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Sean Beckwith: The ‘rhymes with bucket’ list

I’ve never been on-call for any job I’ve had, but I imagine it’s not that great. You’re not working, which is great, but there’s that nagging feeling in the back of your mind that, as soon as you try to do something fun, you’ll get summoned to pull a nail out of some kid’s leg.

Put down “being on-call” and “removing construction material from body parts” as the main reasons why I could never be a doctor. Well, that and regular college took me long enough, so I don’t want to even fathom what my decade-plus medical school venture would have looked like.

Back to the point, being on-call seems like it’s similar to the way one feels when attempting activities that require proximity to people in the times of coronavirus insomuch as that irrepressible feeling that says, “Yeah, this is enjoyable but it’s not as freeing as I would like,” never goes away.

(I know it’s a stretch but my other analogies were playing video games on a time limit and something not fit for print. It’s not my fault beepers aren’t a thing anymore because that would’ve been a semi-decent parallel to masks.)

So, in honor of whenever you’ll be able to do shit without having to worry about some jackass coughing corona on you, here are the first things I’m going to do once everyone gets their Kremlin-sponsored cure shots:

Go out to eat: I don’t care how “nice” it was to go out to dinner or how much you “needed to get out of the house.” We all love going out to dinner, but it’s not exactly relaxing being waited on by a guy who looks like he just got beeped in from his shift at Olive Garden to give you stitches.

“Once that knee is feeling better, you come see me and I’ll give you bottomless breadsticks on the house.”

I want to be able to mosey into a restaurant off the street, slide into an open spot at the bar and have a burger and a beer while not having to worry about if this ketchup bottle has been disinfected recently.

Go to the movies: Drive-in movies almost went extinct for a reason. The audio is never as good and you have to worry about your car dying because these pop-up drive-ins have jerry-rigged audio setups.

You just can’t replicate the experience of sitting in a comfortable chair in a dark theater — unless you can literally replicate a theater in your house, which in that case, I hate you.

Though, even if you have a home theater, you can’t reproduce that bag of buttered popcorn and fountain pop. You need seasoned soda lines that can only be duplicated by years of teenage negligence and, of course, a steady liquid butter supplier, which sounds simple but, let me ask you this: Have you ever met a reliable drug dealer?

Travel: You know how people keep saying things like “The (insert industry on life support here) is never going to be the same after CORONAVIRUS?” Let’s hope that applies to travel appearance/hygiene.

Not wearing a mask is one thing but flip-flops, sweatpants that will probably incubate the next pandemic and refusing to wash off your vacation may be worse. I’m not saying we need to go back to the times of “Mad Men” when people wore suits on planes but there should be a certain level of self-respect because going on vacation is awesome. Like, I’m pretty sure cruises would be more popular if they implemented a dress code or at the very least a “No fanny pack” policy.

All I’m asking for is next time you travel, don’t dress like you’re taking it for granted.

Live music: Put me in the mosh pit right now. I can’t remember my last heavy metal show but let’s f—ing go because I need to release some aggression. If you replace “mosh pit,” “heavy metal” and “aggression” with “dance floor,” “hip-hop” and “stress,” the sentence would remain true. It may not read as fluid — “Put me in the dance floor” doesn’t make sense — but it would still be 100% true.

I might even give “line dance formation,” “country” and “sweet cowboy boot moves” a try. However, there would need to be some heavier edits to the sentences because I’ve never been to a country music concert. (Though I might wait until after the election, or 2024 if needed, to undertake that rite of passage.)

Socially distanced concerts are almost as bad as sit-down concerts. Not to disparage the Music School but if I can’t dance to it, then what are we doing here? Drop it over some Star Wars series and let’s get back to sweaty, hot, cramped and, most importantly, loud live shows.

There are plenty of other activities to add to the list of post-pandemic plans — attending a sporting event, being just regular grossed out by Dave and Busters, trying on shoes before buying, ball pits, booze tastings — but that list, like this pandemic, is seemingly endless.

At some point, ideally in the near future, hopefully we all can enjoy life without being on-call. (Nope. That still doesn’t work.)

Sean Beckwith prays he doesn’t have to add snowboarding to the list. A copy editor at The Aspen Times, reach him at sbeckwith@aspentimes.com.


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