As we slowly return to "normal".....
For some months now - indeed for over a year - the COVID “Police” have been working overtime to protect us from a tendency to want to actually come in physical contact with ANY person outside our “bubble”. I like to refer to this as the NO HUGS RULE on page 1642 of the 74th edition of the COVID-19 Playbook. (New editions keep popping up as the rules tend to change weekly, if not daily.)
In addition to the NO HUGS RULE, we have been advised, warned and threatened to stay at least 6 feet apart at all times (page 1234 of all Playbook editions). While hugging by the New York Governor apparently has been allowed (gotta find THAT page), hugging by ordinary citizens has been strongly discouraged. The messages have been clear. WARNING: Hugging can make you very sick. Hugging is dangerous to your health and should be avoided. And in the case of the Governor, hugging may cost you your job.
We’ve all seen families on TV news - especially grandparents - saying how much they miss hugging their kids and grandkids. I am one of those parents/grandparents. This past week, thanks to Pfizer, BioNTech and COVID antibodies, I finally got to hug my Michigan daughter for the first time in more than 15 months. I got so carried away, I even hugged my son-in-law. I mean I’ve really been hug-starved. Lots of people think the greatest benefit of a vaccine is to protect you from getting sick. What nobody seems to be talking about is that the vaccine frees you from a hug-less jail. The reason hugging is so important is that it brings us together in a very special way. I don’t know about you, but socially distanced hugging doesn’t cut it for me. I want the real deal. I suspect you agree.
We’ve all had days when we wished everyone would just go away and leave us alone. I will NEVER wish that upon myself again. One of the silver linings for me this past year is that I have rediscovered I really like being around people. You never know what you have until it’s been taken away, right? I like people and I like hugs. They go together don’t you think?
When is the last time you experienced a good, old fashioned group hug? I met some of my best friends through group hugs. Our great national goal should be to replace social distancing with hugs. Let’s give ourselves a socially distanced elbow bump for such a radical idea.
Today, as we again embrace the act of hugging, we continue to hear the good folks at the CDC tell us to not get carried away. Don’t let a variant spoil our summer is the message. Cases are inching up again.
Scientists suggest it would be helpful if we are all smart in choosing who to hug. Here’s a good starting point: Do not hug strangers. Not only could that be detrimental to your health it may also ultimately involve the police. And the “h” they slap on your wrists will not be a hug. Suggestion: Only hug people you already know and who have gotten their vaccine.
At the bottom line, hugging is not an inalienable right. We have to earn it. Get yourself on a vaccine list today. Hug somebody real soon.
We all want to get back to normal. Hugging was an important part of the old normal. It needs to become a central piece of the new normal ASAP.
DY: In Just a Few Words is a blog that comes out when something needs to be said or every Tuesday - whichever comes first. Davis Young is a communications professional who adds 50+ years of experience and perspective to issues of the day. His emphasis in DY: In Just a Few Words will be humor (a touch of sarcasm here, a pinch of facetiousness there...). Once in a while, he will touch on something a bit more serious - but hopefully not too deep or depressing.
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