Wednesday, September 16, 2020



Christine Cagney would sometimes say, “change equals psychological loss,” quoting the only thing she remembered from her Freshman psych class. Even change for the better, I often add, and then give the “for instance” of finally getting the Mercedes you have always longed for, then having the realization of a lifelong dream that has been lost.

The point is… dysphoria is an easy thing to fall into…. especially in the middle of a pandemic, and even more so in a country where the rate of infection is a multiple of what should reasonably be expected.

It seems as if everyone I know is depressed. Some more than others, but everyone is down… everyone, that is, except me. I will explain. I have this facility… call it a gift if you like… but I adjust. This is not necessarily something to which you should aspire. I mean, if Thomas Alva Edison could have adjusted to the dark, we would not have light bulbs. If Henry Ford would have adjusted to that bumpy horse and buggy ride, who knows if we would have ever had the automobile.

Being able to adjust is not for folks who have achieving greatness as a goal. No doubt that is why true greatness has eluded me. Being able to adjust has always been “my thing.” And I expect that to go on as long as I do. Even then, the words engraved upon my tombstone will be:

To This Too He Will Adjust.

As I have said: it’s a gift (sorta).

To all of you, let me pass on these words of optimism from Pete Townshend and The Who from their rock opera, Tommy:

“Got a feeling twenty-one is going to be a good year….”

And how could it not be when compared to its predecessor? 2020 has established a low water mark for this century’s calendars.  Admittedly things were not so terrific in 2019 either, but 2020…? I think it has something to do with too many zeros. Good news: those multiple ciphers will be reduced to a reasonably acceptable one zero in a matter of months. That, alone, should make things better. It is already almost a new year for those of you who follow the Hebrew calendar, and for those who more closely adhere to the Gregorian, it’s a quarter of a year away from a new start. 2021 has to be a better year than this double zeroed unpleasant thing we currently endure.

More good news: It will be over a thousand years before we have another year with double zeros. Still, if you are planning on cryopreservation, really look out for what might happen nine hundred and seventy-nine years and nine months from now when the year 3000 comes along with its triple zeros.   

Back to my predilection for the bright side. I am not rich enough to have lost a fortune this year the way so many of my neighbors have, while at the same time I have enough salted away to do just about whatever I want. This, too, fits right in with my ability to adjust, since I never really wanted all that much in the first place.

Aside from the material, my soul is intact, my inner hermit totally satisfied. The pandemic means I no longer need come up with an excuse for not being sociable with the neighbors, and it absolutely makes my penchant for avoiding eye contact with any fellow Fisher Islander unremarkable.

For those who continue in melancholy, restlessness, despondence or even doldrums: cheer up. You are not imagining things. Your depression has every reason to be there, for what is New York without theatre and excellent restaurants? What is travel when most of the countries in the world won’t let you in? (Even Canada doesn’t want us! Besides, if they did, who is fool enough to get on a plane?) What is shopping when all the best stores are closed (either temporarily or permanently)? What is a suite at the 4 Seasons if you are wary of sitting on the bed? What are fifty-yard line tickets when they won’t let you in the stadium? What is TV without Cagney & Lacey? (Oh… I forgot, the reunion movies are now on Amazon Prime, the series is on Apple+ and you can still get my memoir, Cagney & Lacey… and me through Amazon, I-books, Kindle, or with personalized autograph from the official C&L website Yet, even with that, these are tough times.

Believe me, I get it. I, too, miss seeing my children and grandchildren, miss the in-person connection with friends and family. It is sad. The thought occurs to me. There is a whiff of something in the air. Something sorrowful is abroad in the land and then, there I am, as usual, adjusting to it all.


Barney Rosenzweig

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