Eye On The Ball: Changes

“We plan, God laughs.” That statement has never been truer than this past couple of weeks.

Three weeks ago, my life, and the lives of most people I know, were going along just fine. The stock market was setting new record highs almost every day. We had sports and entertainment, we had plenty of everything and we were healthy and happy. The future looked great and all we had to worry about was which politician we were going to hate the most.

Suddenly, I can’t watch sports, can’t travel anywhere, all my fun events are cancelled and I can’t touch anything. However, the stock market is still setting records, but the records are now heading in the wrong direction.

Even though I am told not to panic, I couldn’t help but wonder, if not now just when will be the right time. We were losing our income, our sports, and our fun and peace of mind.

All because something was happening over 7,000 miles away that would be putting new words in our everyday conversation. Those words would be coronavirus, COVID-19 and pandemic.

Those new words refer to a dangerous virus that’s affecting not just New York and America, but the whole world. Thousands of people are quarantined and if they’re out on the streets, they look like the Lone Ranger wearing his mask over his mouth instead of his eyes.

If you’re out and happen to sneeze, stop and look around because in about three seconds you will find yourself standing alone.

The age-old tradition of shaking hands has been replaced with touching elbows. I wouldn’t mind if that tradition replaces the old handshake. As a youngster, we were taught to look the person in the eye and give a firm handshake.

That was before I became an old man and arthritis found its way into my finger joints. Now I cringe whenever someone gives me a firm handshake.

We don’t even realize it, but things are changing. While walking into the IGA last Saturday, a lady coming out offered me her shopping cart. Before she handed it to me, she said, “Wait a minute,” and took a sanitary wipe out of her pocket and wiped down the cart. This never happened to me before and it really made me feel good.

I can’t believe how quickly life can take on a new direction. This would be a good time to realize and appreciate just how good we have it.

If you gave me the choice of going anywhere in the world tomorrow, you can close the ferries. Right now, there is no place in the world that I would rather be than here on Shelter Island.

Another thing happened in my morning coffee group. This stranger came in for coffee the day before and would loudly sneeze or blow his nose at least every minute.

Today, he came in again and started the same thing. The owner immediately got up and spoke to him about not coming in if he is sick. The owner also said that it’s unfair to his customers trying to enjoy their breakfast. He made it clear that he would be happy to bring it out or even to his car.

The funniest thing happened last Sunday when I was surprised to go through the channels and find the Players Golf Championship on TV after I was told all tournaments were cancelled. You guessed it — I sat and watched last year’s event for four hours never realizing this had already happened.

Be careful as you age, but learn to laugh at yourself.

I’m writing this column on Monday and hope when the paper comes out on Thursday some things will change for the best. Even though I now have the cleanest hands I’ve ever had in my life, I wouldn’t mind if the elbow bump continues instead of the handshake. I’d like to continue playing golf for a few more years and those fingers will come in handy to hold the club.

And as I close, thanks to all the volunteers who have been