it'll definitely work But yeah, just this idea that it's like, hmm, there is a limited amount of stuff But not just that, but I think it draws into focus for me this idea that the steady stream of goods is always going to be there Like we took it for granted, that everything that we need is always going to be there, you don't have to stock up, you don't have to have extra of anything, you don't have to be prepared for anything Now you know me and being a prepper light, I do have quite a bit of stuff ready

But it's not lifestyle stuff Yeah, but it's like emergency, I haven't gone into any of it yet 'cause it's just liked freeze-dried food But do you think, so you're saying that you think this will affect your lifestyle moving forward? I think it will and I think it will, my hope, is that it will change the way our kids The only people who really have a sense of this are probably boomers, 'cause they were at least they can kind of remember a time where things were a little bit less available, but they've all bought into the same lie that we've all bought into that we can get whatever we want whenever we want it and damn the consequences It doesn't matter what that means about people

It doesn't matter what it means about the Earth But I think we're beginning to see that, no, there's consequences to that hyperconsumerism Not just this idea of conservation as a, well, I don't know if it's gonna be there, but just beginning to examine, hold on, it's not just that the supply chains are susceptible to things like a virus It's not that the fact that we've got a global economy and we're getting our stuff from other places that then could be affected, and we're all interdependent, and we're susceptible to certain things, that's all true But it just makes, for me there's been a few things throughout this that have just kinda begun to seem a little gross and one of them is this idea that we can have whatever we want, as much of it as we want whenever we want

It just seems like an irresponsible idea But if it doesn't get practical, it's not gonna take hold I think it has to come down to, okay, I'm out of paper towels I cannot get more paper towels So I'm gonna start using hand towels and then I'm gonna put 'em in the laundry

We have a few rolls of paper towels left and I'm thinking about just taking 'em out 'Cause we have hand towels And once you discover a hand towel works just as good as a paper towel, it's just, especially if you're a kid and you're not the one laundering the hand towels, there's no impact to you Except now that I've wiped up this thing, or I've wiped my hands, or whatever, I don't know where to put it Well, you need to hang it up and let it dry and you can use it again

You don't have to just throw it away So it's really just a habit And it's once you exchange to doing the hand towels and you get used to it for a few weeks or a few months, I think at that point then you can say, "You know what, let's not go back" I'm using much less toilet paper I'm using my bidet to a whole new level

Oh, the bidet is the smartest thing I've ever bought in my life But I realized how much toilet paper I was still using in combination with my bidet And I'm like, you know what, I shouldn't have to use two squares, and that's just to dab off, just to dry off There is an air dryer, but it takes forever Takes too long, and it doesn't really work that well

It also kind of sends toilet stank throughout your room I think when you, it can't be an ideological change of mind, it has to be a habitual change of mind, and I think as the weeks go on, that's what will make the difference But then I think there's, and I think that's a positive I think another positive when I'm talking about the groceries coming in and I'm talking about how stressful that is and everything, but I'm also thinking, you know what, it took me 30 minutes to wipe everything down, but in the long run, when this is over, I'm not gonna be wiping anything down, and by the way, how long would it have taken to shop for all these groceries that I just spent all this time wiping down if they weren't delivered to me? I saved all of that time Man, grocery delivery's pretty nice

Even if I don't get exactly what I want, they swap it out with something else, and there's a little bit of a surprise You don't know exactly what you're gonna get Ooh, look at what I got today It feels like I'm going back to a milkman experience, man I always wondered what that would be like

Ooh, look, the milkman's here, I wonder what kinda milk I got Is it strawberry, is it chocolate? Did they do that? I don't think so I think it was mostly just milk Unless your milkman was a Nesquik rabbit Mine wasn't, 'cause I never had one

