• Mike S.

Don't Just Sit There; Doomscroll

Come on, now. You know you do it. You're seated in your favorite chair (or lying in bed) with your smart phone or tablet, and you're doomscrolling. Yes, you know what that is. It's 2020, after all, a year beset with myriad problems, problems like intense storms of wind and rain, and the grief and destruction they bring; raging fires from the West, the smoke of which migrates to the upper Midwest, causing stunning sunsets, along with the loss of life and property in the West; national and world political turmoil (it's still with us despite election results; would you have believed otherwise?); severe economic disruption; resurging racial intolerance; never-ending war and violence; and, oh, yes, lest we forget, the coronavirus pandemic, which as of this writing has taken the lives of close to 275,000 Americans (and counting) and nearly 1.5 million souls worldwide (and counting).

So you know what doomscrolling is, right?, that phenomenon in which we scroll from doom to doom down the screens of our electronic lives. Some of us felt satiated long ago and may have managed to arrest the quest for never-ending gloom and doom, and hugged someone, within, of course, six feet of distance and wearing a facemask (you'll need long arms).

Alas, doomscrolling, I fear, will be with us for the foreseeable future. It's just one of several Words of the Year, in this "unprecedented year," that the Oxford English Dictionary has cited in its annual Word of the Year event. Normally, the OED awards only one word that honor. This year, however, being what it is, the dictionary saw fit to name several words to cover the horrors of 2020, especially those related to the pandemic. Among them are in-person, covidiot (don't be one, if you can avoid it), and Blursday (how the days of the week blend together).

Take heart, though. Vaccines, if not actual vaccinations, seem imminent, offering hope for a better 2021. Maybe next year the OED will be able to give us just one Word of the Year. Here's to a better 2021.

(Image of SARS-CoV-2 from NIAID and used under CC License Attribution 2.0 Generic)

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