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Perspective: A Myth About COVID

Chris Fink

What do you even do for fun with your kids in COVID times?

A new fall activity in our family is to visit playgrounds. In Wisconsin, our fall playgrounds are now windswept and empty -- the best qualities of a playground these days. My daughter Iris, now nine, still loves a playground, even a desolate one. We usually choose one somewhere along the Rock River. Some of the playgrounds are barricaded shut. Others are open, but all the children have gone. Just a few underdressed teens huddle by the tire swing.

The drive to the playground is another family diversion.

It seems quaint to take a drive any more. My mother, born in 1931, still tells stories of her depression-inflected youth. On Sundays, for a treat, grandpa would pump 50 cents worth of gasoline in the Buick, and they’d go for a drive. The rhythm of family life has come back around.

Driving to and from the playground, Iris keeps her nose in a book. Crazy kid prefers books to the excitement of real life, happening right outside the window!

Lately she’s nutty about mythology. I do my best to relate. “You know, our family has a mythology,” I tell her. “We’re just like the Greeks.”

“No,” she says. “We’re not.” In the backseat Iris doesn’t raise her eyes from her Greek Gods.

“Sure we are,” I say. “We tell ourselves stories about the strange times we live in. Pass those stories down, and presto, you’ve got a myth.”

“Dada!” Iris says. She stars in the role of exasperated daughter. Driving down Riverside, the Rock River flowing along beside us, I see a vision of the future, which looks very much like today. Our story just keeps repeating.

I’m Chris Fink and that’s my perspective.

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