Today I Learned*

Today I Learned*


By Jack Kelly

Don’t tell anyone, but I’ve been engaging in civil disobedience by sneaking into my office to work. Don’t worry—my team works safely from home. Not to brag, but we started doing this long before Jack Dorsey, the dual CEO of Twitter and Square, made the announcement that his employees can work remotely “forever” and Mark Zuckerberg chiming in that he’d also let people work from home. 

Unlike Dorsey, Zuck sternly warned his workers, in his inimitable, monotone cyborg voice, that those who leave San Francisco and dare to go to nicer, cleaner locations with lower housing prices and less taxes will have their salaries dramatically cut to match the pay range in that area.

Since I’m not a nurse, doctor or food delivery guy, I’m probably not deemed essential—although I’d like to believe that I, as well as everyone else, is essentially important. Nevertheless, the office building is almost completely empty except for me and a handful of stock brokers at a company that sounds like “Mells Cargo.” I don’t want to get them in trouble for being here, since churning accounts and selling risky investment products to gullible customers who would be better off buying low-cost index funds may not necessarily be considered essential.**

Donald Trump had a busy Memorial Day weekend. In addition to golfing, he tweeted that MSNBC host Joe Scarborough—who used to be a big Trump fanboy and Republican congressbro before he met and married Mika—may have had a hand in killing his intern

Trump said in the tweet, “A lot of interest in this story about Psycho Joe Scarborough. So a young marathon runner just happened to faint in his office, hit her head on his desk, & die? I would think there is a lot more to this story than that? An affair? What about the so-called investigator? Read story!” 

Trump also tweeted about Morning Joe, “A blow to her head? Body found under his desk? Left Congress suddenly? Big topic of discussion in Florida…and, he’s a Nut Job (with bad ratings). Keep digging, use forensic geniuses!”

Fighting back against his anti-golf critics, Trump tweeted, “Some stories about the fact that in order to get outside and perhaps, even a little exercise, I played golf over the weekend. The Fake & Totally Corrupt News makes it sound like a mortal sin—I knew this would happen! 

“What they don’t say is that it was my first golf in almost three months” and “I bet you wuss, loser reporters don’t know how to play golf or possess the upper-body strength to hit a golf ball 10 yards. You’re also so poor that you can’t even afford to own golf courses like I do! I own a lot of huge golf courses all over the world!” Okay, I completely made up the last quote. I bet you couldn’t tell the difference.

Nevertheless, that was just the start. He shared tweets slamming “Sleepy Joe Biden” calling Hillary Clinton a “skank,” suggesting that Nancy Pelosi’s mouth be taped shut and mocking the physical appearance of former Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams calling her “Shamu.” 

If you’re unfamiliar with the Shamu reference, Shamu was a giant whale kept in captivity at SeaWorld and weighed 1,984 pounds. Both CNN and MSNBC (or as Trump likes to say, the lamestream media) fact checked this and claimed that the tweet is fake news as Abrams is only “morbidly obese” (Nancy’s terminology) and doesn’t in fact weigh 2,000 pounds. I’m glad they cleared that up!

I guess we all celebrate Memorial Day weekend in our own unique ways.

You may not know this, but Joe Biden and I are best buds as you can clearly tell from our correspondence. 

I’ve learned a lot throughout our pen-pal relationship. Did you know that Biden loves our unique American culture, going to 7-11 and DnD, black people  and is hyped and excited about the upcoming election bragging that “‘I’m Going to Beat Joe Biden”?

 I’ve been writing extensively about the alarming spike in unemployment. Since mid-March, about 40 million Americans have lost their jobs. There have been consistent reports that state unemployment offices haven’t been able to keep up with the overwhelming demand. This led me to conclude that the amount of people unemployed is even larger than reported.

Today, I learned that the Unemployment Director of the Oklahoma Employment Security Commission, Robin Roberson, stepped down (which is a nice way of saying she quit). 

Roberson faced a protest by unemployment benefit seekers who accused the office of not providing them with the benefits that they are due. They claim that the website is glitchy and hard to navigate. The out-of-work Oklahomaians (is that right?) voiced their fears that without the funds they’d be in dire straits (Well I said that to make it sound ominous; they just complained) .

Roberson said that she understands the reports of fraud in the unemployment system and the challenges the agency faces in paying out Pandemic Unemployment Assistance claims, as well as the needs of the many Oklahomans who are waiting and worrying.

“We’ve been patient and understanding, but evictions start next week and people still don’t have their money. That’s unacceptable,” said Peach Sanchez, a protestor. This confirms my belief that there are many Americans who’ve had trouble applying for and receiving benefits and the numbers of unemployed people is greater than what’s been reported.

It’s called “deaths of despair.” Imposing coronavirus lockdowns for too long could cause “irreparable damage,” said the White House’s top doctor Anthony Fauci Friday during an interview with CNBC.

Fauci believes many parts of the country are ready for “cautious” and “prudent” reopenings, but  warned that social distancing and mask-wearing should still take place. “We can’t stay locked down for such a considerable period of time that you might do irreparable damage and have unintended consequences, including consequences for health,” Fauci added. 

Some doctors say they’ve seen more deaths from suicide than coronavirus since lockdowns. “The numbers are unprecedented,” Dr. Michael deBoisblanc of John Muir Medical Center in Walnut Creek, California, told ABC 7 News. He added that he’s seen a “year’s worth of suicides” in the last four weeks alone.

Kacey Hansen, a trauma center nurse at John Muir Medical Center for more than 30 years, says she’s worried not only about the increased suicide attempts, but also about the hospital’s ability to save as many patients as usual. “What I have seen recently, I have never seen before,” Hansen said. “I have never seen so much intentional injury.”

Suicide has been an increasingly significant problem across the country as the coronavirus outbreak caused stay-at-home orders that led to unemployment and stress. By late March, more people had died in just one Tennessee county from suicide than had died in the entire state directly from the virus.

A study published in early May suggested that the coronavirus could lead to at least 75,000 deaths directly brought on by anxiety from the virus, job losses and addiction to alcohol and drugs.

Sorry to end this on such a downer, but these are the difficult things that we all have to openly and honestly talk about. If we don’t engage in tough, grown-up conversations regarding how to reopen the economy and move forward balancing work, life and health, nothing will get accomplished.  

*This is meant to be parody except when it’s not. 

**I’m kidding around! They’re really great, nice and honest guys— but if I wrote that, it wouldn’t be funny or interesting.


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