Don’t tell me what to do


We humans are complex creatures. We want what we want, we want to do what we want to do, and we resist anything to the contrary.

One of my grandchildren came stomping into the house, angry because her cousins weren’t playing the way she wanted them to. She said, “I’m just going to sit here, and I’m not playing with them at all!”

“Good idea! Just sit there,” I agreed.

“I don’t want to,” she cried. “I want to go play with my cousins!”

I have just entered the Twilight Zone, I thought, as I listened to her new protests.

Generally speaking, we’re all for doing what we want to do, until someone tells us to do it.

How many times have you sat at work thinking, “I really want to be at home?” Suddenly, when conditions dictate that we must be home, we want to be almost anywhere but at home.

When we are so busy we can’t keep up, we long for a break. When we are idle, we go stir-crazy.

During my sophomore year in high school I became disenchanted with all the classroom work and opted to be a clown (imagine that). Mr. Hines promised that if I would just allow others who wanted to learn to work without being disturbed by my antics, he wouldn’t ask me to work and pass me with a barely passing grade. I suddenly didn’t want to be a slacker and became a fairly acceptable student (after the embarrassment of it all).

Many have been the domestic quarrel from which you could hear one of the parties exclaim, “Don’t tell me what to do!”

Just a few observations from changes brought on by the current Covid-19 emergency. Those who wished for down time at home without being bothered by anyone suffer from cabin fever quite early during self-quarantine.

Those of us who complain about the crazy traffic in our town normally find seldom traveled streets a little eerie.

We who took toilet paper for granted, now have a new appreciation for that rare commodity.

Many who often complain that they eat too many meals in restaurants have found they don’t really care for their own cooking.

Folks who wouldn’t eat pig’s feet on a dare now have found many recipes that make them quite tasty since those are the only items to be found in the meat case at the local grocer.

Many families have learned the answer to the question, “How many place settings does it take to seat your family around the dinner table each day?” Many more of us are dining with our family rather than going off in different directions.

A lot of people who couldn’t tell you who their state governor is now know everything about them as we live for daily updates on the television and radio.

Many who never knew their neighbors now do because they have inquired about one another’s well-being.

We all have learned new terminology (which makes us more interesting human beings) like “social distancing” and its meaning.

We have learned how to properly wash our hands and slow the spread of germs and consequentially disease.

We now know how many people live in our homes and what their names are when we are asked.

We have learned so much in a short time. Some of which we didn’t want to know, and some of which we never dreamed we needed to know.

Rest assured, we will come through all of this, and we will be a better species for it. We will have learned so much about one another, and perhaps most importantly, about ourselves. American’s are resilient. We will emerge smarter, healthier and eager to get back to work. At least for a little while, as long as no one tells us we have to.

Herb Day is a longtime local radio personality and singer-musician. You can email him at [email protected] and follow his work at and

Herb Day Contributing columnist Day Contributing columnist

No posts to display