There's some people who I know they do the grocery delivery, but the vast, vast, vast majority of people don't do that You go and you shop for your groceries, because, well you know, I'll remember something else that I need, or this will strike my fancy But we're actually learning, even with so many things being swapped out that we got a crap ton of groceries come yesterday and it's gonna last us a few weeks, 'cause we're trying to minimize the amount of touchpoints that we have with new deliveries I think that's something that's gonna keep going The way that shopping has moved to Amazon over the past five years, whenever I want something the first thing I think is Amazon, except for groceries

And I think this is putting me over the edge to have groceries delivered So I think that's another silver lining I find that somewhat problematic The whole Amazon thing, you know, Amazon has its own issues that it's dealing with I think that any major company like that that is trying to serve that many people and do it for profit

I'm not saying order from Amazon, I'm saying order from your local grocery store I'm saying that habit, I think, will continue But I'm saying you have to evaluate that may make your life easier and it may get you off of the road, but it is also putting a delivery person on the road meaning that from a carbon standpoint, I don't know, I've never looked into this, I don't know which one is mo- I think one of the things is like I have a tendency, for instance, when I order stuff from Amazon, as I think of it, I'll just order it and it's one trip, it's one box, whereas there's a more responsible way to do that to put things into a larger order Just that's a small thing that then, okay, I can make this one trip from one delivery person as opposed to three or four But I do think that some of the– But what I'm asking is what, we're really talking about what in the future, how are our future lives gonna be different because of this experience? And I'm just saying I'm gonna be ordering a bunch of things that I didn't order before

I think groceries is the chief amongst those Well, let's talk about what you were talking about earlier which is, we can get back more into the societal, financial, sciencey stuff in a second, but the greeting, the idea of greetings Now obviously at some point, I don't think I'll ever go back to a handshake Just to put it simply Well, and 'cause there is an acceptable alternative for it

But before we get to the handshakes, though, just the idea of being in closed spaces with people, right I mean one of the things that I've been noticing as I watch television and I see groups of people, like crowded places, I can't help but think about the virus Now that's gonna go away, like we're not gonna be a species that no longer gathers together in public spaces But I mean this particular, depending on who you talk to, and there's a range of predictions, but this is probably going to be something that subsides a little bit over the summer and then comes back again in the fall It looks like it's gonna have some seasonality to it

We're not gonna have a vaccine by the fall, I doubt I mean that would be an unprecedented timeline, maybe that'll happen But it doesn't look it will and so we may actually be dealing with it even a year after that So this particular virus may be something that affects public gatherings for 18 to 24 months But I think eventually when we get past this, we're gonna be thinking differently about it, but the thing is, and again, comparisons between– Here's how I'm gonna be thinking differently about it

I'm not gonna shake hands I'm not gonna be touching railings Like all the stuff that everybody touches, I'm gonna have an instinct to not touch those things because now I have an appreciation for how easily things can be on, how germs can be on there Like I'm gonna be more of a germaphobe, man I think I'm just gonna have my hand in my sleeve and I'm gonna be opening doorknobs

I already whenever I would push on a door, I would think about the place where the least number of people push, especially children So I'll reach really high and then push on a door Oh yeah, I do that all the time I've been doing that for years But I couldn't even tell you exactly why I was doing it

I was like, yeah, 'cause a lot of people touch there and that's gross But I hadn't really made the connection that now is firmly in place that's there is something there that then will be on me that then will go in my mouth I'm Howie Mandel-ing this thing, man Well but the question is is that– I don't think I'm ever gonna go all the way back But my question is if everyone began to beh-, I'm split on this, because I feel like if everyone behaves in this hypervigilant way during normal times, not now, but during normal times, everybody's using hand sanitizer, everybody's avoiding each other, nobody's talking, I mean nobody's touching, nobody's shaking hands, nobody's touching doorknobs and stuff like that, everybody's putting hand sanitizer on every surface

