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  • Glenn Sonnenberg

Musings from the Bunker 10/15/20

Good morning,



The COVID-19 pandemic is having an effect on the mental health of all of us. For some, it’s a bit of anxiety, a feeling of claustrophobia, or a sense of being out of control. For others, suicidal ideation and damaging thoughts have an even greater effect. For many of us, the world has gotten smaller and more virtual. And that’s not good.

In the past week, I’ve had several people comment that they wish they hadn’t sent an email, or were too quick to text, or were too dismissive in a response to a friend. Some have noted that meetings on Zoom are exhausting and offer no real human interactions. Of the many problems with sitting and staring at phones and laptops is the need to be completely engaged and totally responsive. In this, we act too quickly and, when we do, we do not benefit from the perspective of introspection and reconsideration, and we don’t have the ability to read the facial expressions and body language of the person with whom we’re speaking. Often, I suspect we do not always connect that, on the other side of the cold screen at which we stare, sits another human being, as nervous, anxious, and flawed as are we. So I have a few suggestions—suggestions I will try to follow myself:

• In a phone conversation, count to five slowly before responding to a statement with which you may disagree. Not the quick five-count from a Peloton instructor, but a slow “one thousand one, one thousand two…”

• With texts, wait a half hour before responding. Until a few years ago, no one would expect the immediacy of a response. Why are we in such a rush now? How is a reflexive response a good idea?

• With email, write the email, store it in your Drafts file, or send to a friend to look over. Then send it only after an interval of a few hours. Again, what’s the rush? You’ll reduce the likelihood of offending the recipient and you’ll save yourself the embarrassment or regret that comes from a quick response.



From Paul Kanin:

Do you remember Zack Greinke Dodger days? After locker room manager’s talk during losing streak, the manager asks players if they have anything to add. Greinke pointed out that some players didn’t wash their hands after making a number 2. I’m sure he is handling Covid problems better than most.

From Mark DiMaria, a collection of hapless Mets from the “glory” days of the 60s:

Marvelous Marv Throneberry, one of the original Mets, once was called out after hitting a triple for missing first base. When manager Casey Stengel came out to argue, the umpire told him not to bother, as Marv had missed second base too.

Harry Chiti was a catcher obtained by the Mets at the beginning of their first season in 1962 from the Cleveland Indians in exchange for a "player to be named later." Naturally, that player turned out to be Mr. Chiti himself, who was returned to the Indians some two months later, becoming the first player ever traded for himself.

And of course, Clarence "Choo Choo" Coleman, a small catcher ironically was known as a speedster, hence his nickname -- although that talent was somewhat wasted as he was rarely on base, with his lifetime average clinging tenuously to the famous "Mendoza Line" of .200. Choo Choo once signaled to Marvelous Marv at first base for a pick-off play, Marv missed the signal and the ball sailed past his head as he looked the other way, and Choo Choo was assessed an error -- for bad judgment in signaling to Marv in the first place.



Yes, my high school was the “Saxons.” Thankfully, there are not many people who identify with this ethnicity and can’t complain. Peter Bain suggests a few who, following on the marauding theme, should have been our neighboring rivals:

• The Venice Visigoths

• The Santa Monica Slavs

• The Hollywood Heathens

• The Anaheim Aryans

In actuality, Anaheim High School’s mascot was the “Colonists,” which probably isn’t the best of names in today’s political environment. That said, maybe not. This country in fact is the result of colonists from Europe founding a republic on these shores. The colonies were an experiment in government that changed the world. Certainly there were indigenous peoples here and the relationship with them were fraught. And there is a good deal of regrettable behaviors. But I don’t think we need be ashamed of those original colonists (though their descendants were not quite as pure).

But I’m not even sure if the Colonists to which Anaheim High School was referring were the colonists in New England. Anaheim began as a German colony. Anaheim prided itself with the historic “Mother Colony House” commemorating the town’s early days. Perhaps Peter’s joke about the “Anaheim Aryans” isn’t that far off.

Happy days,


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