Strange things are happening.. and it’s not just because it’s spooky season.
L.A. had a rare thunderstorm this week, Kim Kardashian West hosted SNL, Diana the Musical exists (with a sassy gay AIDS patient and all), William Shatner is actually going to space, and Netflix’s Korean Hunger Games on steroids Squid Game is the most watched show of all time. It’s a lot to process for the Chair… and perhaps its time to sit back and give it a week to sink in. Did we also mention that Matthew McConaughey had to announce that he wasn’t running for Governor of Texas?
The Chair will be back next week to unpack the equally topsy turvy week we are sure to have. It can’t possibly get stranger right?
We are all the stars of our own lives. This applies to each of us, whether we choose to luxuriate in the spotlight or are repelled by the mere thought of being noticed.
All of this is to say we have the ultimate say on every choice we make because at the end of the day we are the person taking the action. It’s not only our name and reputation, but it’s our decision that keeps the entire project that is US afloat.
And nowhere has this been more apparent than in the recent uptick of COVID-19 cases across the United States.
Thanks Delta-Variant. Thanks mask refusers. Thanks pandemic deniers. And most of all, thanks TO THE NON-VACCINATED. They are all truly the STARS of their OWN SHOW.
The above sentence is meant to be read and/or said aloud with sarcasm. You can also throw in a dollop of anger, impatience and even hate on my part on any given day or if the mood strikes you. And given the news lately, it likely will.
CDC director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said on Friday that this is becoming the pandemic of the unvaccinated. This is because that population accounts for over 99% of recent COVID deaths. However, that doesn’t mean the rest of us can’t get a mild case of sick with perhaps lingering lifetime effects from this disease.
I won’t bore you with too many figures but just know that new cases are up 10% over what they were a week ago and 38 of our 50 states have seen a 50% increase.
Across the US there were an average of 26,448 new cases per day over the last week.
That might not seem scary in a country with 328 million people until you realize this figure was 67% higher than the week before.
If you take into account where we were in COVID-19 cases in, say, January 2020, and then look back and do the math of just a few months later, you’ll catch my drift. Meaning we could be moving into deep sh-it once again if we don’t get our acts together.
Translation? The answer is not to run to the nearest bar or local Med Men outlet (Note: Google the latter) to not deal with what’s happening. Instead, it’s to act like the best star in the world (Note: Think Tom Hanks or Meryl Streep) and step up, do your homework and carry the entire production on your shoulders if need be).
I live in Los Angeles, the most populated county in the country. Because we’ve had a FIVE HUNDRED PER CENT increase in cases in the last month, an indoor mask mandate has been reinstated as of Saturday night this weekend.
What does this mean? It means that if you go inside a supermarket, a workplace, a gym, a theatre or ANY INDOOR PUBLIC SETTING YOU HAVE TO WEAR A MASK.
It’s said that L.A. is leading the fight against the Delta Variant of COVID-19. But, well, are we?
I was fully vaccinated at the end of February and since then have always worn a mask at indoor public settings. Except, well, a couple of times where I sat indoors at a restaurant when there was social distancing and I had to take my mask off to eat. And then slowly decided to keep it off while I was inside because it seemed easier and no one else had one on.
Translation: Truth be told, I never felt totally comfortable being unmasked in an indoor public space after I was vaccinated, even when I was six feet apart from others. But I did it a few times (Note: Okay, maybe even more) anyway.
As a guy who used to lean towards the hypochondriacal, until I got older and realized there is truly NO escape from death, I figured that with the vaccine I could drop a shoulder strap or two at a socially distanced indoor restaurant.
Still, there was no way I’d be doing a full strip indoors, even in L.A., at the movies or the, well, supermarket. At this point, I no longer have any desire to prove just how comfortable I am onstage or center stage EVERYWHERE, even though, living in Hollywood, there is ALWAYS a chance you can be discovered, or rediscovered, at any moment and at any given age. Or so the legend goes.
Nevertheless, it seems far too many Americans do see themselves as the center stage star of their own burlesque routine in towns big and small all across the country. Rather than recognize they are part of a cast of millions in a daily blockbuster production called real-life, they see themselves as the spoiled pampered star at their local dinner theatre doing the same old thing in the same old way to less and less and FAR LESS success. But, I mean, why change now, right?
Those who’ve spent their adult lives in the entertainment industry realize at some point there is no reasoning with certain of these types. They believe it is their right to act and strut and sing out exactly as they always have even if they put the entire rest of the cast and crew, in fact the entire show or project, at risk.
There is no shared responsibility. There is only the wants, needs AND DESIRES of the STAR. The star’s only real life are those moments that they are center stage and, for stars like these, those moments are every second of every waking hour of every single day. Consequences for all others be damned.
By the way, that kind of star doesn’t always have to be the performer. It can be the director, the producer, the writer or the financier in the background. It can even be, um, a former president of the United States.
Or it can be the person staring back at you each morning in the mirror, whether you choose to acknowledge it or not.
We all have the final say on what we do individually. It’s our names, our reputations and our decisions that keep us afloat and, en masse, it is all of those things that keep the entire project that is the U.S. afloat.
Or sink it quicker than a summer stock production of The Sound Music in Atlanta featuring the Trump family.