I need to talk to an expert on this, but my thought is that that may make us as a species long term more susceptible to things I mean one of the reasons that when, if you read "Guns, Germs, and Steel," one of the reasons that when the Western Europeans when they came to America, very few of them died and many of the Native Americans died was because– 'Cause the Native Americans did not have doorknobs Yeah, they had been living in these open spaces and they weren't crowded together, but all the Western Europeans had been in cities and gathered together so they had all this resistance to viruses We're gonna keep, these viruses are gonna keep coming You're gonna have a lot more deaths from falling because people aren't gonna be using handrails, people aren't gonna be steadying themselves

Like I'm gonna, this is how I'm gonna go now, because of this experience, I'm gonna fall down something No, but what I'm telling you because I didn't want to touch it Is that if everyone does what you're doing, it may actually make us more susceptible to the next round, because there will be another round I will have fallen down stairs before that happens, but yeah, as a society But it makes me think differently about just flu season in general, I don't think about flu season And I know that comparisons between COVID and flu are unhelpful, very unhelpful

But the fact is is that the seasonal flu, if it's a bad one, kills thousands of people, well it kills people every year, sometimes tens of thousands of people, and I don't get the flu shot I mean, I very rarely get the flu shot And the reason I don't get it is because I feel personally invincible, so I think like, "Oh, I might get the flu, but it's not gonna kill me, "I have to make an appointment" But now I'm thinking about my own, I'm not just thinking about my own situation, I'm thinking about how I contribute to everyone's situation I never thought about the flu shot Me getting the flu shot In light of society service

Is not about me, it's about society Getting the flu shot is about the people who I might come in contact with that are susceptible and not being the a-hole, who's like, "Oh, I might get the flu and then I might interact "with someone who's susceptible and they die" It's like, oh, that's a big change for me But I do think it's gonna also, I think the greeting thing is a big thing Because there's currently an alternative

And there's no way, there's zero chance that shaking of hands and getting together and getting really close to each other in tight environments is gonna be a regular thing in 2020, like that's not coming back in 2020 I'm not saying there won't be some gatherings, but it's not coming back soon I mean, when concerts and going to the movies and parties start happening again, boy, I think there'll be a little bit of time where we appreciate it And then there'll be a time when we're old when we'll say, "Oh, you know, you can go to parties any time you want, "but there was a time when we couldn't do that "Couldn't party

" "It was a year" "You had to party in your house" "Couldn't party" "On a video chat" What about video chats? How do you think video chats, which are, I mean, everybody's doing it, you gotta come to grips with it

I tend to enjoy you more via video chat So I mean maybe we can conduct our whole relationship like this You don't mean that, that's just a funny thing that you said I can't hear you chewing Interestingly, even though you've got those earpods in– What, I was eating cereal, last week when we were doing the technical test, I was eating cereal and you seemed to be able to hear it viscerally

Actually I could quite a bit For some reason, I could, Because it's, Oh, you know the reason I couldn't really hear it when we recorded that GMM Earbuds You were drinking liquids, you weren't chewing Yeah, I wasn't chewing it So I take that all back, I'd rather be in person, I'd rather be next to you

I think it's good for rela-, I think a whole group of people, I think the majority of people are realizing that they can conduct a meaningful conversation and a meaning relationship on a screen Mmhmm And I just think that a lot of people who were making phone calls before are going to be making video chats moving forward Well, think about the video chat that we had with our close friends from college We have been in contact, loose contact, with these guys who are like our best friends in college

Many, many months, For months via text Many, many months would go by where we wouldn't, there would be no contact at all But then we recently reconnected and we started a WhatsApp chat, and then during all this since everyone has sort of figured out the video chat thing, we were like, let's do a Zoom call And nothing changed about our proximity It wasn't like we used to be together like last year and now we're apart

It's like, no, we went to college together, but we got on and we had this, you know, we talk to each other And I think people are getting over the awkwardness of it The technological barrier like, "I don't know how to do it," which everyone can do it at this point, young and old can do it But also there's an awkwardness to a video chat that, That you get over I think everyone is being forced to get over it really quickly

