Rewind to a blissful time not too long ago: early 2020, back when the year was new and full of promise, and “COVID-19” was nary a blip on our vocabulary.
In early 2020, I could count the number of Zoom calls for my entire career on one hand – a hand, by the way, with a lovely, professionally installed set of nails that I used 4,217 times a day to scratch my face whenever it itched. My only face mask was the kind you rinse off when it starts to crack.
Then, with the stealth of Jack Ruby, COVID-19 appeared from nowhere, turning parents into homeschoolers and every last one of us into unkempt hermits.
Luckily for them, my kids are too old to be homeschooled, but during my self-isolation thinking time, I’ve devised a solid curriculum that would guarantee the successful creation of three more great medical minds to find an effective and widely available cure for COVID-19.
Strike that. I was a liberal arts major. The medical profession would collapse under the tutelage of someone like me: handy with crafts, not chemistry. As a parent-turned-homeschooler, I would produce liberal arts majors exclusively: people who write, sing, paint and perform a little interpretive dance to express their feelings about the coronavirus.
A snapshot of my COVID University curriculum would look like this:
Mask Sewing 101 – This course would include sewing machine directions for constructing cute face masks that are effective at (and possibly only at) communicating the “idea” of protection. As the course progressed, more complex projects would include the Advanced Cute Face Mask, which would fit around the back of the wearer’s head and pull wrinkles right out of the forehead – to compensate for COVID-induced lapses in Botox accessibility.
Advanced Pinterest with Practicum – This course would require preliminary, intensive Pinterest research of paint colors to fulfill the related practicum Quarantine Room Painting. Students will be assessed for overall neatness and precision, taping skills, proper paint coverage and brush cleaning technique.
Advanced Zoomology – This required course explores the innumerable ways in which one might annoy co-Zoomers on a video conference call. Topics include: How to find the mute button; how to unmute yourself before you start your five-minute monologue; how to set the “enhance” feature to slightly blur your un-Botoxed face; how to look fully dressed; positioning your computer camera above the level of your nose hairs; and clearing that mountain of unwashed laundry from your background.
A Survey of Hoarding Victories – This survey course satisfies requirements for both History and Economics. This in-depth review of hoarders, pack rats and preppers would cast a roach-scattering light on the sheer brilliance of the hoarding mentality during times of scarcity that no one else saw coming. As we examine shortages in product availability, we would take an up-close (but socially safe) look at the genius of the pre-COVID-19 hoarder, known to stockpile toilet paper, Clorox bleach, gloves, masks and anything sold in a 12-pack at Costco.
Basic Roots and Highlights – Because you can’t quarantine dark roots, this required course would introduce the essential skills necessary to hide and blend unsightly roots when your hair professional is inconveniently unavailable. This course would be a follow-up to The Psychological Assault of Your Natural Color and the prerequisite to next semester’s Full-Scale Disasters: Color-Correcting Roots and Highlights. Related elective: Basic Dremel Skills for Gel Nails.
Advanced Online Shopping – This popular course, comprising 90 percent product research, 5 percent data entry, 3 percent transactions and 2 percent cognitive dissonance, would require additional fees to cover the costs associated with the subject matter. Prerequisite to next semester’s Many Happy Online Returns course.
Internet Appreciation – a required survey of the myriad ways in which our lives are intertwined through the Internet, this course would examine the social behaviors of other cultures that don’t rely on the Internet like oxygen.
Author’s Note: I’d like to express my deepest appreciation for those of you, from the medical community to daily essential workers, who have risked your own safety to serve the rest of us. It would not be an overstatement to call you heroes, and I thank you.