Down the Rabbit Hole
I am sitting down at my laptop at home on a frigid February evening to craft something uplifting and cozy for my March issue column. The fireplace is blazing but my office is drafty and it’s distracting me from being creative, an especially difficult task since the last few months have been spent not doing a whole lot of anything fun. I want to tell you how cold it is as I write, but I think “cold” is trite, so I Google its synonyms. But what pops up is the definition of cold … a “viral upper respiratory infection.” Shudder. Not that.
So, I modify cold with “outside” and I get versions of the Christmastime song that has taken on new meaning in the era of #MeToo. My Google list declares Time says “Baby, It’s Cold Outside was always controversial.” Was it?
I try “freezing,” and lo, it turns out Freezing is a Japanese manga written by Dall-Young Lim and illustrated by Kwang-Hyun Kim. I don’t know what a “manga” is but it’s hyperlinked in the entry and I click to see that it is a type of Japanese comic or graphic novel. The colors and letters dance off the pages, so I look at a list of the most popular ones, a list that I can sort by genre. The thrillers look fascinating and I click on the first one, called Case Closed, about the murder of a tabloid publisher. They sell it at Barnes & Noble and I realize I haven’t bought a book in a while, so I click on that site. The highlighted feature is The Snowy Day, by Ezra Jack Keats, for $10 off. It’s a book that Mister Rogers introduced me to on his TV show when I was young and I, in turn, read it frequently on nights like this to my son when he was a baby, nearly 20 years ago. I mean, l like to think Mister Rogers introduced it to just me, but I assume he had a few other viewers those years. I wonder how many. Turns out, YouGov says it’s the 10th most popular TV show of all time.
And now I have wasted nearly 30 minutes and haven’t even started my March column.
But wait. I encircled the whole trip down the rabbit hole. This issue features Katie Wagner’s story  on how St. Clair Hospital, Mt. Lebanon’s largest employer, handled the COVID pandemic (a viral respiratory infection). Elaine Wertheim’s “outside” piece  gives us ideas for fairytale backyard settings perfect for sipping another drink with a special person even if their “hands are just like ice.” And in the wake of a large number of candidates on the ballot, Merle Jantz explains  our local judicial system and which court does what. Case closed.