On the Friday before prom several years ago, I remember welling up a little as I wrapped up the high school journalism class I taught.
“Have fun this weekend,” I told them. “But, make good decisions. As the roll call sergeant on Hills Street Blues used to say, ‘Let’s be careful out there.'”
I worried every year that the YOLO atmosphere surrounding prom would lure some otherwise well-intentioned kids into dangerous behavior that might have a dramatic impact on their lives, and I wanted every seat in that classroom to have a healthy, happy student in it come Monday morning.
The welling up startled me (what is this salty secretion?) though, thankfully, I don’t think any of the students noticed. I just remember thinking how vulnerable these young kids were to the whims of a once-in-a-lifetime occasion.
I feel very similar about Wisconsin today. We have a big weekend coming up with some excellent weather. We’ve also been cooped up since mid-March and, frankly, we deserve a little fun.
But, we’re still smack in the middle of a global pandemic and, like it or not, we have to be mindful of that. COVID-19 lurks like a silent viper only we have no antidote.
The good news is we’ve learned exactly what we need to do to stay safe. We need to wash our hands and keep them off our faces; maintain a six-foot distance between people with whom we don’t share a residence; wear a mask when we can’t maintain that social distance; stay home if we’re not feeling well.
It’s not that hard. You can still support local businesses and celebrate summer’s return to Wisconsin. You just have to do it right.
We’ve all seen the statistics and then seen them interpreted, misinterpreted and revised. I think we all also know the facts. COVID-19 can kill. Nick Cordero’s story alone should give you pause. The previously healthy Broadway star lost his leg to COVID-19, had been in a medically induced coma for 40 days and is still in ICU, nearly two months since his initial diagnosis. His prognosis is still not all that optimistic. Yesterday he had another setback with infection creeping back into his left lung.
Certainly his story is one of the most dramatic, but I think we all need to be aware that this particular coronavirus is a wily and deadly foe that has not retreated yet. So, we need to remain vigilant. That doesn’t mean we have to cower in the dark corners of our homes. It does mean we have to be smart and aware of how surely our actions impact everyone else.
Have fun this weekend, but, make good decisions. As the roll call sergeant on Hills Street Blues used to say, “Let’s be careful out there.”