Real is all so “yesterday”

The pandemic has left us with an opportunity. Virtual is the best of the real world but without the costs.

Last week I experienced three virtual trips:

Example 1. One night we jumped out of a helicopter at 18,000 feet over Chamonix in the French Alps wearing “flying squirrel suits”, better known as “Wingsuit base jumping” . We enjoyed the sights and sounds of screaming down the mountain canyons, brushing the side a granite cliff, skimming inches off the glacier ice at 120 mph. The flight took place on our living room widescreen. Next time we’ll add a fan for the wind-in-face feel reality. It was an adrenaline rush, without risk of becoming bug-splat on that granite cliff. 

Example 2. We were offered a trip on an African game drive with our private guide. We would be able to witness a cheetah up close plus the other four big game animals of that continent. The Zoom guide would explain the cheetah’s habits and answer all our questions. We could enjoy this excitement without the cost of flying to Africa or the risk Miss Cheetah was hungry. 

Example 3. My two musical cousins, one in Texas, one in Maine, played a socially distant trio with me, The Sound of Silence by Simon and Garfunkel. Not a bad performance for amateurs but to up our game, we sent our three I-phone recordings from three different states, to a “Mixer”. He scrubbed out the odd error, blended the video, and …Hey, Look at Us! We’re damn near-professional! At least good enough to submit to the family Zoom reunion this summer.

Flying the Alps, bird-man style, a game drive, or playing a trio are virtual experiences. The real thing would have had slightly more adrenaline, authentic smells, and feels, but with tremendous cost and risk. Even if we could handle the danger, the financial burden was prohibitive. 

Was pre-corona was great?

These are trivial examples of amusement. What of the dominant events in your daily life? Reality is alright if you can afford the cost, but is that what you want? The pandemic has answered that question.


The Boston Globe Bostonglobe.com7/16/20:   

“Providence St. Joseph’s Health scaled its telehealth visits from 70,000 annually to 70,000 weekly. Massachusetts General and Brigham and Women’s hospitals experienced an increase from 1,500 monthly telemedicine visits to 250,000.” Doctors and patients love it.


 Five thousand commercial jets every day are sitting on the ground, and probably 30 million automobiles sit in the garages as workers telecommute. (That’s the sound of silence).

Some of those cars, commuters, and travelers will not be back. Who needs stinking, bumper to bumper traffic jams, travel to the airport, taking off your belt/shoes, and security lines? Is face to face that good? It’s all so yesterday! Please don’t call it getting back to normal. It’s more like getting back to the dinosaurs, Middle Ages, or something ancient. Who wants that?


There must be a billion students who want and could benefit by attending Harvard, Oxford, or Tsinghua University. Sadly, only a few thousand are admitted each year in the real world. Losing this incredible pool of potential talent is like society going bug splat on a granite cliff. Accept all billion candidates! Virtual education would cost students little while bringing billions in income to academia.

It’s not hard. It is evolution

Of course, there will be problems and adjustments, but even now before we get that hoard of new Oxford graduates, we already have enough smarts to solve and adjust to this inevitable change.  

Nobody’s going back to the old world of smoking, hand-crank telephones, or stagecoaches. Embrace the virtual world a positive gift the pandemic brought us. A virtual world is better. 

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