Coronavirus Commercials vs. Real Life Right Now

If you’re home as much as most people, you can’t get away from the TV. You’re listening to it even if you’re not watching it. The noise is the background sound to our indoor lives right now. Whether it’s the drone of the White House nightly press briefing or the ever-growing grim statistics of death and positive tests, we live for the numbers and news, and wait until it all stops.

Then there are the commercials. Most of them are virus-themed without saying so directly. “In these uncertain times”, “We’ll get through this together”, and “We’ve weathered the storm before” are typical lead-ins, before you see new cars on sunny highways, gorgeous furniture in perfect living rooms and happy families gathered around the cozy communal home office workspace, with mom and dad and the kids so diligently engaged on their digital devices.

I can tell you, that’s not real life. And you can probably tell me the same thing.

I know from Zoom meetings with colleagues that home offices are sometimes a messy kitchen table, dusty dining room space or crowded bedroom corner. Home schooled kids are sometimes bored, whiny, fearful, anxious, and often only too happy to interrupt the workday, because a parent is present and the assumption is there are no rules. And pets want playtime, petting, and treats because their human feeding machine is just sitting there doing what looks like nothing to them.

Many companies are doing great things for all of us: donating food, money and time. They are equipping their people to work safely, from home or on the job. They are forgiving payments, extending credit, packing supplies, delivering packages, opening early, staying late and filling in the untold gaps that no local, state or federal government can possibly handle. Those of us who depend on those who do all of this are grateful. And the attempt at uplifting commercials isn’t that bad. I just wish I knew which grocery store in my local chain is getting restocked with all that toilet paper in the commercial. I keep seeing the rolls and rolls going up on the shelves and wondering, “I’ve hit five different stores; who is getting all the damned TP?”

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