Beloved readers: If you are tired of the non-stop crush of bleak news, you are not alone. Your friend and humble narrator wants nothing more than for this fog of gloom to lift so we can all get back to the business of living.
While we don’t know how much longer the COVID-19 pandemic will last, we can be confident that this plague will eventually end. Every day brings us closer to the other side of this catastrophe. Here are a few things we can look forward to as we wait for pestilence to peter out.
No more masks
Believe it or not, there will come a time when people will be able to congregate without having to wear a surgical mask or a bandana tied around their mouths.
This reporter can’t imagine how recruits in boot camp and basic training are doing PT every day with a T-shirt functioning as an improvised cloth mask. It’s hard enough to run with something covering your mouth, let alone scream and call cadence while doing so.
One can only imagine the muffled sounds of recruits trying to respond to drill instructors screaming at them. (Drill Instructor: What is the greeting of the day?!? Recruit: HHMMMPH!)
An end to isolation
When COVID-19 finally recedes, we can all look forward to being able to physically interact with our co-workers again after weeks of talking to them on some iPhone app that was likely designed by the People’s Liberation Army.
Working from home can cause you to go a little stir crazy. This reporter originally intended to file a story that was just “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy” written over and over again, but good judgment got the better of me.
Still, your friend and humble narrator has been more fortunate than most troops, especially sailors who have continued to go to sea. If we have learned nothing from this experience, it’s that warships are the worst place to be during a pandemic.
This reporter has written at length about the Marine Corps continuing to require Marines to visit barber shops, even after a member of Congress wrote the commandant to say the Corps’ grooming standards “may be optimal in an ideal world but are inessential and can be relaxed in the real world without doing any damage at all to institutional mission or national security.”
So it may surprise you that your friend and humble narrator is actually looking forward to getting a haircut and beard trim again – as soon as it’s safe. Right now, civilian barber shops remain closed to avoid spreading COVID-19.
Your shaggy Pentagon correspondent looks forward to the day when he can step into the local Hair Cuttery salon again – completely unafraid of contracting COVID-19 – and telling the first stylist to dust off the clippers because Muqtada Al-Schogol needs a trim.
With few exceptions, the Pentagon has stopped all domestic and international travel to stop COVID-19 from spreading. It appears to be an effective move, but it also means that service members and their families are stuck for the foreseeable future.
When the travel restrictions are finally lifted, troops will not only be able to make PCS moves again, but they can carry over twice the amount of unused leave after the end of the fiscal year so they can make up for vacations and other trips that have been cancelled.
Your friend and humble narrator plans on taking a hellacious road trip that will make Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas look like ‘The Wizard of Oz.’ That does not mean yours truly will experiment with hallucinogens; rather, it will be an opportunity to take the Schogol-Mobile out for a spin at speeds up to and including 45 mph.
Physical acts of love
Let’s face it: COVID-19 has largely dried up the dating scene. For married couples who are dividing their time between work and teaching their kids at home, who really has the time, energy, or inclination for intimacy?
The end of COVID-19 means the resumption of sweet, sweet love. Put away the masks. Break out the thongs.
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Jeff Schogol covers the Pentagon for Task & Purpose. He has covered the military for nearly 15 years and embedded with U.S. troops in Iraq and Haiti. Prior to joining T&P, he covered the Marine Corps and Air Force at Military Times. Comments or thoughts to share? Send them to Jeff Schogol via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or direct message @JeffSchogol on Twitter.