February 12, 2021 Edition
Every year, this particular week in February nearly ruins me. I vividly remember, in my sophomore year in high school, saying to my favorite coach who noticed I looked down and asked how things were going, “I want to kill myself.” I wasn’t being literal or serious, but I did feel that way. Something about the deep grayness, cold, snow, and never-ending night that seems to comprise the whole month of February gets me down. So adequately adjust expectations because this round-up required a digging deep but don’t worry–I managed to find a couple good things amid the darkness.
best new comedy that turns out to be a delight despite questionable marketing: Ted Lasso
I’ve been avoiding this show since fall because I couldn’t even imagine what good could come of this. Jason Sudeikis, meh. Looks like a stupid American, my fragile ego can’t handle that right now. Soccer…okay, soccer’s a great game but a bad context for any American…the world hates us for many reasons and channels all of that for how stupid we are at soccer, including calling it soccer. Why do I need this show?
Turns out, the whole world needs this show. I’m shocked myself. Ted Lasso is the character who we, living in a post-Trump, pandemic era, all need. Shockingly, Ted Lasso is everything you don’t expect based on the pornstache and deep fried southern accent; he’s sunshine, heart, and humanity at a time that feels so unfriendly and isolated. Unfortunately, this is on Apple TV, meaning not available to all but if you can get it, watch it. If you don’t have Apple TV because you’ve successfully rejected the cult of Mac, bootleg it…I’m sure it’s out there.
I laughed, I cried (I know…weird), I felt human again. And I also felt compassion for Jason Sudeikis who was dumped so wretchedly by Thirteen (if you’re a House watcher of any salt), who I’m hoping is much more like Ted Lasso than his questionable SNL years would lead us to believe. To pull off the sincerity, some of that has to be innate or he’s a sociopath. Either way, a huge pop-culture win in my book…and I’m now counting down the days until Season 2.
best thing that happened that has never happened before: A student cries happy tears in my class.
Oh, I’ve had plenty of unhappy tears because I have a heart of iron and don’t cave to manipulative waterworks of students trying to get extensions on papers they didn’t even try to do on time. But happy tears: that’s a “never happened” in my 20-year old teaching book. An adult student wanted to register late for my class and, despite my hesitation that we’re already significantly into the material, we both committed to threading through the crazy academic bureaucracy to get him in there. I’ll confess it was an unusual amount of effort for me on behalf of a student this late into the semester.
He came in for the first time on Wednesday night and, as I was catching him up on where we are, he shared that this is his first college class ever–a wish his father had for him his whole life. His father passed away in November and he just felt like he had to do this right now. And my class was the one. And he almost gave up with all of the rigamarole but when I didn’t, he felt like he had to see it through. I gave him a solo round of applause. I’ve literally never seen a student cry tears of joy to be there. And that’s why community college is the bomb. I have yet to meet one entitled student at this place; they all want it bad…and I love that. Congratulations to you, fella! Great first step. And sociology is always the right way to start higher education. Always.
new favorite daily routine: watching the White House press briefings every.day. I have so much to say about this that I’ll save for future discussion. These have become daily must see tv. On PBS…so I’m officially 80 years old but that’s ok.
most treasured article of clothing this week: yoga leggings.
Sure, I’ve worn the pants but when spanning an indoor/outdoor temperature ratio of 60 degrees or more, you need flexibility. The leggings a) don’t drag on the ground 2) fit underneath some wind-impervious pants iii) can tuck into serious “I’m freezing” socks, all while providing the slightest little bit of lift to your keister and your day all at the same time. Owned in a variety of colors, this week I’ve defaulted to what else–the gray ones–to tie into the theme.
best YouTube rabbit hole of the week: Seth Rudetsky’s “Obsessed” series
I am not theater people. But I, like any good sociologist, am theater-people adjacent; I think they’re a fascinating clan and any chance I can get a glimpse backstage without leaving the comfort of my couch, even better. On the other hand, Seth Rudetsky is theater people. A well known and celebrated Music Director for many broadway shows, a pit musician for even more, and the MD for Rosie O’Donnell’s daytime talkshow (I think?), he knows and has worked with everyone…who he somehow cajoles onto Playbill’s little series on YouTube. These are five-minute gems of some serious Broadway A-Listers being funny and showing off their incredible singing abilities while sharing some great backstage stories. It’s such a realistic, authentic glimpse into an otherwise very mysterious and weird world of seeming wackos. Also, I think there are approximately 74348 of these–so perfectly positioned to suck me in for all of the hours I seemingly have available this week because I care about nothing.
His other series, “Seth Deconstructs” is even better but if you don’t like him as a character you won’t be interested–they’re 20-30 minutes and all feature him breaking down famous Broadway tunes–talking about composition and performance. He’s an incredible musician and obviously knows his stuff but is a personality so check that out but only if you find Seth entertaining.
Admittedly, the “Obsessed” videos are old but all of the featured performers are still relevant and performing today (except for Rebecca Luker, god rest her soprano soul). I’ve found this a delightful diversion from the utter nothing that has been this week.
my favorite things I didn’t do this week because of February ennui:
- Clean off my snow-laden car from last Sunday’s blizzard
- Finish the lion’s share of laundry hanging out in baskets wanting to be clean
- Clean off my snow-laden car from Monday’s blizzard
- Grade Essays #1 and #2 from my class
- Clean off my show-laden car from Wednesday’s blizzard
- Wash my hair
most important reminder of the week: human connection is necessary
A friend came over Tuesday night for some vino and catching up. COVID precautions were heeded but I realized it’s the first time in months I just hung out and laughed and ate pizza and didn’t care about Trump or COVID or work. It literally gave me life in that the next day I felt at ease, more content and grateful, and somehow better at being human. People. People who need people…
My weather app tells me there’s more snow and frigid temperatures coming our way. I’m going to dig deep and make it through but I will say: I’m going to appreciate the Spring so much more when it finally gets here. Not to worry though, Lent and a time of spiritual darkness are right around the corner.