Yeah, so I think it's drastically accelerated that type of relationship and that type of connection I mean, I think about how far I am from family members and I just think that there's a greater chance of being more connected when this thing is over as a result of this, which is nice I mean the kids have started schooling over video chats and they're figuring all that out and making sure they remember that people can see them, and that people can hear them unless they turn their camera off It's this new awareness of whenever I'm in front of a screen people are gonna start to assume that they're being watched versus the opposite, 'cause we're gonna learn that lesson Well and also the idea of people– I think that's something we won't go back and we'll have this comfort level with being seen, and heard, and basically watched whenever we're on a screen

It'll be the rule, not the exception But people are learning their lesson I don't know if you saw, there was that Zoom chat that the video, a portion of the video from it, went viral a couple weeks ago where it was a work video chat and one of the women on the call has her computer and then all of a sudden you see her get up and walk down the hall and then all of a sudden she sets the laptop down on the bathroom floor, the camera is pointing right up at her, she pulls in her pants and pees What? Yes And you hear, the main person who's talking who's leading the discussion starts, he slows down a little bit and everybody starts looking and covering their mouths and laughing and stuff

Why didn't they say, "Hey Tina, pull up your britches, girl" She looks down while she's peeing and sees her legs on the screen and then suddenly closes the laptop Oh my gosh Another example, my dad was in a call with some people recently, like a Zoom call, he and people in his 60s and 70s who he's also having these meetings with They started, well his friend was like, I'm hosting this Zoom call and we're gonna start the meeting at six o'clock, but you can get on the Zoom call at any time that you want to just talk or whatever

And my dad goes on there at like four o'clock just to check and make sure everything's working and he can hear this guy and his wife having a conversation in their house because they haven't muted themselves So I think one of the things that's gonna happen is people, there's this adjustment period, people are gonna be caught doing and saying things about other people That thing that always happens sometimes when you realize that you're saying something about someone that you wouldn't want them to hear and then you're like, hold on, did I accidentally butt dial them right before this happened? Or is this conference call muted Yeah Did I hit mute or did I hit mute and unmute really quickly and now I'm saying something that they're hearing

Lily was watching this TikTok sketch last night and I happened to look over her shoulder and it was some girl, of course that she didn't know, she wasn't dancing, she was doing something comedic, which is nice She was crying for the laughs Why is this girl crying? Well then she goes on to talk about how when you're in your classroom chat if you read the fine print it says, well when you're in your video classroom that the chat feature on the side is permanently recorded and the teacher can see that Not only can the teacher see after the fact the entire chat that's taken place, they can also see the private messages between students in the classroom On Zoom? I actually don't, Or on Google Classroom? On Zoom

I don't know which, and I actually don't know if it's true but she was making fun of it And I kinda can believe it But again, I don't know for sure That seems like a flaw in the system if that's the case Well being able to see the classroom chat, Well that seems right

Later, As the host Seems right But the private messages? But direct messages? They're just direct messages between students It's like, yeah, should a teacher be able to hear what two students are whispering to each other in the back of the classroom? No I don't think so

Maybe I don't think so either So maybe she was wrong and it's just sending shock waves through TikTok and also to me You'd have to look into that yourself but that's one thing Working from home, that's another thing

First of all, I do not like it I'm sure there are people who are discovering that they can work from home, and they can get everything done, and they can– Those people don't have children Yeah, there's more freedom associated with it or whatever I mean, it is gonna change the workplace landscape, there's gonna be, there's savings associated with it, depending on the business I guess Oh I think one of the biggest changes that'll take place, definitely people who have brutal commutes will find ways to work from home

