Our military friends have all these worldly, uniquely applicable sayings they use on us “civilians” from time to time. One they are fond of is “Stay Frosty” – and while that may seem pertinent given today’s weather outlook, it carries a different meaning.
To them, it means to stay keen – alert to what’s coming – and we get that.
Stuff is happening. Wheels are grinding. Slowly, perhaps too slowly for many, but they are moving. As evidence, we’re seeing legal ramifications finally come to pass for people accused of crimes not brought since the Civil War. No, the actual Civil War, not the one promised by small-engine mechanics and part-time militia members from Alabama. We’re also seeing developments in the global fight against COVID strains and other illnesses straining our health care resources, and still taking lives. It is becoming increasingly difficult to find an available ambulance – or hospital bed – in Contra Costa County on some days, and health care workers are finding it difficult to “stay frosty.”
Along with the assault on our general health outlook it seems many of us our succumbing to the national uncertainty – with financial or health issues taking a toll on our mental resolve to stay strong and keen, and many of us choosing to opt out in often dramatic fashion. Often, the only evidence such a loss has taken place is a muted gunshot in the night and the stealthy appearance of a coroner’s van the following morning.
Business owners are finding their chosen environment can be particularly hard going, with price increases and staffing shortages and other factors taking their toll on profits and the businesses’ longevity. In our own field (Note: News24/680 is healthy and still chugging along, thank you!) sweeping staff layoffs are underway at CNN and other traditional television networks as cost-cutting gets underway with equally traditional and often brutal repercussions. And while it’s tough for the “hairspray and teleprompter” talent, it’s positively bleak for the scribbling drones like us who labor in rapidly dwindling newsrooms across the country, one eye peeled for a worthy story – the other for the ironically named Human Resources rep appearing at their desk with what passes for a severance package.
Oh, we know no one will be crying a river for “the media,” now all conveniently lumped together in one hateful ball, singled out for derision by political figures and their wannabe brethren better at spreading invective than they are at serving their constituents. Hey, we’re frumpy and mostly non-telegenic and we make damn good scapegoats for people’s problems, we get it.
Others are also finding it difficult to Stay Frosty as the nation teeters toward what appear to be recessionary times, cancelling their Netflix accounts and cutting back on the other staples of life they find they can do without. We’re seeing changes in lifestyle patterns, fewer marriages, no children, people leaving their churches – as we struggle to adapt.
And as those among us who have lost everything rise up from the breezeway or field they slept in overnight, shaking off the effects of hypothermia and pondering their next move or the lives they once had, all the rest of us can do is perhaps spring for a cup of coffee, or hand them a blanket, and express a wish for future good luck we know most will not see.
It can be hard to Stay Frosty when you’re numb and covered by it.