RAMONA ON CORONA and……Double Jeopardy

woman exercising with American flag

A humor series on navigating this difficult time

Today, for my Wake-Up Call newsletter (subscribe here!), I’m sharing another installment of a humor series from my friend Pam Goldman, centering on a woman named Ramona, who tries to help… in her own way. If you’re new to this series: Here’s the previous installment.

Sadly, Alex Trebek, the popular longtime host of television’s iconic game show JEOPARDY!, lost his year-long courageous and very public battle with pancreatic cancer last Sunday. He made his graceful exit at home, surrounded by loving family and friends, knowing his baton would be passed to a competent successor when the time came. (Bookmakers are now offering bets on 30 possible replacements, including long-shot Donald Trump, however Ken Jennings, top winner of JEOPARDY! is favored). 

Conversely, Donald Trump, the host of his own four year reality show, THE PRESIDENCY!, lost his battle with Joe Biden and turned an already embattled White House into his personal bunker, withholding intelligence and vital funding for a successful, safe transition of power. 

“Where in the world is Donald?” ended after 6 days when the President finally emerged from the White House on Veterans Day to honor those at Arlington National Cemetery who paid the ultimate price defending our democracy. I wondered if his 1968 draft deferment for bone spurs on his then 22-year-old heels entered his mind as he stood in rain-soaked shoes, dripping overcoat and flattened hair, saluting and patting the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. 

His inaction over the last week has put us all in jeopardy, as we and the world await the end of his tantrum. As Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney said, it’s time for Trump “to put his big boy pants on” and accept the legitimate election outcome. And shame on Barr, Pompeo, Meadows, Guliani and others for coddling their petulant boss as he continues to hold his breath, and the potential for dangerous collateral damage increases daily. 

Today, in the eyes of a majority of diverse Americans, Joe Biden is THE MAN. He will be the 46th President of the United States, charged with the task of steadying our flailing democracy as it teeters on the brink of needing a ventilator. Joe Biden and Kamala Harris will breathe new life into America. To the 70 million Trump supporters, I beg you to take a breath and in President-elect Biden’s words: “give this new administration a chance.”

The first colossal task Joe Biden will face is the pandemic. He will take Covid by the horns with a new task force led by Obama’s Surgeon General, Dr. Vivek Murthy and an impressive group of doctors, scientists, virologists and epidemiologists who will work in concert to formulate a comprehensive mitigation plan, one I personally hope contains a mandatory mask component. MASKS WORK! This has been proven over and over. Why the big deal? Most of us look better with them than without them anyway! Think of them as bullet-proof vests for Covid-19. 

President-elect Biden’s basic decency, integrity and empathy cannot be denied, just as these character qualities cannot be learned by someone who does not inherently possess the capacity for them. There is a reason people were dancing in the streets this week. The weight of a possible autocracy at the expense of our democracy has been lifted, its fate hanging in the balance for four years, expanding exponentially during the last few tumultuous months of the campaign. 

Peaceful protesters calling out police brutality in Lafayette Square near the White House were met with D.C. police on horseback and National Guard units firing tear gas and flash grenades into the crowd. This assault was a vengeful salvo from the President because someone had set fire to a basement room of the parish, causing minor damage. 

The dispersal of the crowd culminated in a walk from the White House to St. John’s Church, the President flanked and followed by his family and minions, for a photo op of him holding a bible aloft, (upside down), and smoldering with righteous indignation. 

45 spent the weekend on the golf course in denial. 46 spent it in Wilmington, inspiring Americans to unite, going to Church, visiting the grave of his son, Beau, galvanizing the new Corona Task Force and acknowledging the well wishes of foreign leaders, all of whom sent congratulatory messages, best summed up in an enthusiastic tweet by Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo, “Welcome Back America!” 

Last weekend K. and I were enjoying a much-needed masked visit with our kids and grandkids at a roadside family restaurant mid-way between us, the kind that has a playground, rides, well-spaced picnic tables and mini-golf, all outdoors. My cell rang and it was our daughter on the West Coast screaming hysterically “Biden won! CNN just called it!” She was laughing and crying at the same time. It was a moment I’ll bank in the “Where were you when….?” list of cataclysmic moments of my generation. We FaceTimed with her and celebrated together/apart, as we’re accustomed to doing in the time of Covid. 

Then K. and my son-in-law went into the restaurant to order lunch for all of us. When they came out we sat at two socially-distanced red picnic tables, passed around hot dogs, burgers, fries, ketchup, mustard, drinks, napkins and straws. Then we removed our masks. I saw their smiling faces. I was smiling too. Yes, something had definitely lifted. It was November 7th but it felt like the 4th of July. 

After their speeches on Saturday night, Joe Biden, Kamala Harris and their families watched a spectacular fireworks display light up the sky. The people on stage looked like America, diverse and beautiful. 

“And the rockets red glare,

The bombs bursting in air

Gave proof through the night

That our flag was still there.

Oh say does that star-spangled banner yet wave

O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.”

Welcome back America, indeed!