Essential personnel

Today’s Google Doodle sends love to the “doctors, nurses, and medical workers…”

My wife’s an RN, so I’ll certainly second that emotion. The healthcare community is going above and beyond. Actually, it seems above and beyond to most of us, but it’s par for the course for them. We’re just a bit more cognizant of it now, and we offer them a hearty salute.

That said, I also think we need to give a shout-out to the other types of “essential personnel” who aren’t getting the props they deserve. Like the folks making minimum wage at the grocery stores, trying to keep products on the shelves for the toilet-paper-starved masses.

Doctors, nurses and medical workers likely knew what they were signing up for. The dudes and dudettes at restaurants (carryout only!), gas stations and grocery stores are being exposed to dozens if not hundreds of people every day, for low wages, long hours, and likely zero benefits.

And let’s not forget the factory workers, the truck drivers, the delivery people… everyone in the supply chain who is working OT to keep up with demand, not just for food, but also for medical equipment like masks and gloves.

We take it for granted most of the time. But I hope we’re a bit more appreciative now.

Take a hike

There’s not much good that can come out of a global pandemic. But on a macro level, perhaps we’re all more aware than we’ve ever been before about the fact that we share one planet. Like it or not, actions halfway across the globe can turn our whole world upside down.

And on a micro level, we’re all realizing how much we need connection. And not just the Zoom Meeting kind. In fact, after a long day of staring at a screen and the same four walls, we’re starting to get reacquainted with the magical, mystical powers of a good old-fashioned walk through the neighborhood. Just a simple stroll, with perhaps a friendly wave to a fellow traveler or three (from a safe distance, of course) can do the heart a lot of good (literally and metaphorically).

I hope that when this coronavirus crisis is over, and the gyms and movie theaters and restaurants and bars are open once again, we’ll still take a daily walk… on this planet we all share.

So close, and yet so-cially distant.

In case you missed it (and there’s a 99.9% chance you did miss it), the podcast that I co-host is yesterday’s news! Er, I mean, it was in yesterday’s Cincinnati Enquirer. What do you mean you don’t subscribe to a newspaper? What do you mean you don’t even know what a ‘newspaper’ is?

“Daddy, this iPad is broken…”

Luann Gibbs wrote a “Top 10 ways to practice social distancing” article, and there we were, right at the top of the list. OK, eight spots away from the top of the list. But still, we got some ink!

Full disclosure: Luann Gibbs used to work at 97X, the station that is the focus of our podcast. But neither Dave nor I knew that she was going to mention us.

“Extra, extra… two old guys talk about a radio station that died a decade ago!”

It was our “the new phone book’s here” moment.

Actually, Dave and I don’t harbor any delusions of grandeur. (Occasionally, we do have delusions of adequacy, but we lie down until those go away.) Our podcast is extremely niche. Some podcasts have thousands of regular listeners, some have hundreds… we have “tens” of listeners. As I often say, “we’ve made about 50 people very happy” by bringing back fond memories of a small-but-mighty and much-beloved indie rock radio station. But it’s always nice to get a bit of recognition for the hard work you’ve done.

And now that we’re all under house arrest, there’s never been a better time to check out some new podcasts.

Freaky Friday

I loved this recent headline:

Not the part about someone going to prison. I wouldn’t wish that fate upon anyone… well, other than drivers who go one mile above the speed limit in the left hand lane, cable installation schedulers, and the occasional president.

But I didn’t even know that “Hot Pockets heiress” was a thing. A Hot Pocket is just a calzone, right? I’m pretty sure that was invented long ago. Maybe her family “invented” the microwaveable part of the equation, or they patented their famous “cold, spongy crust and roof-of-the-mouth-burning filling” combination.

Then again, if Mean Girls taught us anything, it was that there’s a fortune to be made in still-cold-but-somehow-really-hot convenience products.

I wonder if the Hot Pockets heiress ever dated the Pop Tarts scion. If they got hitched, that would certainly be a marriage of convenience. Instead she paid $100,000 to have someone correct her kid’s admissions exam, and another $200,000 to have her daughter admitted to USC as a bogus athlete.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to invent Toaster Corndogs or a microwaveable Twinkie. Time to cash in.

