Not quite sure how to address this, with all the terrifying emotions flowing within all of us on planet Earth, but during this unmatched time in history, I’m strangely excited and feeling quite positive.
My life as a broadcaster normally would have me engrossed in the coverage of the COVID-19 outbreak for up to the minute facts – the stats, the timing, and our national and state responses. Since my dad got me a radio job in high school and I chased my first cop car to an accident scene with my high school girlfriend Becky in the front seat of my 1951 Chrysler tank and until 2001, when I directed our Power 96 coverage of the attack on America on 9/11, I’ve been a news junkie. But during this current COVID-19 event and from now on, I can not.
A percentage of Multiple Sclerosis patients are physically and emotionally affected by stress, I’m in that percentile. Months after my diagnosis, it started kicking in with all the “unknown” that was happening to me. If I dwelled on the situation, my mind would fog, hands would shake, out of control muscle spasms would increase, tears could flow for the smallest of reasons or I’d break out in laughter when I probably shouldn't. Learning to control my mind in stressful situations has become very important to me and meditation has been my answer. Being able to dig deep in the mind and turn off negative thoughts and focus on silence between those thoughts, is an art to be learned and, although it’s an ongoing process for me, I’m comfortable with meditation for my mind control.
After weeks of watching our nation’s fumbling and slow response, the morning of the President’s announcement of National Emergency, as I watched “live”, my mind and body suddenly gave out; nausea to vomiting, dripping in sweat, racing heart and my body in full muscle seizure, stiff as a board. I nearly fell out of my wheelchair. My wife came running to assist and it scared my kid. When I finally calmed down over an hour later, my brain was in a fog and I couldn’t focus. The rest of the weekend was spent doing anything else but watching the news.
I began constructing the plot of a new book that’s been floating around my mind; I began mapping imaginary scenarios and creating characters. Meditation has helped me get creatively lost in an imaginary storyland. On Tuesday that week, St. Patrick’s Day, I saw a friend’s video on Facebook lamenting that because of social distancing, and his wife making him stay home, he couldn’t enjoy a St. Patrick’s Day beer with anyone. I messaged him to get a beer and I would reach out on Facetime so we could enjoy a “holiday” cocktail together, me and my friend John having an aperitif on Facetime. It was fun, we’ve known each other for over forty years and we had a blast. We thought it would be a great idea to do the same thing, a group chat to connect with a bunch of old friends. We hung up and my “radio programmer” brain began firing up for the first time in fifteen years.
I wondered if anyone would engage after announcing I’d be “Live” on Facebook at a certain time with a cocktail in hand. I’d call it: "One Cocktail With Kid” because my Multiple Sclerosis doctor says no more than one cocktail a day, it seemed like a pretty good idea.
After recording a video for Facebook, I tagged a bunch of friends, invited them to join me for “One Cocktail With Kid” and announced the time. However, I’m a tech dummy and my IT team, my wife, is a business coach for a major company and was in deep discussions with clients when the kick-off of my “Cocktail” event was scheduled.
Assuming I’d simply turn on my desktop, log onto Facebook and hit the “Live” to be underway was a large miscalculation. I had no clue what the screen was prompting me to do so, I quickly abandoned ship, grabbed my phone and attempted to go “Live” on it and, “voila’” success! I put the phone down in front of me and waved, waited a couple of seconds and names appeared. I asked for someone to confirm they could hear me, and they could. For the next thirty minutes, and the duration of the ONE cocktail, I was a nervous wreck seeing names of people I recognized and many I didn’t. Some responses made me start tearing up, I was overwhelmed and could hardly speak. IT WAS CRAZY. Comments started scrolling by, “we’ve missed you” and “how’s your mom” and “get back on the radio”, IT WAS NUTS. Doing my best to not fall from my chair as my body from the physical and emotional excitement, I kept it together, sipping on my cocktail as more names and comments rolled by on the screen. I repeatedly thanked them for participating and distracting me, which was the whole point of the exercise in the first place. I can’t take the stress and need to get my mind off the trauma happening in the world today so I encourage viewers to discover something that would distract them, let me know and I’d pass it on during the next, “One Cocktail With Kid”. Now is not the time to get caught up in numbers and get spooked about a situation no one can predict. Do not let fear be the dominant emotion. Focus on the simple fact, this moment in our America will pass, that fact should be dominant in your consciousness. Fill your brains with positivity and purposely move away from uncertainty. With available technology, you can read, learn to write, learn a new language, learn sign-language or knit. Maybe you can find classes in your chosen field to study to prepare for when the job markets reopen. Maybe your time spent learning can advance our position.
Is now the time to change fields? You have a gifted opportunity to advance yourself through education. I encouraged my “Cocktail” viewers who have writer aspirations, to write a paragraph, get on my website, find my email address, send it to me so I could share their creation. Whatever you want, now is the time to control your mind and get something useful from self-quarantine.
After twenty-five minutes, I wrapped it up. I could have gone longer but, nobody needs that. I HAD A BLAST. There’s not been creative juice like that flowing in this body since March 2005, when at the age of 50, I was diagnosed with a severe case of Multiple Sclerosis and forced into retirement. But I had so much fun and as I promised, I went “Live” again the next day.
Now, I’m adding guests to my “One Cocktail With Kid” Facebook “Live” event. My first was Frank Reed who has the largest Christian radio audience in America on the number one station in Dallas, 949 KLTY. He was also on the radio middays between Howard Stern and Don Imus at the legend, WNBC. It was just me and Frank, each with one cocktail, as we shared old radio stories, pointed to the positive things our friends are doing on-line, we encouraged people to get on Google and turn their brain on by reading, writing, researching and studying. Frank addressed fighting Fear with Faith and I talked about if Faith isn’t your thing, how to find peace and calm your mind with meditation. We both insisted viewers be aware we’re all doing this together and our message is to get ready for the future after the COVID-19 pandemic is over.
I’m excited that this medium, the internet, has allowed me to create the crazy idea of gathering people together to join me for “One Cocktail With Kid” as a distraction to the world’s drama. We’ll discuss the best things you can do for yourself and your community of friends and family. A welcome distraction for as long as it lasts, as I long for the day when I return to writing my next book. Until next time, Peace Join me for my live events here: www.facebook.com/KimKidCurrytheAuthor