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  • Writer's picturescott sitner

I read the news today, or didn't.

I used to be a news junkie on overload. My evenings would be watching my preferred network and listening along while they said what I wanted to hear, mostly validating my positions, rightfully or wrongfully, my days were spent with MSNBC or the PGA tour net work on radio(golf news is still news). Even a week or two into this, when I was in New York with my kids, coming home for the first week of the event and waiting to see if college was going to be cancelled or my kid sent home, I would watch with rapt attention, or at least some feigned interest while I played with the cats and ate pop tarts or sometimes worse. But about ten days into this, as the virus started to infiltrate every day of our lives and have serious effects on what we did, how we did it, or what we didn't do, I sort of realized I couldn't take it anymore. What was I actually learning, if anything? News is set to inform, I think, to tell us what is happening, maybe place it into context in our lives, sometimes offer commentary, slanted one way to another to be sure(objectivity doesn't really exist anyway) and fill in the blanks in our otherwise sad and empty lives.

But one day a few weeks ago I just realized I can't do it. I wasn't learning anything I did not already know, I was mostly just getting annoyed and exasperated. People are getting sick and dying, it is going to get worse, yeah I get it, I am not going to Italy anytime soon. Are we going to shelter in place(whatever the hell that means) Can I still buy toilet paper if I can find it, and what else is going to shut down? I get my little blurbs on my phone so I get highlights, but really is there any up side except rank frustration to spending an hour or two watching the news and getting annoyed. So I stopped. I am finding I don't miss it, and when I look a little I just get annoyed again.

I think we all need to be informed, and I am not going to live in a vacuum by any stretch, but the constant barrage of the same just doesn't serve much purpose. So I am going to live with the highlights and see what happens. I think one of the things that makes this hard is the uncertainty of what is happening next, good bad or indifferent. Since it is clear at the end of the day that no one really knows, and that every guess seems to be as uneducated as the next, why not take that energy that is spent being annoyed and listen to something I like. Or try and be productive or just do nothing, which is ok, and likely will become a new normal sometime in the near future.

I do think we need to know how to handle day to day. Can I talk to anyone? Can I grocery shop? Who crosses the street first or do we just play chicken. I think the bottom line of this is just not to be stupid, and after that we can all move on. I promise not to randomly hug the grocery store check out lady, I promise I will not declare next week as hug a random stranger day. Other than that, just be smart, and wait for this to end.

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