We have to take care of our spirit along with our germy hands
CHICAGO -- During a national emergency, we have a duty to stay informed -- but this is not a duty to be overwhelmed.
There's no need to keep a browser tab open of your favorite media outlet, refreshing every few minutes to see what's new. And there's no good reason to have notifications of every type dinging on your phone, escalating the sense that things are happening fast.
Things are happening fast. We are bereft of national leadership. Some of our friends and family are at risk of getting sick, or are already ill. Still, you don't need to keep up with every dire, breathless development to stay safe.
And, anyway, tending to your mental health is as critical right now as it is to stay away from crowds and avoid touching your face.
So, even if you don't have the privilege of staying home -- with no worry about your income drying up -- and binge-watching escapist TV, you must make space for yourself. Every one of us has to find small ways to just let go of all the weight of this unprecedented threat -- and the responsibilities that we have to our families and communities to keep each other safe and well.
Just for a bit, every day, you have to laugh, you have to forget, you have to meditate or pray.
If you have time to watch a movie or some TV shows, pick something that will cheer you -- I just don't understand the epidemic of people bingeing terrifying illness-outbreak movies. That can't be entertaining or comforting at all -- just stop!
If you can eke out some time to read, here are two books that I've been waiting for a vacation to dig in to, but I need them now.
The first is "Truth and Consequences: Game Shows in Fiction and Film," by educator and author Mike Miley. If you regularly say things like "Come on, come on, no whammies!" or annoy your loved ones with "Jeopardy"-intoned "what is ... ?" answers to their questions, then this book is for you.
I know Miley from the community of fans surrounding "Infinite Jest" author David Foster Wallace, and I can't wait to get to the parts where Miley investigates Wallace's love of game shows. But the book has the aim of identifying how writers and filmmakers use the genre as a "metaphor for life in a media-saturated era, from selfhood to love to family to state power." The book is divided into "rounds," with each chapter looking at different themes that books and movies explore via the game show.