THE NEW NORMAL IS THE OLD NORMAL

Brilliant Scientist ExplainS Himself!

George Sackett is, by any measure, one of the brightest guys around. He has PH.Ds in no less than five disciplines —mathematics, history, sociology, statistics, and something called “advanced demographic stochastic oscillation” — from five of the world’s finest universities. 

So when his brother, Ken, a therapist, called George and asked him to think about how the global reset resulting from the coronavirus pandemic was affecting Americans, George stepped right up.

“Well, not right up,” Ken said. “He was in the shower. In fact, I don’t even know why he answered the phone.”

BERWINGER HAS THE ANSWER

George knows why. “It’s well-known that the sound and pressure of water on skin spurs creative thoughts,” said George. “Look at Berwinger, 2004, in the Journal of Tactile Cognition. So I always take my phone in the shower. I designed a waterproof case. It’s not really a case. It’s a low-energy-drain fan that creates a kind of waterproof bubble around the fan. And it also dries off my parts!”

George told Ken he would call him right back. “He didn’t,” Ken said. “I had to call him back after an hour.”

“I became distracted,” said George. “I was getting dressed, selecting underwear, and noticed that briefs and boxers efficiently represent two different views of how the universe expands. You can think of the elastic waistband as a kind of inflationary epoch and the fly as a cosmological constant. I would have to explain further, which I fear I cannot, because Ken’s call interrupted my train of thought, and I did not complete the analogy to my satisfaction.”

“Eye roll,” Ken said. “That’s what our mom used to say when George would go into one of his George tunnels. She would say it out loud: ‘Eye roll.’”

“I believe that kind of practice grew out of the popularity of comic books,” George said. “Letterers would have to indicate a character’s action: sigh, cough. Someone with a playful sense of Austinian linguistics simply started saying the word.”

WHATEVER!

“Whatever,” Ken said. “Let’s get back to the point. We were talking about how I could comfort my patients, what message to bring, and you were telling me that the way things are now isn’t new so much as old.”

“Ah,” George said. “Yes. Isolation of families in homes. An increase in the preparation of breakfasts on a stove. Early evenings with spouses resulting in intimacy not necessarily of the physical sort but the conversational or maybe mere presence. The increase in certain identifying odors that result from more consistent domestic presence. I would associate these phenomena with the nineteenth century, maybe 1871, rather than 2020. There are of course differences as well, mainly in the in-delivery of digital media and the handling of that throughput as both information and entertainment. For example, let’s look at the differences in viewing habits of patrons of Crackle, Vudu, and…”

“George,” Ken said. “Let’s not jump the tracks again. I just wanted you to tell the people that what they are experiencing can be felt as alarming, certainly, because it is, but it’s also a return to a time when American values were forged, and that helped to make the modern world, so whatever is unmade is always in the process of being remade.”

“Ken,” George said. “That is uncommonly intelligent coming from you.”

“I’m just repeating what you told me earlier,” Ken said. “I wrote it down.”

“Oh,” George said. “That makes more sense, then.”

George then excused himself from the call as he had forgotten to put on either boxers or briefs and was standing bottomless in his living room, parts dry.

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