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The Importance Of Doing Nothing

March 19, 2020

Well, what shall we do?


It’s awfully hard work doing nothing. However, I don’t mind hard work when there is no definite object of any kind.
– The Importance of Being Earnest Act 1

What do you remember from high school? Of course, it’s possible you are still high school, or even earlier grades. But, I tend to think that most people are like me. It’s a terrible habit for a writer. I went to high school a very long time ago.

My high school will celebrate its 50th anniversary in a couple of months. I graduated more toward the beginning of the school’s existance than the semicentennial.

I was planning to go back to Washington State for the party. One of my best friends graduated the year after I did. I haven’t seen him in years. He was going to be there.

Now with the travel restrictions, I’ve reconsidered. But, I’m wandering off topic.

My senior year of high school I took drama for the first time. I enjoyed it. In fact, I think I might have liked it a lot had I started earlier and stayed at it as a career. That’s what my friend did. But, this isn’t really about him.

Of the many thousands of facts, reports and presentations I made in high school I did a brief part in the play The Importance Of Being Earnest. We didn’t do the entire play. At least I don’t think so. But, I did the scene above. I was Algernon, the one not minding hard work if there’s no definite object.

It’s stuck with me through the years. I was thinking about it today.

Do you know what didn’t happen today?

There was no baseball played today. In fairness, if the schedule hadn’t caught a virus, Spring Training would have wrapped up a week ago. We would be in the downtime between the end of Spring Training and the start of the regular season next week. So, there would be no baseball today anyway. But, that doesn’t change the fact that there was in fact no baseball today.

You know what else didn’t happen today?

There was no basketball played today. Today would have been a big day for basketball. We’d be getting to watch the end of the first round of the NCAA tournament.

My daughter was very disappointed that they cancelled the tournament. She’s a freshman at BYU. The Y had a good year. They got a six seed in the tournament. In fact, just a few weeks ago they beat Gonzaga in Provo. Gonzaga was ranked 2nd in the country at the time.

I explained that as a long time BYU fan, her disappointment was justified, but misplaced. See, BYU does terrible in the NCAA tournament. If you fill out a bracket, it’s impossible to be true to your school if you are a Cougar fan. Of course, you have to pick BYU in the first round out of loyalty. But, you’re allowed to pick them to lose in the second round. (They rarely disappoint.)

But, if they are a lower seed, and you pick them to win in the first round, you knock a top seed out of the bracket early. And your bracket is busted.

So, you were going to be disappointed in BYU basketball this year anyway, but you’re just getting it a little early.

But, there’s no NCAA tournament this year.

No NBA either. Today there were five games scheduled. The Utah Jazz were scheduled to be off today. They were scheduled to play tomorrow. But, then, they are off tomorrow also. No, nothing happening in the NBA.

There’s no high school sports either of course. The building looks nearly deserted. The kids can’t stand the thought of losing a season. My son is running with the track team. He doesn’t like track, but he figures it’s a good preparation for football. He’s a senior next year. He started on the sophomore team. Then, on the JV team last fall. And he had high hopes for making the Varsity this fall.

He can’t stand the thought that his season might be wiped out. All the kids are worried. With the school restrictions the coaches aren’t allowed to be there. So, the kids run anyway. Desparate to keep up the routine.

All our routines have changed. I have a house full of students now. Two college kids taking online classes and the aforementioned high school junior also dutifully logging in for online instruction for a couple of hours every day.

Mostly though, he. . .they, are doing their best to fill the days. We have a lot of kids in the neighborhood, but there’s a slight suspicion to mingling even with close friends.

We had someone in church recently diagnosed with the virus. He hasn’t been in church for the past four weeks, so none of us got exposed. But, the circle is closing in.

The first case in Utah was a man who attended that Gonzago BYU game a few weeks ago. My daughter wanted to attend that game, but opted to come watch it at our house instead. Close call.

Only a couple of degrees separation, but closer than comfort.

So, like the character I played all those years ago in the play, we will continue the hard work of doing nothing.

It beats the alternative at this point.

What are you doing to fill the days?

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and grandchildren.

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(c) 2020 Rodney M Bliss, all rights reserved

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