Because a lot of people are instituting work-from-home policies out of necessity, now some businesses can't continue to function working from home, but a lot of 'em can And so those people who kinda discovered– And once you find a way for weeks, then you're like, at least giving my Friday at home and my Monday kind of a thing It actually makes decisions, it can be a beneficial thing for a lot of reasons because you got somebody's who's working from home, therefore they're not driving, so they're not contributing carbon to the atmosphere by driving but they're also not wasting an hour, or two hours, whatever, just being on the road And so they've got more free time and then the employer, if that person doesn't actually have to be present, the employer doesn't have to provide a space for them, which means a smaller building There's definitely a lot, but I think that one of the practical ways that it'll be implemented is right now when you're sick, one of the reasons you stay home is because you feel like crap, another reason you stay home is so you don't affect other people

That is gonna happen a lot more People are gonna be like, I'm sick, I actually think I could probably work, but it would be irresponsible for me to go in, and also I can do my job from home and I can go into this meeting via videoconference Having people who are at home sick or just needed to stay home to do something because they had a doctor's appointment, or because they needed to watch their kid, suddenly those people it's not gonna be weird to pipe them in on a videoconference because we will all have the experience in doing it And it's not like, oh, the person on the video chat is somehow less of a contributor or less significant because we all remember that time when we were all on video chats I think that that's gonna be a huge, huge change

It's gonna change the way sick leave is looked at because you're gonna be able to stay home and you're sick, And work But you're still working, and we're gonna have to figure out what does that mean, for hourly employees what does that look like, what does that mean? All right and I'll shift it one more time 'cause I know you wanna talk about this, so I'll just tee it up The view of science and scientists, what they're saying to us I hope that that changes in a positive way as a result of this Because if you look back weeks ago at what science and scientists were saying about what most likely will happen and now it is, and we didn't wanna hear it, we didn't wanna come to grips with it, and so we opted for it to get worse before we started to do enough

I hope there's a lesson learned there that translates into a silver lining Well there's definitely a lesson learned there Okay, this has been very discouraging to me, this has been incredibly infuriating honestly Now I've been infuriated with people who refuse to listen to plain science for a long time, but the timescale of what we knew and then how we could, everything has been condensed and clarified in this situation Now, this is a distinct, it's not distinctly but it is very much an American issue

I can't imagine what the rest of the world is thinking, they're like, you guys, there's so much pride in being an American, but yet what we lead the world in, in many ways, is just almost aggressive ignorance We're really the only place in the world right now that's experiencing this pandemic to this degree where people, the general population, has a distinctly polarized opinion about what's actually happening because of the political polarization in our country, which is just mind-blowing to me Now, more and more people who played it down, including our president, are coming around to the reality and beginning to listen to the people who said this all along, but the things that I've heard like– And it's taken bodies in refrigerated trucks outside of hospitals for that to happen Yeah, right, but the thing is is that– And I just wanna redeem that, I wanna redeem those bodies I want to know that we won't make these mistakes again

Go ahead But I think that, okay, there's lots of people saying that no one knew this was gonna happen, I've heard that so many times No one could have known this was happening What, are you freaking nuts? No, we've been being warned about this from so many people for so many years that this exact scenario with this exact timeline with the exact exponential curve of infections and deaths, even where it potentially would come from, like all this was very much written on the wall, said in TED Talks, written in books, written in articles, and anyone who was paying attention even a little bit should not have been surprised by this But in one sense, it's very difficult to be prepared because if you think about it from a political standpoint, it would be very difficult, especially in our country, to convince people that disaster preparedness on this level for a pandemic was worth investing in, right

It's like everyone's struggling to figure out what we're gonna do with our money if somebody was like, guys, we're gonna have a surplus of masks and ventilators, are you gonna get votes for that? No, everyone's gonna be like, you're crazy, why are you spending all that money on something that might not happen? So it took a– Probably won't happen I think is the way It took an event like this, but the thing is They'd say it Because what we're talking about is I think in America there is this distrust of authority, which is a good thing, right, but there is a distrust of expertise, which is a bad thing, and people have lumped them together So the whole idea of questioning authority, people have talked like you could never do a lockdown in the US like you did in China because we don't have an authoritarian government And also the whole point, like the principal founding principle of America is independence from an oppressive government, right And so I think that that's a healthy thing, I think that questioning authority, there's a healthy, positive place for that

