Rituals

When I told Andrew, my college roommate, that I was going to skip graduation because I didn’t think it would be fun he seemed puzzled. “It probably won’t be fun. Funerals aren’t fun, but I still go to those.”

For whatever reason this stuck with me. I mulled it over for weeks, like some sort of koan dispensed by zen master. I had always assumed that people participated in social rituals because of a vague autopilot; it hadn’t occurred to me yet that there might be value in a graduation ceremony. I had never examined how I felt about birthdays or Christmas or Mother’s Day, and what I was getting out of them. Or why some worked for me and others didn’t.

Let’s put aside for a second that a lot of holidays are fun. Everyone likes cake or pie or getting presents. But why have holidays at all? Why do we have cake some days and not others? Why not have cake every day?

Continue reading “Rituals”

Covid Risk

Something I wrote about Covid awhile back that might still be relevant as we crawl towards vaccination:

I’ve been talking to people about Covid recently and there’s a common theme: people don’t know if they’re worrying too much or not enough, but there is this constant nagging fear that they aren’t worrying the right amount. A few friends have told me they feel like they’re doing too much AND too little at the same time. Which I get! On the one hand, I don’t really know anyone who’s had Covid. It’s an abstract threat like nothing I’ve ever had to deal with. On the other hand we ground our entire society to a halt for it, so maybe I should freak out a little more?

Continue reading “Covid Risk”