The title comes from an episode of “The West Wing” which we are binging again in this early spring of discontent and dismay. The series is even better this time around, a great mental prescription from the Coronavirus while our world seeks a political hangover cure.
Many of us, struggling with the present, have tinted memories of the past, recent and distant. There’s the yearning for the good old days when our lives were more stable and strife seem relegated to small countries on the other side of the world. We were younger, more innocent and more naive.
The Currier and Ives (or Norman Rockwell) images dominate our collective memories. It’s a return to Main Street, white picket fences in Pleasantville that never really existed except in TV Land. You can almost smell those Sunday dinners with the family gathered around the table, roast turkey, mashed potatoes, hot buns and the smell of apple pie baking in the oven.
The memories seem so real you can almost touch them. We yearn for them right now in this time of plague and uncertainty. We ache for those days when we could believe in our political leaders and when sports was an unchallenged relief from the headaches of yesteryear and yesterday. When Mom and Dad could calm our fears and we weren’t responsible for our lives. The way we were. Or were we?
We don’t remember Mom and Dad quietly wrestling with problems we didn’t understand because we were kids. We usually were told that there were no worries. “You’ll understand when you grow up,” we were told.
We took those reassurances to bed, sure that everything would be okay in the morning. Our tomorrows usually erased our youthful, short-term angst.
Many of us are now in the autumn of our years. Mom and Dad are gone and we are left to make sense of today’s madness for our children and grandchildren. It’s difficult to explain, to find answers for all that’s gone wrong. How do you make sense of a world turned upside down before your eyes? We’re not living Currier and Ives lives and really, never were. We’re left wondering if those romanticized images of our youth have any truth.
Maybe it’s easier to believe that those were the good, old days rather than trying to stomach reality. It’s like clinging to the images of old films with Hollywood endings. We’re desperate for heroes, good news, and happy endings for these long dark nights that drag into the morning. We’re not Currier and Ives but it’s nice to recall times when life seemed easier. When we could laugh freely and look forward to tomorrow.
I can see Wolf Blitzer and friends laughing in the Situation Room — with NO breaking news.
Here’s something to think about: give yourself a break. If there’s nothing you can do, do nothing and enjoy it. Everything is in motion, everything is changing. Relax now. Who knows what will be coming down the road in another week?