But in the past generation or so, that has gotten conflated with questioning expertise and thinking that people who are experts in certain areas, scientists namely, are part of a deep-state conspiracy on all sorts of issues But again, they've been saying it from the very beginning, they were like, okay, this is when it's gonna get here There was literally a dude who said this will be beginning to infect large numbers of people in the US the week of March so and so or whatever, he said that in January And you know what happened, that week is the week that it was like, oh, now we've got clusters, we've got community spread Is he a prophet, does he have a crystal ball? No, he just has studied this before but that doesn't keep a bunch of stupid-ass people from going on Facebook and talking about something they have no idea about

Like the amount of drivel that has come out of people's mouths and off of people's keyboards, these armchair experts, it's like I don't know about this stuff, I'm not gonna claim to know about it, I haven't read these books, I haven't studied this, but I can recognize when someone has and understand that, oh, they're all saying basically the same thing, there may be a range of projections, but they're all basically saying the same thing They're all saying this is gonna seem like we're overreacting, but just trust us, these things operate according to very established principles, very established mathematical projections, and this is what's going to happen and here's what we have to do to minimize that And now one of the things I'm already seeing is just because the projections have come down people are like, "I told you the experts were wrong "They said that two million people were gonna die "and now they're saying that 200,000 are gonna die "See, science fails again

" It makes me want to harm someone when I hear people say things like that 'Cause the simple reality is the projections have changed because the practices that the experts suggested are being implemented We want the projections to change And some people, and some governors, and some leaders have actually said we're actually going to get ahead of this and we're going to institute these things before they become a huge problem We want the projections to change because we want people to actually do what the experts are suggesting

But again, there is this tendency to question, to be like, I think I might know more than this because I have a communications degree I don't understand It's not just Southern people who have these opinions, by the way Well, the reason I go into that Southern accent is because that's where I'm from and where I'm from, that's the best way to characterize that mentality As a Southern man with a southern accent, I have the right to go into a Southern accent to make fun of people and I stand by that until it becomes offensive in 2025, then I'll stop

Is that another prediction? But can any positive come from this? I think that's– Well, of course, yeah, yeah A couple people have, this isn't something I came up with, a number of people have made this connection, but this is there's very little difference between this and climate change, right Again, in America, it's the only nation on Earth where there is a legitimate, large section of the population that doubts the reality of manmade climate change, that humans are causing climate change and also climate change stands the potential to be catastrophic and we're already beginning to see the effects, right There's a huge group of people driven by not science but ideology who think that this is just all a scam When the people who have devoted their lives to studying this, who are not part of a deep-state conspiracy, who are just people who are after the truth, have been sounding the warning bells and they've said this is what's going to happen, these are the projections, this is the worst-case scenario, this is the best-case scenario, but this is the range of scenarios based on what we're doing right now

And if we don't adopt these drastic measures, then this many people could die Now it's not as precise and it's not as short-term as the COVID-19 thing, but it's all the same factors are in play You got people who don't know anything about the situation who go on a website and find some information and then parrot it on Facebook and everybody, there's so much false information that is parroted There is this idea that people who believe in climate change are part of a deep-state conspiracy There's a lot of people who are like, even if climate change is real, we can't implement the measures that the scientists are suggesting because it'll kill our economy

Again, another thing that is perfectly in line with COVID-19 And maybe, just maybe, and again like you said, it's taking people being in refrigerated trucks for people to see this, these guys who were not motivated by anything other than a desire to understand and communicate the truth have been saying this, have been warning us, and here's what's happening See, what we said was gonna happen is happening, and how to prevent it is exactly how we said we should prevent it, and yes, it is going to negatively affect the economy to some degree but we'll get through it and we will recover The same principles are in play I would love to think that we as humans are, and especially as Americans, are learning our lesson to listen to the scientists and to take action, to take drastic action for something that's happening, drastic things are happening

