It’s time to make up for a lost year


By Eric Schoen

The big news for Tuesday morning? Sales of personal care items are increasing. We take off our masks and buy cosmetics, perfumes, colognes, deodorants, toothbrushes, whitening strips for our teeth, shaving creams and gels, products for our hair and things to give back to us beautiful appearance. The report that I have heard says that even condom sales are on the rise.

Maybe this year and a half nightmare we’ve been through is finally, if not about to end, pretty close! Gas prices are on the rise, but with the end of the pipeline business, they are expected to drop soon. Gas and charcoal grills, which were in short supply last summer as people stayed home, are plentiful, although anyone who goes to the grocery store will tell you the prices are higher.

When I pass someone on the street or when I exercise in a park, they don’t quickly reach for their mask to put on, even if we are 20 feet away. Of all that has been during this pandemic the most disturbing thing for me on a personal level. Were they afraid, even at a distance of twenty feet, of catching something from me? We weren’t communicating even though I could look and smile or say a little hello.

People would see other people and put on their masks like The person they saw was some kind of leper. Walk the other way even though they would never approach. Walk a dog and have his owner move him away before he approaches you. If you try to pet someone’s dog, they will pull them away lest you make them sick.

What could be more heartwarming than petting a dog or letting a cat snuggle up against you in their bed? One of the only good things about the pandemic (although nothing could really be good) is that it has emptied our overcrowded animal shelters. People wanted dogs and cats to keep them company at home while they stayed home to hibernate or work from home or zoom in with others. While some people don’t like busy desks with people walking around and not minding their business, the sudden isolation in an apartment or large house was quite disconcerting.

Taking care of a dog or a cat comes with a lot of responsibilities. As more and more people leave home to go out or return to work, don’t forget the responsibility you took when you adopted Fido or the Whiskers. Animals have become part of the family and just like you wouldn’t neglect your children, don’t neglect your pooch or kitty!

Speaking of children, they belong to classrooms surrounded by teachers, principals and helpers, guards and officials, including office secretaries who often act as surrogate mothers when they are not feeling up to the task while waiting to be picked up by their parents. Kudos to the guardians of our schools who have kept the buildings sparkling clean and free from germs. And the nurses who were suddenly pushed into the position of keeping everyone healthy instead of just putting bandages on their fingers or taking temperatures. The guards and nurses are definitely the heroes of what has happened in school buildings over the past year and a half.

Let’s not forget the school cafeteria staff who provided food for schoolchildren on take-out programs, even when they were not learning in class. For many students, these meals were the only food they had available during the day or until their parents, often nurses and orderlies, finished long shifts to prepare dinner.

Our formidable school tech specialists who have scoured the planet trying to find devices that allow students to stay in touch with their teachers and classmates. And keep these devices operational when touched by hands barely familiar with their operation. Bus drivers and monitors responsible for socially keeping students away make sure even our little ones are masked and rub their little fingers with soap and water coated in Purrell.

It’s good to hear that in many of our school districts there will be no distance learning options in September. Study after study has shown that our schools are the safest places for our students. Even the leaders of the two largest teachers’ unions agree all children should be back in classrooms in September.

How have students learned to look at a computer screen over the past year? I’m not just talking about elementary school students. For college students, it was also a difficult proposition. And the effect of a year without socialization for elementary school students and their university counterparts will be measured by psychologists and other professionals for years to come.

I really hope that the plexiglass “cages” built around the classroom desks will disappear in September. Can you imagine when you were a kid learning in such an environment. Hopefully the worst we’ll ever need are masks for our students. But the person who advocated putting on masks on 2-5 year olds really doesn’t understand human behavior. Did they really think 2- to 5-year-olds would keep their masks on at school or when playing outside? It must have been someone without children who had this brilliant idea.

People are shopping for personal care items as well as new clothes and swimwear as they feverishly try to shed those pandemic pounds they have gained over the past year and a half. You know what to eat to lose weight. We spend millions of dollars a year on weight loss programs when all we need is a high protein, low carb diet to shed those pounds. You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to realize that you aren’t going to lose weight eating Entenmann’s crumb cake or a pint of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream.

No one tells you to eat weed for dinner. But eating a balanced diet including lots of vegetables and fresh summer fruits will definitely help you fit into those new, slightly tight clothes you are buying.

Discounters like TJ MAXX and Marshall’s and Burlington have lines that make it seem like it’s several days before Christmas. And believe me, it’s not just social distancing. People have gone a year and a half without spending money on themselves, and now they want to look good again. I was shaving the other day, I looked at my clean shaven face and I was white as a ghost. Until I get some sunshine I guess I’ll have to resort to a touch of bronzer to get that glow.

Remember, you can feel like shit both psychologically and physically, but if you make yourself look good, no one will know what’s going on inside you. And when people tell you how beautiful you are, you feel good.

If you feel more comfortable with a mask and social distancing, please do so. No one should tell you not to wear a mask or how to live your life. If you haven’t been vaccinated against Covid-19, what are you waiting for? It is readily available and will get you back to normal this summer. If you have not been vaccinated, it is your duty to tell the people you come into contact with. The coronavirus is still there. The mother of a friend’s niece went on a ventilator last week. I haven’t heard this for a while, but it shows you that for the unvaccinated, the pandemic is not over.

I went to my first picnic with my family and friends a week ago. Everyone has been vaccinated. It was a small group, all outside, healthy food with hot dogs and burgers on the menu. More important than the food was to shake hands with friends who had come from Massachusetts and Texas, not to wear masks, and to give a little hug to those I hadn’t seen in a year and a half!

Say a prayer on this memorial day for the veterans who made the ultimate sacrifice for this country. And a special prayer that things will improve not only here at home but all over the world!

Contact Eric Schoen at Follow him on Twitter @ericyonkers. Listen to Eric Schoen and Dan Murphy on the Westchester Rising Thursday radio show from 10-11 a.m. On WVOX 1460 AM, go to and click the arrow to listen to the live broadcast or download the WVOX app from the App Store for free to download.

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