Tuesday, November 24, 2020

The death of Black Friday

I JUST GOT DONE reading several articles about the death of Black Friday. Having a cattle call sale and packing shoppers into an enclosed space while fighting over cheap merchandise just isn't going to happen this year.

Thank God.

Black Friday is the very worst of us all. I only went once, 21 years ago, to do a story for The Whig. It scarred me for life. How anybody could enjoy the claustrophobic crush of saving a couple of dollars over a home electronics item that will be on sale for the same price in January is beyond me.

At Second String Music, we will open as usual Friday morning and have our usual prices on our awesome, Fender, Gretsch, Takamine, Jackson and Alvarez guitars. We have lots of eye-catching ukuleles. We have stocking stuffers for your favorite musician. It will be unhurried and easy. We are requiring masks and keeping the number of people in the store within required limits. But - we are open and we'd love to see you!

Our Special through Christmas Eve is as follows: Buy a guitar and get a free Ernie Ball guitar strap and 4 free Dunlop picks. We have some great starter guitars in stock and pretty color guitars for those that want that. All are new and have been setup for immediate play.

One of the things the big box retailers are stressing is online shopping. That's fine, and far safer than going out, but it's not always best. Remember that your small local businesses need you more than ever during a very trying time.

Let's hope we all get through the holidays safely and with our sanity still intact. We'll make it easy on you here at Fifth and Maine!

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Rapid testing works

SHERYL DECIDED TO use the Adams County rapid Covid testing facility this morning. It opened Monday to a huge response. From the time she left the house, went to the facility at 33rd and Broadway (enter on 33rd), got tested and got home, about 45 minutes passed. 15 minutes later her phone rang and a county representative gave her the negative result, thank God. The whole thing was painless and free. Yup. FREE. 

Sheryl was pretty sure she didn't have COVID, but she's dealing with her usual seasonal allergies and it had been a full 14 days since I came down with it so she just wanted to be sure. Several hundred people have tested positive using the facility, and I'm going to guess most had no clue they had COVID. 

That's the insidious nature of the virus - it can smack the shit out of you like it did me for two days, it can put you in the hospital and even kill you, or you can not even know you have it. The majority of people who do get it are fine, but quarantining to stop the spread is crucial.

More testing not only makes sure we find cases and stop the spread, it also gives us a more accurate infection rate than the general 7 day floating average. In a week we will know exactly where our infection numbers are and will have more people quarantining to put a halt to the spread of COVID in Adams county. This is public health and safety at it best. Work with the system to keep us all safer.

If you live in Adams County and are on the fence about getting tested, just do it. It won't take long. It won't cost you a dime. The test is non invasive (it's just nostril swabs, not the brain poke like we had to endure two weeks ago). 

The news about potential vaccines has been encouraging, too. We are in the darkest hours of this pandemic, but there is some light ahead. Stay safe, wear a mask, don't let your guard down, and maybe sooner than later we'll be in the clear.

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

No Store Party

FOR THE FIRST time since we opened Second String Music nearly 10 years ago, we are not having the annual Saturday Before Thanksgiving Store Party.

We'd always gather and have more fun than should be allowed, with a jam session, a big toast to our late friend Pat Cornwell, and a lot of laughing and celebrating. But having more than a few people in the store at one time isn't a good idea - Quincy has declared a State of Emergency and the COVID infection rates are spiraling out of control in this country.

It's still OK to remember Pat. Have a toast on your own if you knew him. We'd usually do it around 6 p.m. with some nasty cough syrup, also known as Southern Comfort. Watch out, it's potent.

Thanksgiving and Christmas take on different meanings during 2020. By not gathering this year we are ensuring that most people will be here to celebrate next year.

I'm just glad to be out of quarantine and feeling a lot better. We've resumed guitar lessons this week and we've had some good sales days recently. 

Be safe out there.

