Lots of questions these days, aren’t there? And not just about leadership in Washington, D.C. Nor how many family members and guests can safely gather to give thanks. (Do you suppose there will be more two-pound Cornish hens than 20-pound tom turkeys sold for the feast this year?) It might even be safe to say the unknown has never been more unknown.

Perhaps you’re pondering such queries as these:

Are any or all of the competing vaccines we’ve been hearing about going to work? Certainly, a lot of the public treasury has been invested in quickly producing something ... anything ... that’s going to combat the cause of the pandemic. Who’s going to be first to step up and offer an arm?

Will we ever again shake hands? It’s a tradition that goes back hundreds and perhaps even thousands of years. Extensive research indicates it was a gesture of peace and goodwill. A handshake made it clear that neither person was carrying a weapon. And a vigorous shake was meant to dislodge any hidden knives or other objects that could do one harm. Unfortunately, you can’t shake off any coronavirus germs quite that easily. Fist and elbow bumps are becoming more standard, but perhaps those will migrate toward a finger point accompanied by a hearty, “Yo. How you doin’?”

What will the future restaurant industry look like? Or movie theaters? Or bowling alleys, for that matter? Will food be served through a slot in a plexiglass booth? To catch the latest flick, will you have to sit 6 feet away from your neighbor? (Pretty lousy date night.) Maybe keglers could erect partitions between lanes. At least near the ball return slot.

Will college football be able to crown a champion this year? It seems teams have to play a certain number of games in order to be eligible for the playoff series. But with myriad cancellations, is that going to be possible? What if several of the top teams in the country don’t meet the minimum? Does that leave the door open for a mediocre team or even for a Division III school getting invited to play on the main stage? Those smaller institutions are much more accustomed to playing before minimal crowds than the SEC and Big Ten universities.

Here’s a puzzler for you: What has China done to make sure there’s not another one of these bugs lurking in a wet market? Don’t ask if this can get any worse. Yes, it can.

And has it occurred to anyone else that perhaps one of the few major employers in the country that hasn’t asked employees to take a pay cut is Congress? Who thinks it would be a good idea for Senators and Representatives to receive 30% less in salary for the next year and reduce their staffs by at least 25%? Actually, I’m relatively certain every federal department could get by with a few less dollars. The rest of America is doing it, so why can’t they?

On the home front, why does it take two months to hold a runoff election in Georgia? We already know the candidates. Each one has told us how absolutely rotten the opposition is. Why spend countless millions of dollars to tear each other down even more? Let’s hold the vote tomorrow. At least that way we can keep all those carpetbaggers from inundating the Peach State just to vote. And we can get back to the Gecko and Flo pitching insurance on TV instead of a constant barrage of political bovine-derived generic fertilizer.

What is the new norm going to look like once it’s finally here? Will face coverings be a planned accessory for every outfit? Will every new blouse and shirt purchased come with a coordinated mask? What happens to the make-up and shaving industries? Ladies, are any of you going to bother with lipstick, foundation, powder, et al when half your face will be hidden? Guys, are you liking the scruffy look underneath that cloth shield strapped around you?

Perhaps most importantly, is Santa going virtual this year? Will he still show up at the mall for kids to make requests? Are Santa’s elves wearing masks at the North Pole? Has the toy factory had any COVID outbreaks? Santa’s definitely in the “more susceptible” demographic. What extra precautions will he be taking on his journey this year? Would he prefer cookies or a face gaiter left on the hearth for him?

If someone has the answers to any or all of these questions, please tell the rest of us. It would be nice to know that the light at the end of this tunnel isn’t an oncoming train.

Bill Lewis is a freelance writer in Marietta. See more of his work at www.wordsmith-at-large.com.

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