It is a bizarre and unsettling time.

Our lives in the New Eastside and Streeterville neighborhoods have been turned, if not upside down, at least swished around like fruit in a smoothie blender on high speed.

Through it all, though, we have learned some different terms and ideas we had no idea about before the coronavirus:

Zoom: Pre-virus, the only time I heard the “zoom” was when a little kid was playing with toy cars, or as the onomatopoeia flashed on the screen during a cartoon. Zoom, the computer multi-speak with a group picture mechanism, has become all the rage. Like a popular dance step, everybody is doing it now. Computer screens look like the intro to “The Brady Bunch” TV show. I had my first zoom experience with my wife’s family, nine strong, and battled to get the yellow box to light up, indicating it was my turn to speak.  When I finally did get the chance, I forgot what I was going to say. A case of “Zoom stage fright.”

Six-feet social distancing: On this one, I was ahead of my time. There were many people I’ve had my own “social distancing” rule for, long before the virus hit. A couple family members during political discussions come to mind.

Flatten The Curve: Never heard this one until a couple months ago. Unless you count what my math scores did to our high school’s overall average.

“Tiger King” TV Show: Ratings are higher than the daily infection rate for this tiger themed Netflix documentary. Featuring a feud between Joe Exotic, a private zoo keeper owner and his counterpart Carol Baskin, a cat conservationist, the show gets truly bizarre with scenes from protests and threats of legal action all the way to “murder for hire” accusations. The supporting characters are often wilder than the animals. I am not sure what I find more scary, the tigers or the outfits The Tiger King and his friends wear. 

How to make a homemade face mask: Trying to find an actual face mask is harder to find than Nemo. And save those for the medical professionals that really need them. The do-it-yourself mask is the way to go. All kinds of styles are displayed. For me, cutting up an old Chicago Bulls T-shirt, and with a few nicks and tucks and wraps, voila!  Coolest looking facemask in the neighborhood.

Dr Anthony Fauci: I Didn’t know a Fauci from a faucet before all this horror began. But the good doctor has been the voice of reason and comfort for many through these troubled times. It’s only May, but I think we have our early winner of Time Magazine’s “Person of the Year” contest.

I would rather have known less about all of the above. But knowledge gained, even in times of emergency, is worth something.


Top image: e-learning png from


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