A lot of people might be finding the change of the calendar from 2020 to 2021 to be cause for inspiration and hope. It certainly is for most of the people that I know.

My brother Andrew, of Scottish ancestry and a retired firefighter, possesses an unusual sense of humor and has taken an amusing glance at the New Year. I texted him this heartwarming message, “Here’s wishing you all an amazing, healthy and happy new year!”

He replied, “What was wrong with 2020?” This made me laugh and wonder if Scots have a warped sense of humor (which I certainly do) and that led to this brief foray into Scottish humor.

The year 2020 may not go down in history as one of the better years. It is competing with the likes of 1918, 1347-1351, 2002 and others. Thanks to Highland Titles, a land conservation program in Scotland, I was able to snag a few witty thoughts about the COVID-19 pandemic in order to add a new perspective on our 2020 experiences.

On quarantining: “Your grandparents were called to war. You’re being called to sit on your couch. You can do this.” Next, imagine these two pictures—one shows the rain pouring down, umbrellas being blown around—it is titled “March every year.” The other picture shows a flower-filled field in bright sunlight, cheerful, puffy clouds in the sky—it is titled “March during quarantine.” Finally, imagine a black-and-white floor plan with areas labeled “dining room,” “porch,” “living room,” along with square footage. This is the caption: “Looking at the map for some weekend travel plans.”

Memes about the pandemic: “I hope the weather is good tomorrow for my trip to Puerto Backyarda. I’m getting tired of Los Livingroom.” And, “If you see my kids crying outside and picking weeds, just keep on driving. They’re on a field trip.”

Humor has always been my fallback emotion for so many situations. While writing this piece it has become even clearer how it inspires me. It seems pretty obvious that this is one way in which I have a lot of other people rowing in the same boat and most likely, glad of it.

Given that one of the main gifts of the pandemic is having so much more “free” time to explore the internet, I have come across a lot of inspirational material. There are a number of talent shows such as America’s Got Talent, The Voice and The Voice Kids, all of which give people a chance to perform at both the highest levels, and occasionally the lowest. Whenever I see young teenagers singing so bravely, I get in touch with my own insecurity (the phrase, “Can’t carry a tune in a bucket” applies here) but feel the inspiration of their talent and bravery.

Some of the contestants on America’s Got Talent have won the Golden Buzzer, which means they move, without further auditions and regardless of other judges’ votes, to the semi-finals. My team of crack investigators is on vacation this week, so if I have messed any of this up, I alone bear responsibility. One such contestant was Mandy Harvey who went completely deaf at age 18 due to a rare connective tissue syndrome called Ehlers-Danlos. She sang a song she wrote called “Try” and eventually placed fourth in the finals, which is an accomplishment for someone who stands barefooted to feel the beat, uses faith in her ability to maintain proper pitch, and has put out four albums.

In order to inspire readers to appreciate, even more, living in the foothills, here is another bit of Scottish humor by comedian Billy Connolly:

“There are two seasons in Scotland: June and winter.”

Also, in an effort to inspire people to be truthful—and in this example I am being truthful—this joke rings so true for me, “Question: Why do (bag) pipers walk while they play? Answer: To get away from the noise.” This is the point where I can state that, for me personally, bagpipes annoy me. That said, as an instrument of war they definitely would be my weapon of choice.

I hope that readers can find many things in the coming year that inspire them and give them hope. After the beating most of us have taken in the past year, we need hope and inspiration. And if wishing is something that works, I wish all the citizens of the Mother Lode, as well as the nation and the world, a most peaceful, healthy and hopeful new year.

Kevin Wychopen is a semi-retired school counselor and columnist for the Enterprise. Contact him at itsabigworld@live.com.

Kevin Wychopen is a semi-retired school counselor and weekly columnist for the Enterprise. Contact him at itsabigworld@live.com.


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