Mom-trepreneur

Here’s a very cool article from a very cool website (Women of Cincinnati) about a very cool person (Jackie Roberto) who runs a very cool business (Madison Design Group).

photo from the Madison Design Group website

The article is about how Jackie balances work and family. We’re good friends with Jackie and her husband Phil (he’s the organizer of the “Fool Moon” late night bike rides that I occasionally attend… and he helped clean up this messy WordPress site of mine, too). Our kids went to grade school together, and now are in high school together, so we’ve witnessed their balancing act firsthand, with a ton of admiration.

The interview was conducted by our mutual friend, Judy Zitnik, yet another parent from the grade school gang. The profile is part of a series on Women of Cincinnati:

There is no single definition of an entrepreneur or the obstacles they face. As part of our year-long series sponsored by Main Street Ventures, our community chose 12 of the biggest obstacles female-identifying entrepreneurs face, and we found 12 women who spend their days conquering them. Explore the whole series here.

That’s Jackie on the right (and our mutual friend Judy Zitnik Finn on the left).
Photo by Chelsie Walter

The entire interview is great – please read it. In the interim, here are some money quotes:

Because to be a good creative, you have to have a life. You have to be immersed in life to know how to communicate or to write or to design. You have to be informed in that way to be better at what you do. So we try to make sure that we work really hard, and then we leave. And then you do whatever you want. It’s not work hard; play hard. It’s work hard, and then have your life in whatever way you define it.

As a fellow creative, I wholeheartedly agree with this. Time spent disengaged from work is part of “filling the well” so that you have creative energy when you reengage.

The moment you have the baby, you’re like, “Stay home with the baby or work?” Well, staying home looks a lot easier until you realize it’s actually harder. It’s way harder. You know, I’ve always joked, “Well, clients never wipe their nose on my legs. They never cry. (Or if they do, they never cry in front of me.)” 

Honestly, though, it is way harder to stay at home. I think it is the unsung amazing work for our society. And it has almost always been on women. It’s changing slowly. It’s a noble and important job. But it is still a thankless job. And you know, we know some stay-at-home dads, and I’m sure they feel the same way.

Well said, Jackie!

For me, it’s not really about money or all the outward signs of success. It’s not that I’m immune to all that, but it’s just about living modestly so that I have enough money to have interesting experiences.

Jackie and her husband Phil are all about the interesting experiences. Just salt-of-the-earth, kind, caring human beings raising two wonderful daughters… while also carving out meaningful careers. I’m tempted to say “we should all be so lucky” but really it’s more like “we should all follow their example.”

Two-fer Tuesday. Two for every day.

Seth Godin’s daily blog posts (you can sign up here) are pure magic. They never fail to provoke, challenge and/or inspire. Two recent ones really hit home for me. Here’s Seth’s post from January 25th:

Awareness vs. experience

We are more aware than ever before. More aware of victims of violence, or a natural disaster. More aware of insane wealth or grinding poverty. It gets beamed to us, regularly.

We’re even more often exposed to social hijinks, sports stars or business moguls.

We’re aware that people run a marathon, or fast for a week. That they start a business or meditate every day. They know how to code, or to take pictures.

But there’s a difference between hearing about it and experiencing it.

There’s no excuse for being uninformed. But when it matters, there’s also no good reason for being inexperienced.

There’s often a piece of glass between us and the world as it’s delivered to us. That glass magnifies awareness, but it doesn’t have the same impact as experience does. It can’t.

Our awareness has been stretched wider than ever in history, but often at the cost of taking away a lifetime of experiences.

So true! Let’s repeat that last sentence, shall we?

Our awareness has been stretched wider than ever in history, but often at the cost of taking away a lifetime of experiences.

And now for the Seth Godin double shot, a post from yesterday, Feb. 3rd:

Something’s more interesting than this

And now, that’s always true.

Whatever you’re doing.

No matter who you’re with.

Something, somewhere, is more interesting than this.

And it’s in your pocket.

All the time. As long as the battery lasts.

There’s an alert, a status update, breaking news. There’s a vibration or a text, just waiting. Something. Right now.

Until infinity.

Unless we choose to redefine whatever we’re doing as the thing we’ve chosen to do, right here and right now.

Ignore the distractions and the coming attractions. Don’t take the clickbait. Focus on what YOU want to accomplish, not the dopamine hit that some AI algorithm is pushing.

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