The past 14 months or so have been an ordeal, and as a result, the whole world is perpetually offended, constantly bickering, and endlessly griping and moaning. We desperately need respite. We urgently require relief. So, here’s what I propose: International Take A Deep Breath Day.

Here’s how it’d work:

Everyone but truly essential workers would have a paid day off. (And when I say essential, I do not mean the service industries. I know you want to go out and mindlessly consume, but you’ve got the rest of your life for that. International Take A Deep Breath Day is for sitting quietly.) Only fire, police and emergency medical people would work, and for their sacrifice, they’d be paid at least triple time and a-half, with a later paid day off at their choosing.

No one would be allowed to go anywhere. I know you want to gather, but that’d involve the stress of planning and such, and this is to be a total day of rest. Hence, if you’re caught driving your car for any purpose other than an emergency, you would be immediately taken back home, and your car would be impounded for the rest of the day. Furthermore, anyone convicted of a crime on this day would be subject to a triple sentence.

You would be allowed to exercise, only so long as no one else had to work for you to do it. In other words, you could run, walk, ride a bike, etc., but gyms would be closed.

Also, the Internet would be closed down for a full 24 hours. I know the mere prospect of going a whole day without cat videos, snarky political opinions and social media is enough to give some the shakes, but we got along fine before the Internet. Twenty-four hours without all the meaningless, mindless noise would be good for us.

Cable news would only be allowed to run stories about people getting along, and doing nice things for each other, and streaming services, cable companies and broadcasters would only be allowed to show reruns of “The Andy Griffith Show,” “The Carol Burnett Show,” or “Leave it to Beaver.” No dark stories, no dystopian visions, no shootings, killings, zombies, or other ne’er do wells would be allowed. International Take A Deep Breath Day would be a day of goodness.

So, where did I get this altogether wonderful idea? Well, about two weeks after 9/11, I found myself in the midst of a particularly odious blue funk. So, I shared my dilemma with a coworker who smiled and said, “Craig, you’ve spent the past few weeks watching nothing but those planes plowing into those buildings. That’s enough to get to anyone. You need a good dose of ‘Leave it to Beaver,’ or, ‘The Andy Griffith Show.’ Just some meaningless entertainment, to ease your stressed mind. So, when you get home, turn on your TV, flip through the channels, and don’t stop until you find something that makes you smile for no reason whatsoever.”

I took his advice, and I’ll be danged if I didn’t feel 100% better.

Hence, I sincerely believe the world at large needs a break from harsh reality. Only I don’t think Andy and the Beav are enough to relieve us of the blue funk that’s festered for the past 14 months. We need to shut the sucker down for a day. (Two to five days would be perfect, but the greedy and the terminally wound-tight would never have that, so let’s compromise on just one danged day of rest for the world.)

Then again, speaking of the greedy and terminally wound-tight, no doubt there’d be those who’d claim being forced to take a day off with pay is a violation of their rights, while others would take offense at not being allowed to shop for an entire day. Still others would claim going without the Internet could cause irreparable harm to the children. (What of the children?!) There’d be fistfights outside closed stores, malls and restaurants. Lawsuits would abound. There’d be arguments on cable news that this is nothing but socialist government control. People would take to the streets, chanting that they have a God-given right to gripe and moan, to be perpetually offended, and to be wound tighter than a three-dollar watch.

Oh, jeez! Never mind …

Craig Carter is an Ontario resident and can be reached in care of The Argus Observer, 1160 S.W. Fourth St., Ontario, OR 97914. The views and opinions expressed in this column do not necessarily represent those of the Argus Observer.

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