I’ll tell you a story. I remember it from when I was young:
“Ring a ring of rosies, a pocket full of…”
Oh, child, there’s a ring around the world. You can’t see it, we think we can feel it, but really, it’s not going to touch you. At least that’s the hope.
There are people who feel it, and it breaks my heart to see their struggles. But I’m only seeing things through a screen now. Child, once upon a time we used to go outside, talk to one another, live. I didn’t have an iPad when I was your age, never mind a cell phone. If I wanted to talk to my friends, I had to find a way to go meet them – sometimes they’d stand outside and yell – or we’d plan a time to all be outside the day before. On particularly desperate days, I’d go outside by myself, hit my tennis ball against the wall at the end of the street and hope that someone would come and join me. Child, you have no idea.
These days, the news is particularly intense, but when I was little, we weren’t shielded from it. The BBC would caution parents before particularly gruesome war torn scenes where transmitted; sick babies in Ethiopia, people with mangled limbs dying somewhere in the Middle East. You know, don’t you, that the news shouts at you today. That everything appearing on the screen is heightened, sensational. It’s to be shared and grab the attention; is it real? You, child, have to promise me that you’ll pay attention. That you’ll look beyond the rhetoric. Otherwise is there is no hope and we will be doomed to circling the drain over and over and over.
We thought we could make a difference. Oh, child. We had dreams for a better world. I wanted the stars. Yet over the years you learn that being safe and healthy and loved is all that matters. I see your face, child. I know you want to be famous on one of those videos you like. Trust me. You’ll understand.
In the meantime, promise that you’ll cover your mouth, child. Don’t touch anything.Wash your hands. We didn’t have a choice in the days before hand sanitizer – sometimes we even bought soaps simply because of how nice they smelled.
I meant to ask you, do you know how to smile with your eyes yet? That’s a skill. Take some time away from that device and go over to the mirror. Now, cover your mouth. Smile, and bring that smile from your toes all the way up into your eyes. Oh, child, you’re too funny. Practice makes perfect, remember that. No matter what they tell you online, you’ll never be good at everything, but you can make a damn good effort at learning as long as you put the time in. This is a good thing though, this is how you grow. This is how you find what you’re good at, and then the world will try and warp that into something that makes no sense at all. But by the time you realize this, you’ll have made your own sense in the world.
“We all fall down.”
It’s getting late, at least for me anyway. You run along now, watch that video show or whatever it is. But first, but first, do you remember what it was like to be in the circle of my arms? It’s ok if you don’t, I understand. You enjoy your videos and your chats, we’ll talk again soon. Maybe next time, child, I’ll tell you a better story. Yes, I love you too. Goodnight.