This Is Not The New Normal

I’m now getting to the age where I’ve lived through some shit.

I have vague memories of lining up for hours, waiting in the car with my Dad to get gas during the shortage in the late 70s. I remember the Iran Hostage Crisis a short time afterwards.

I remember President Regan getting shot and John Lennon being murdered.

I can more distinctly remember being a freshman in college when an announcement came over the PA that we had just initiated the first war in Iraq and 20,000 basketball fans spontaneously breaking into a chant of U-S-A. U-S-A. I also remember later that same night when my girlfriend at the time cried at the thought of me being drafted into the army.

I remember Black Monday in the late 80s and, probably like most of you, the banking scandal that crushed the markets in 2008 causing so many people to lose their savings, their homes and their jobs.

I lived right across the harbor and worked right up the avenue from the World Trade Center in 2001 and can remember the ash that covered the cars and sidewalks in my neighborhood for days after. I still remember hearing the crash. And the smell. I’m tearing up just writing about it now.

I also remember talks about how things would never be the same. How this marked the end of entertainment. How there would never be another sitcom or issue of People Magazine or stand up comedy club ever again. How could we laugh or be concerned with celebrity when something so devastating had happened?

You don’t need to be a historian or an English major to see the plot twist. We all know what happened. That within seemingly months the most vapid reality shows dominated television (side note: The Joe Schmo Show from that era is possibly the greatest reality television of all time), we were once again concerned with who “The Sexiest Man Alive” would be. I laughed my ass off when I went to see Seinfeld do a set at Westbury Music Fair.

We took vacations and grabbed flights for work. We went to weddings and danced. We voted for our favorite American Idol.

I’m not at all trying to be flippant about the devastation and toll that any tragedy takes on those who suffer the most from it. If you lost a family member on 9/11 or lost your home to foreclosure or have a loved one currently in the hospital struggling to survive that pain is real and deep and everlasting.

And it’s not to say that these tragedies, or the current one, have not left nor will not leave their thumbprint on our society. They have and they will. History is not smooth sailing. Just ask Napoleon.

But to get caught up in the notion that we will never be able to be in a room with others. That we will never send our kids back to school or go to a rock concert or touch a barbell without plastic gloves on is just as short sighted. We are people. We are resilient. We overcome.

There will be suffering. There will be losses. Some businesses won’t come back. Some are already gone. We are working tirelessly to make sure that we survive. I told Kyle at the very beginning of this that if we can keep our clients moving forward and continue to produce success stories. If we can keep our staff employed and pay our bills through all this it will be the greatest thing we have achieved thus far as a business. I still think that’s true.

Keep your head up, my people. The other side does exist and we will get there. I have no idea how or when, but we will. You didn’t sign up to a place called Fortitude for nothing.