You see glaciers melting, who cares You show the sad polar bear, Hey, it's cyclical, man, it's cyclical The wildfires, all the natural disasters, I'm just afraid that not enough people are going to learn a lesson from this to– Well, here's the great news You don't have to have a lot of them learn their lesson You just have to have enough to change policy

That's the beautiful thing about our country is you don't have to have 98% of people agree, right now, we have a political ideology in this country that while there are some healthy questioning authority things that come from that ideology, some other things have been glommed onto it, including this distrust of expertise And so that group of people are driving policy and keeping real change from happening But we were almost there, we were almost there as a country, both parties were kind of aligned and said this is a real deal, we need to take some action, and then 2016 happened and a lot of things are moving in the wrong direction But what I'm getting at is I feel like this is going to impact some people's mentality to be like, hmm, maybe I shouldn't just read a book or go on a website and just suddenly think that 97% of the people who study this are wrong I just don't know how catastrophic this needs to be, and it already is in many ways, people's lives are wrecked, people are dying, people's livelihoods are disintegrating, but I don't know how bad it needs to get for it to really shake us up permanently in order to be able to apply these lessons to climate change

Because it's so applicable, but I'm just afraid that, I don't know, 'cause the worse it gets, the more money we're gonna have to spend and band together in order to rebuild the economy Are we gonna wanna turn around and also spend a lot of money to, you know, all the support structures we're putting in place to get everyone back on their feet and to get the economy back on its feet are things that are part of the Green New Deal to accommodate for people who are in industries which are harming the environment in order to give them a support structure to continue to be a contributing part of the economy and society and for their livelihood not to disintegrate So it's just you're gonna spend a lot of money to fix this problem of COVID-19, is there gonna be any money left over to spend on this initiative that like, by the way, it's not something that's predicted that might happen, it also is happening That's something, again, the president keeps saying hopefully this won't happen again for centuries, it's like, dude, what? It's going to happen again, we knew that it was going to happen, they said it was going to happen, and it will happen again And it will happen more often, actually, the more we continue to grow, and there's more people, and that we're more crowded

Travel and connections, I mean it's a lot different than it was 100 years ago But I think that the good news, something that we can be hopeful about of what you said is that, first of all, there are things happening as a result of this virus that directly impact carbon emissions, right And I'm not just talking about factories being shut down, or all the sudden there's no tourism in Venice, Italy so the canals are clear for the first time in recent memory That's not a sustainable thing, we don't want there to be no tourists, we want people to travel, we want people to make things, we do want the economy to come back But something as simple as thinking differently about consumerism and consumption that is going to have an impact on just the amount of goods that are produced and what we think we actually need

And I think that that is gonna have a positive impact on climate These supply chains being so global, which I think it's great that we're connected as humans and the imaginary borders that we place around ourselves we're beginning to see that they are just that, they're imaginary, you can't keep the virus out, the virus doesn't know that there's a border around your country, doesn't see people the way that people see people But we necessarily will have to move manufacturing closer to the people who need those manufactured goods and that is going to have a drastic impact 'Cause basically when all this stuff got outsourced globally and all the stuff is being produced in mass quantities and then shipped all around the world, all of that has increased carbon emissions drastically, but if we bring those supply chains back closer to home, it'll be good for local economies, it'll be good for the environment, so I think that part of the economic recovery because of this could actually have some of those green technologies and strategies, which ultimately will in the long term make us healthier as an economy and be able to address the pressing problems of climate change I'm trying to be hopeful

There is hope, Link I'm trying to be hopeful I'm trying to be positive That is the exercise I mean, that is the challenge for all of us is to whether we're looking to the future or looking to the next five minutes is that we need to continue, and I'm shifting gears here in order to conclude this thing, it's our challenge to remain positive and to channel our energy into things that enrich our lives and the lives of other people

