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Arianne Brown: How being 'cool before it was cool' saved us from a family argument

By Arianne Brown, Contributor | Posted - Jun. 26, 2020 at 3:00 p.m.

SALT LAKE CITY — It was a normal Sunday afternoon dinner at the in-laws' house.

And, as is customary when you get people together during an election year that just so happens to coincide with a global pandemic, the conversation turned political.

Without getting into specifics as to who and what started the spark that seemed headed into an eventual flame-filled fire, I will let you know who dropped the retardant on the embers to quench the blaze: It was my mild-mannered husband with his dry sense of humor.

"I was social distancing before it was cool," he said with a smirk.

What my husband said was not original, but truer words were never spoken. For as long as I have known my husband, he has avoided crowds. We have driven to movie theaters and restaurants only to turn back home because there were too many people there. Heck, if we go to church to find that there isn’t an entire pew available, guess whose family is sitting in the foyer? And, as much as my husband loves to mountain bike, you won’t see him near a trail on a day that begins with the letter F or S.

He is an introvert, and he wears it well and apparently quite proudly.

My husband’s comment, however, was met by one from his mother that also rang true.

"I was washing my hands before it was cool," she quickly remarked.

This, we all nodded at because to this day, I have still never seen a home tidier than hers — and someone who keeps such immaculate care of a home is bound to have very clean hands. Let's just say that I’d probably eat a hot dog that she handed me with her bare hands that had just dropped on the kitchen or living room floor (although she would never dream of doing that).

As I sat there listening to my husband and mother-in-law talk about how cool they were even before the pandemic hit, I of course had to toot my own horn.

"I was keeping my kids home from school when they were sick before it was cool," I said.

This is a million times true; just ask the attendance clerk at my kids’ school whom I had on speed dial and who knew me not just by name, but by voice. Because, I kid you not, despite what I thought were healthy children with impeccable immune systems and vaccines to boot, it seemed each time I sent my kids to school last year, it was only a matter of days before they came home sick.

Thankfully the politically charged conversation did not reach its fiery peak. But the takeaways of how we were cool before our times are still worth noting:

  1. Being socially distant may not be second nature to you like it is to my "cool" husband, but when germs are running rampant it’s probably a good thing to do until those germs are no longer a major threat.
  2. Clean hands are a must always, regardless of how cool you think you are.
  3. If you or your family members are sick, or if you were knowingly exposed to a germ (any germ, really) that could cause another to be miserable, stay away from people if possible. If you need to go out, cover your mouth with some sort of covering. Because even the most articulate of talkers experience the uncontrolled gleek from time-to-time or embarrassing "say it don’t spray it moment" that they wish they could take back, and we can’t all be ventriloquists. Believe me, I’ve tried. Oh, and coughing and sneezing are involuntary things that happen to the best of us when we least expect it. And try as we might to keep it in, spittle eventually finds its way out.

What are some things you were doing before they were "cool?" Let us know in the comments.

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About the Author: Arianne Brown

Arianne Brown is a mother of nine children who has found her voice in the written word. For more of her writings, follow her Facebook page "A Mother's Write" or on Instagram @ariannebrown.

Arianne Brown

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