Tuesday, November 10, 2020

You Don't Want This

WE ARE ALL tired of hearing about Covid-19. We are tired of reading about it. We are tired of seeing the startling statistics - yesterday in Adams County we had 117 reported cases and the positivity rate is creeping up to a staggering 20 percent.

We are all tired. 

But .....

Don't let your guard down. Don't go into the grocery store without a mask just one time. Don't forget to wash your hands after handling money or touching something you don't normally handle. Don't say "Screw it, I'm going to the bar and hanging with my homies " and breathe on people.

Why? Because I'm hear to tell you getting Covid-19 is no fun.

You. Don't. Want. COVID.

I'll spare you the details. Let's just say I think I was a little lax just once. And I very likely got it because of that one lax moment.

That's what is really pissing me off - we've worn masks, washed our hands, tried to stay socially distant, tried to be as careful as possible.

But I still got it. And you don't want to deal with it.

Sheryl didn't get it. She didn't get it because she doesn't let her guard down. She wears her mask. She washes her hands all the time. She won't let anybody in the store without a mask. She walks the walk and doesn't apologize for it. 

We've both stopped caring a long time ago about pissing off non-maskers and hoax believers that try to come into the store.

You. Don't. Want. This. 

Here's the list again - wear a mask, wash your hands often, stay more than 6 feet away from people, stay home if you are sick and don't let your guard down. It is more than we are used to but enough to keep you healthy.

I'm in quarantine until Saturday. The one thing we don't talk about is the mental toll COVID takes. I haven't had a face to face conversation with a living human being in a week. I've barely slept worrying about possibly infecting others. Fortunately Sheryl is taking care of bidness in the store and getting me groceries. Fortunately none of my guitar students have caught it. Giving lessons 8 feet apart and wearing masks has yet again saved us.

If you are tired of being tired of hearing about COVID, here's one last bit of advice.

Don't get it. You can decide, and your behavior and choices matter.

Monday, November 2, 2020

Horns and Trumpets

THE TRUMPETS IN town decided to have a vehicle parade Saturday morning. They came up Maine Street honking their horns, driving people mad with obnoxious noise. There were a lot of pickup trucks with flags, a lot of revving of engines, and a lot of middle fingers sticking out of windows. It was classy for sure..

One of the flags had the slogan "No More Bullshit." Finally, something we can all agree on! When he came back again, and again, and again, the flag had wrapped around the pole sticking out of the pickup truck bed and you couldn't see it. 

Look - I don't care who you like. Just don't honk obnoxiously, especially at 5th & Maine. Maine Street between Fifth and Sixth has tall buildings where the sound reverberates and amplifys. The horns were deafening at times, much to the delight of the Trumpets and much to the dismay of the people who live and work in the area.

The parade did nothing to sway anybody's vote - it may have deepened the resolve of the other side, and also motivated some from the opposing side to remember to vote on Tuesday. That's a win no matter how you think. Everyone should find time to vote this year.

They kept circling Washington Park and coming back. Suddenly two young people appeared on the southeast corner of Fifth and Maine with a sign that said "Honk 4 BLM." It certainly got quieter at the corner, and there were a lot of angry and confused looks from Trumpets as they drove by for the 10th time.

There was nearly a crash at the intersection when a vehicle stopped and the driver started yelling at the two young people. The vehicle almost got rear-ended by a large semi. The two young people came out into the street waving their sign and it nearly got very ugly. It wasn't a smart thing to do and they were lucky they weren't run over. They moved back to the sidewalk and I simply walked out and told them to please be careful. They stayed for about an hour. Happy to get some peace and quiet in the midst of all the buffoonery.

Others reported dangerous traffic on Broadway too. It was a clown car parade for sure.

Jump up and down all you want. It makes no difference, none. I made my noise by voting early and I suggest you vote, too. That's the biggest statement you can make, and it doesn't involve wasting gas or obnoxious honking. Tuesday can't come and go fast enough.