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7 minute read

What brings tears to your

I figured, I’ve got this coronavirus thing handled — no problem. Tell me I’ve got to spend some weeks at home and I’ll enjoy myself.

First, my wife and I will have time to enjoy a nice late dinner out, something we don’t do nearly often enough. It’ll be like a date night for us.

But wait, they closed the restaurants and taverns.

OK, I thought to myself. This is the perfect opportunity to go deep on some books in the library, put a binge readfest together for myself.

Then they closed the library. OK, I thought to myself. Instead of improving my mind, I’ll improve my body and set up a daily schedule at our local gym. I’ll be buff as a Greek god by summer.

So they closed the gym — while we were there for its last hour of operation. I’ve closed some bars in my flaming youth, but I’ve never closed a gym.

“How about a movie?” my wife suggested.

Of course the movie theaters were closed.

“Wait a minute,” she said, “Hello, Dolly!” is coming up soon. We have tickets!”

That sounded great…but within hours, the theater canceled the production.

Goodbye, Dolly. “I have a great idea,” I told my wife. “Let’s go to a school board

‘In so many ways, the shape of this worldwide coronavirus tragedy gives some of us a chance we’ve never had to slow down and take on things that we left on the sidelines long ago.’

meeting! We can show our civic pride! We can see what’s going on in our grandchildren’s schools in two school districts! We’ll social-distance ourselves from all the other two or three parents who will be there!”

Then the school boards decided to have their meetings by live stream, with no members of the public allowed. We coped, but watching a school board meeting on a computer with a beer and some popcorn is really a weird experience.

“What can we do to pass the time?” my wife asked.

I looked at her in that old certain way and my eyebrows danced an encouraging and flirty dance on my face.

“You can forget that,” she said. “I’ll make you a to-do list…a long to-do list.”

So much for dreams of conjugal bliss.

“Maybe we can snoop around and find out where the black market for toilet paper is,” I suggested. My wife just looked at me. “We could rake up all the rest of the leaves in the yard and put them in big bags and sell them, just in case toilet paper disappears completely,” I suggested.

My wife went back to reading her book.

I decided to watch some movies and because it’s Lent, I decided “The Ten Commandments” would be a good choice…and it was until I got to the part where the Destroyer comes like a green fog in the night for the first-born of Egypt.

That’s when it hit me — that’s what this coronavirus is: a secret, scary, silent, sinister and slithery thing that is lurking in the dark to capture us. Some won’t know they’ve acquired it. Some won’t survive acquiring it. And lamb’s blood on our doors won’t do much good this time around.

So after some thought, my wife and I have settled on some things about these days of our lives. • First, we’re going to take walks and enjoy our village and perhaps a stray neighbor or two we meet on the way. We’re going to watch spring bloom. For once in my life, I’m enthusiastic about cutting the grass and spending some time in the garden (doing what, I have no idea). • Second, and we talked about this when we took a ride in the car today — we’re going to enjoy studying and learning again. I’m a retired nurse, but I’m going to take a refresher course on infection control. I’m a retired biology teacher, and I want to get ahead of where my grandkids will be in the fall when they take their living environment course. I have a binocular microscope, and I’m going to study some flora and fauna. I’m going to spend some afternoons with a libretto in my hand listening to opera.

• Third, we’re going to reconnect with friends on Facebook and through emails and letters. We know the time we spend putting those notes together will be appreciated and returned. • Fourth, we’re going to move ahead. We’ll fill out the census form and check our voter registration. I’ll throw out old white T-shirts and worn out but oh-so-comfortable sweatshirts and sandals. I will actually read the owner’s manual for my car.

In so many ways, the shape of this worldwide coronavirus tragedy gives some of us a chance we’ve never had to slow down and take on things that we left on the sidelines long ago. In the midst of their terror, the Italians found passionate music to express their spirit.

As Upstate New Yorkers, we will do no less.

John Addyman writes the column “Addyman’s Corner,” which is published in 55 PLUS magazine (roc55.com).

Beware of Coronavirus Scams

By Jim Miller

Unfortunately, coronavirus scams are spreading nearly as fast as the virus itself, and seniors are often the most vulnerable. These con artists are setting up websites to sell bogus products, and using spoofed phone calls, emails, texts and social media posts as a ruse to take your money and get your personal information.

The emails and posts may be promoting awareness and prevention tips, and fake information about cases in your community. They also may be asking you to donate to victims, offering advice on unproven treatments, or contain malicious email attachments.

Here are some tips to help you keep the scammers at bay.

• Click carefully: Don’t click on coronavirus-related links from sources you don’t know in an email or text message. The same goes for unfamiliar websites. When you click on an email or download a file, you could get a program on your computer that could either use your computer’s internet connection to spread malware or dig into your personal files looking for passwords and other information.

• Ignore bogus product offers: Ignore online offers for coronavirus vaccinations or miracle cures. There are currently no vaccines, pills, potions, lotions, lozenges, or over-thecounter products available to treat or cure coronavirus online or in stores. If you see or receive ads touting prevention, treatment, or cure claims for the coronavirus, ignore them because they’re not legitimate.

• Beware of CDC spoofing: Be wary of emails, text messages or phone calls claiming to come from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and/or the World Health Organization (WHO). These scams could take several forms – such as fake health agency warnings about infections in your local area, vaccine and treatment offers, medical test results, health insurance cancellation, alerts about critical supply shortages, and more.

For the most up-to-date information about the coronavirus, visit CDC.gov/coronavirus.

• Beware of fundraising scams: Be wary of emails or phone calls asking you to donate to a charity or crowdfunding campaign for coronavirus victims or for disease research. To verify a charity’s legitimacy use CharityNavigator.org. But, if you’re asked for donations in cash, by prepaid credit card or gift card, or by wiring money, don’t do it because it’s probably a scam. • Beware of stock scams: The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is warning people about phone calls and online promotions, including on social media, touting stocks of companies with products that supposedly can prevent, detect or cure coronavirus. Buy those stocks now, they say, and they will soar in price.

But the con artists have already bought the stocks, which typically sell for a dollar or less. As the hype grows and the stock price increases, the con men dump the stock, saddling other investors with big losses. It’s a classic penny-stock fraud called “pump and dump.” Making matters worse: you may not be able to sell your shares if trading is suspended.

When investing in any company, including companies that claim to focus on coronavirus-related products and services, carefully research the investment and keep in mind that investment scam artists often exploit the latest crisis to line their own pockets.

For more tips on how to avoid getting swindled, see the Federal Communications Commission COVID-19 consumer warning and safety tips at FCC.gov/covidscams.

Jim Miller is the author of Savvy Senior column, published every issue in In Good Health.