By now, everyone is fully aware of what is going on around us.
And that none of us are better off for it.
It is nearly impossible to escape from the scourge that is running roughshod over us, ruining the quality of our lives, and generally making life a living hell.
But fear not!
I am here to offer you very effective and foolproof advice on how to protect yourself from the plague that has set upon us with a vengeance.
I speak, of course, of the 24/7 news coverage of the current insanity.
(I started to put the word “news” in quotes, but I do not want to come across as cynical. Oops! I guess I did it anyway. Oh well. Let’s carry on, shall we?)
If you’re like me, you’ve discovered that it is nearly impossible to protect yourself from the non-stop and relentless coverage of the present insanity. It forces its way into our homes and into our consciousnesses in the most obnoxious and violating ways. It is on every channel on TV. It is all across the radio spectrum. YouTube has even more (if that is possible) annoying pop-up ads and overlay ads about it. Internet search engines will redirect you to pandemic sites, no matter what you just searched for. Even newspapers (for those who still read them) are fairly dripping with pandemic-related ink between all of the ads for purported cures for ED and from companies that guarantee they can help you lose weight and tone up by eating Ding-Dongs and watching daytime TV all day long.
And heaven help you if you live with someone who is obsessed with pandemic coverage. You know who I am talking about. I am talking about those people who put toothpicks under their eyelids, prop themselves up in an upright position in front of the TV, and watch pandemic coverage from waking until sleep. And when they are not watching it, they are reading about it on such reliable news sources as Facebook and Twitter. And when not doing either of those things, they corner us, violate our SDZ (social distance zone), making escape impossible, and then proceed to engulf us in a cloud of misinformation-laden water droplets.
And so, as a public service, I am here to help you get through these trying times.
PCP (Pandemic-Coverage Protection)
The first thing you need to protect yourself against over-exposure to pandemic coverage is some good PCP. It is like PPE (Personal Protection Equipment), but much more vital to your mental health.
It is in this area that you should spare no expense. Raffle off one of the youngsters, or trade in a little-used in-law if you need to. This is no time to skimp.
I cannot overemphasize the importance of a good set of headphones or earphones. I recommend the over-the-ear ones, because they block out the most noise. On the other hand (or ear), earbuds sort of double as both earplugs and earphones. So select whichever is best for you based on the decibel level of the “news” (oops, did it again) that is being pumped into your abode.
Of course, it is not merely enough to have good earphones. You must have a source of sound to pump through them and compete with the unwanted noise. Here, the choice is strictly up to the individual’s tastes. If you live with someone who is obsessed with pandemic coverage, might I suggest something in heavy metal, hair metal, or punk? Or, if your cohabitants are truly obsessed with pandemic coverage, then perhaps some stirring bagpipe music inside of a cathedral is just the thing.
However, I prefer to listen to relaxation audio. For it to be effective, there absolutely must be some form of running water in it. You cannot rely on the mere sounds of birds or wind to cover up foaming-at-the-mouth pandemic coverage. There must be some substance to the sound you use to drown out the pandemonium. It must be like the floodwaters that lifted up the ark. (Hint: you are the ark.)
I have found the sounds of waterfalls to be quite effective at blocking out pandemic-related noise. Also good is thunderstorms, babbling brooks, ocean surf crashing, and car-crushing machines at junkyards.
If you like the sound of a babbling brook but it is just not quite up to the task of drowning out pandemic din, then you can overlay sounds. For instance, I very often overlay soft piano music over the sound of a babbling brook or gentle rain. Works like a charm!
To overlay audio, open up two different browser tabs or windows, pull up rain in one, and piano in the other, and play them both at the same time. You can even adjust their individual volumes to suit your tastes.
There are also sound effects websites that will allow you to do this, but my method is simpler. Plus, I invented it, so I’m kind of partial to it. NIH, knowwhatImean?
The Off Button or “X” icon
Whenever you go to one of your favorite sites and it is mottled and scabbed over with pandemic coverage, there is a little “X” in the upper right corner of the browser window. Click that and you should see the pandemic coverage disappear.
If that does not do the trick, and there are just too many windows, pop-ups, pop-unders, creepers, and crawlers, all gushing pandemic racket, then there is a little button somewhere on your electronic device with a “0/1” symbol on it. Or sometimes it may say “on/off”. Or “Power”. At any rate, push that button down and hold it for 2-3 seconds. That should solve the problem.
Sometimes pandemic hullabaloo is sprung upon you suddenly and you get caught without your PCE. In these cases, you have something at your fingertips that can help you.
Do not be too proud to stick your fingers in your ears to block out the offending noises. Hum “la la la la!” if you have to.
Then leave that area as quickly as possible and go find your PCE.
Proper Reading Material
Once you have successfully blocked out the strident and high-decibel cacophony of the insanity, you will need something to read in order to take your mind off of the things you are no longer listening to. You need something to lower your blood pressure and anxiety levels.
Most reading material published after, say, 1970, was designed to be dark, foreboding, depressing, or socially aware. Therefore, you should go find some vintage reading material from a simpler age.
Comics from the silver age of comics (1956-1970) that are non-super-hero and non-super-villian based are excellent choices. This would include any of the following:
- Beetle Bailey
- Donald Duck (or any Disney characters)
- Fred Basset
- Little Lulu
- Richie Rich
- Sad Sack
If you want something a bit more substantial, you could also curl up with a good Nancy Drew, Hardy Boys, Trixie Belden, Cherry Ames, The Three Invesigators, or the Happy Hollisters.
In extreme cases, I recommend Winnie the Pooh, The Wind in the Willows, or the Madeline stories.
ESD (Extreme Social Distancing)
Now that you’ve gotten yourself unplugged from the noise, you must also remove all negative energy and influences in your life.
You know … other people.
Most health organizations recommend that you keep 6 feet (2 meters) between you and anyone who won’t stop talking about the pandemic insanity.
I think 2 meters is laughably too close.
Instead, I recommend a different distance.
You are familiar with a barge pole, I assume.
Now imagine that, instead of needing to push a barge down a river with that pole, we are talking about “poling” the International Space Station …
… through the Van Allen Belts.
Now we’re talking!
That’s how much distance you should maintain between you and anyone stuck in an endless loop of pandemic coverage.
I hope you find that my simple suggestions help you in regaining control of your life and your own mental health.
After all, we’re all in this together.
We just need be in this together as far apart as possible.