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You Are Essential

I don’t want to argue with the powers that be; be they local, state, or the federal government, but "we" are essential. Not everyone — there are some who aren’t. Like the career criminal, or the publicist, or that guy who bought $75k in hand sanitizer. I think what they mean when they say only “essential” businesses and such should remain open is they mean “baseline.” There is a difference. Ask someone who is a professional athlete if what they do is essential, and they will probably say so. To them, it is like breathing. If they have a passion for it, if they feel worthless without it, it’s essential to them. They would also probably look quizzically at you if you told them they were not "essential.” What about the sports fan? For some, it can make or break their day when their sports team wins. To them, it’s an essential part of their lives. They like watching, speculating, it becomes a topic of conversation, and that is a lifeline to a lot of people in socializing. It becomes a starting point they can build on. It's also a way to vet out the fandangos (I'll explain that some other time). I am an artist, I doubt you will ever see me push my way through a throng of people in order to say something like “Hang on ma’am, I am a trained artist, I can help you with your artistic emergency.” George Carlin had a very similar joke about being a “trained comedian.” But I believe, contrary to popular belief by government mandate, you are essential to someone. Whether you’re someone who does sales, which is the lifeblood of a company, or you are someone who repairs bikes, does accounting, builds toasters, rebuilds transmissions, drives a truck, designed the stereo system that goes in a truck, then you are essential. What level we are running at here in America and the world right now is not on essential jobs, but baseline jobs. Those jobs not “deemed essential” are important even to those who are considered essential. What is life without art? Without music? Without movies and films? Without games? Without someone to crunch your numbers, or to spend a couple hours on a Saturday night passing out libations? I know we talk a lot about heroes whether they are teachers, or police officers, or people in the armed forces, or if you work a minimum wage job or trade. And really, there shouldn’t be the chasm between the baseline and those jobs not deemed “essential.” We should, regardless of station, have some respect for what others do for us. For me, my mom was essential. She was there and watching my six, not only for bogies attacking me from without, but also the ones that attacked me from within. Funny how that wasn’t listed as an essential job. I would say it’s not listed because it’s a given, nor would I demand it be listed. I don’t need someone to post on Facebook that “Mom is Open for Business.” The heart-breaking news is when she is closed. My mom did far more than the baseline. She went above and beyond and often acted "behind the scenes" and was so ubiquitous, it was as if she was invisible. I know that sounds counter-intuitive, but for me, she was always there growing up. She did the baseline without complaint. I never knew how much she did until her health started failing, and I wonder how it is she ever put up with her teenage son complaining about stupid things like taking out the trash or pulling weeds. She also juggled numerous jobs. She would go bowling, she was active in the local women’s club, took cooking classes, cleaned oceans of laundry, worked through the house, prepared for holidays, and kept up with our homework. And she also had to push back the “entropy creep” of my father’s piles of papers when they would wander into her domain. She was essential in so many ways that go way beyond the baseline.

I don’t think I ever told her often enough how essential she was to me growing up. In this time of uncertainty, I think of many of those essential in my life, and take stock of them. If you are reading this, you might even be one of them. Don't sell yourself short. Who is that essential someone in your life? #visualbanter #essential #job #motherhood #positive

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