So how many weeks is this gonna go on? I don't know, we're gonna keep having these discussions every week, be a part of it, #EarBiscuits, let us know what you think about these life predictions that we've made But also I just want to take it as an opportunity to encourage you to love yourself and love those around you and that includes the people around you via video chat, to just channel your energy into things that enrich your lives and the lives of others And continue to find the silver linings I think with where we are, I don't know that we did a great job of it today I tend to have this frus-, like when I think about everything we've been talking about there's still a lot of frustration that's coming out, it's hard to have a lighthearted discussion when these things are going on, and I think that's the reality of it

I think these things, it's good to be frustrated about these things because we deserved better than the response that we've gotten and people should have been more responsible People should have listened to the experts You shouldn't have to see people die in order to believe that someone who has devoted their lives to studying something that is pretty well understood were telling you the truth So it is something to get upset about Because listen, people, that mentality, the mentality of not believing experts has directly led to an untold number of deaths already and it will continue to lead to more deaths

So that's worth being upset about, it's okay to be upset about that But again, like you said, Joe Diffie's death will not be in vain because ironically when people see that these people that they looked up to, that they loved, die, whether they be, everyone will known someone who suffered from this and many people will know someone who died personally but you'll also people who have created things that you love are gonna die from this And I think little by little it's sinking in to more and more people and there's no way that that can't have some sort of charitable impact on people It won't be all in vain I'll give a recommendation, it's my week

If you haven't hunkered down and watched "Lord of the Rings," get your hand on the extended versions The longer the movie, the better The versions that we watched weren't the extended ones and then we started watching the extras, which is my actual recommendation 'cause we've already made the recommendation of the movies My family's going through the extras now But do you know how long the extended version of "Return of the King" is? Let's see, it goes 'Cause I do

from three hours to three and a half? It's four hours and 52 minutes What? I bought it last night I had the DVD set extended edition and you know me, I've cleaned out so much stuff over the past few years and I just get so aggressive I got rid of 'em because they weren't blu-ray and I was like I can just rent 'em online Well it turns out you can't, you have to buy the extended version, especially if you wanna see all the extras, you can see some of 'em on YouTube, which we've watched, but they're varying quality

I don't know how you get your kids to sit through that They love it My kids, Christy doesn't watch it, but my kids love these extras My kids love the movies There's like 15 hours of extras

Well no, but I'm talking about the length of the movie My kids love the movies, but then we'll be getting into the third hour, and they're like, "How long is this movie, Dad?" Like it isn't like I'm ready to stop watching it, but it's like they don't watch things that are that long and the idea of them watching a movie for four hours and 52 minutes? Well, I would divide it up into three sittings, which you have, again, you can do that But my kids are really getting hooked on the production Like I think they're all wanting to be movie producers now May change their mind next week

It's the most in-depth, behind-the-scenes footage of any movie and there's no movie as worthy of it as "Lord of the Rings" in my opinion So I think it's worth the $50 to buy the whole, and make sure you get the extended version, not the theatrical version, when you buy the blu-ray DVDs so that you get the extended scenes as well as the extras That's my rec, man, #EarBiscuits Yeah, we'll keep talking and we're not, we promise that we're not gonna keep talking about the virus, there are other things happening and there's other things to talk about So we'll talk about something different next week

Or maybe we won't, I don't know what we're gonna talk about next week Well, but we'lL also invite you into the conversation, 'cause I really enjoyed when we talked about everybody's secret hobbies or whatever it was that we talked about We're gonna have something different, but we will keep talking about this as long as we're doing it, but we're not gonna do it next week, we'll take a break from the heavy stuff But we will do an episode, so we'll talk at you next week Yes we will, every week, every week

To watch more Ear Biscuits, click on the playlist on the right To watch the previous episode of Ear Biscuits, click on the playlist to the left And don't forget to click on the circular icon to subscribe If you prefer to listen to this podcast, it's available on all your favorite podcast platforms Thanks for being your mythical best

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