Timothy S. Connelly, 58

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It looks like downtown Laconia is entering a new phase. What would you change about downtown?

Meet ‘Aunt Erma’ and learn how to ‘cope’

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Given the very serious COVID-19 and related issues that continue to plague our country, we might find a few smiles in revisiting the still popular works of the late Erma Bombeck, an American humorist whose columns were syndicated in more than 700 newspapers from 1965-1996.

During her writing career, Bombeck gave us a myriad of clever quips on how to deal with family matters and community concerns while never making fun of people or the plights they face.

As she once noted, “There is a thin line that separates laughter and pain, comedy and tragedy, humor and hurt.”

The lady was as wise as she was witty.

And her literary offerings were always uplifting. Even now, I consider “Aunt Erma’s Cope Book: How to Get from Monday to Friday … In 12 Days” one of my favorites.

Certainly, that title is fitting for what so many individuals and families have already endured and are going through at present. I quite often say to myself, “One day at a time,” and pass it on to others who understand that it’s probably not in our best interests to guesstimate what is around the proverbial corner and then spend hours fretting about different possibilities.

Personally, I find that adhering to a routine – and having a plan in place – is helpful and brings a certain sense of normalcy to my little world. Having some semblance of a schedule is especially important when there are no meetings to attend and no appointments to keep.

I might not always feel particularly perky or energetic, but getting up and about and greeting the day is vital to my overall well-being. The calendar might be sans any obligatory commitments but that’s when I fill in the blanks and create activity options. There is always something to do and taking on a task and seeing it through gives me a sense of purpose.

The trying circumstances in which we again find ourselves test our patience and challenge our abilities to persist in doing an assigned job or in contributing what we can to the welfare of perfect strangers. Even so, it is imperative that we keep on pushing ourselves to do something as opposed to doing absolutely nothing.

Mental acuity is vital and “solitary confinement” is not conducive to emotional or physical health. Last year, I started making lists in my head and I continue to recite them nearly every week. This might seem like a silly exercise but by my way of thinking, it ensures that my 79-year-old brain can retain some knowledge – trivial as it is.

My itemized accountings include the names of 50 Hallmark Channel actresses, 25 Hallmark actors, 10 women authors, 10 women tennis payers (in addition to Serena and Venus Williams), 10 women golfers, 10 members of the PGA Tour. To supplement this cognitive power undertaking, I try to average between five and six word search puzzles per day – and several newspaper crossword puzzles every seven days.

Of course, reading is enjoyable and affords us a brief getaway from the stresses and distresses we may encounter. And it continues the learning process.

Each January, I set goals for how many books I hope to complete in 12 months. I am a bit behind right now but there is pleasure in this pursuit. (And I would encourage my fellow literary fans to donate their used books to the Garland County Library. Sharing is caring.)

And don’t forget to keep in close touch with loved ones, friends, and neighbors. Conversations are lifelines.

And if you’re not acquainted with Erma Bombeck, it’s not too late to get to know her.

Clubhouse app: I just joined the conversation. Where were Jared and Oprah?

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Having only just learnt that Clubhouse is le dernier cri in social media, the toast of technocracy and the talk of Palo Alto and the Bay Area, I was surprised to receive an invitation to join a fortnight ago. Surprised and slightly flattered since my understanding was that it was incredibly selective . . . invitation-only . . . all very Virgil-Abloh-riffing-with-Elon-Musk. By the way, Musk recently observed on the app somewhat gnomically that “context switching is the mind killer”.

The idea of an audio-only social media app intrigued me. It recalled something I had read about the court of King Charles I in, I think, John Stubbs’s book Reprobates about Cavalier poets, playwrights and pleasure-seekers of the 17th century. As far