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Tom Hanks, Wilson, and Us

An overweight, workaholic who made time and money his priority, suddenly finds his life turned upside down. The lone survivor of a plane crash, he finds himself on a deserted island. Not knowing when he will be rescued, he has to make it on his own. His possessions are whatever he can salvage. The plush life he took for granted is gone, but he still has a strong human instinct to survive.     

Yeah, I’ve watched Cast Away with Tom Hanks one time too many, and yes, I cry every time he loses Wilson, but one thing I always take away from this movie is the universal message of the strength of the human spirit.  

We were happy, complacent citizens, filling our lives with minutiae, Facebook, and routine. A bad day for us was a day without cable, the latest political drama, or who did not make the cut on American Idol. We complained about our jobs, and when we didn’t get our way we flew into a snit. We interacted more with our electronics than with other human beings.  
Then came the storm and the plane crash and the isolated island.
Corralled by the coronavirus, the myriad of executive orders, and the closing of our favorite restaurants, our schools, and our jobs, we retreated to our islands. Our survival depended on what we could salvage, so we rushed out to buy toilet paper, hand sanitizers, staples, and eggs.  For health and financial reasons, we limited who could live with us. We put down our electronics long enough to reconnect and interact with each other. We shared what we knew, teaching each other the practical side of electronics and how to work together to make life on the island easier for everyone. We talked. We hugged and consoled each other. We helped each other keep fear at bay.  
Money was short but there was little to buy. Time was long, but everyone and everything else were distanced, so for the first time in a very long time, our attention turned from what to who was most important. We didn’t care if our hairdos and our eyebrows and our split ends flourished, because our courage and our fortitude grew also.
But as days became weeks and weeks turned into months, we realized we could not go on like this forever. We are human beings and we need other people. We need purpose and structure. It’s in our DNA. We missed our jobs and our schools. We missed fast food and walks on the beach. We missed shopping sprees and cookouts and birthday parties. We needed to return to the outside world. It wouldn’t be the same but then neither were we. We had found our courage, so we set off from the security of our islands, willing to face the odds.


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