COVID-Induced Groundhog Day by Ben Jones


Industry veteran Ben Jones has shared more thoughts on the coronavirus pandemic, drawing parallels between the modern life we find ourselves temporarily living and the movie Groundhog Day. Read what he had to say:

I live in Michigan, and like many people right now, my home is my office, the gym, the movie theatre, a restaurant, a learning lab and entertainment center. My space is very comfortable and as a sole practitioner, freelancer and even remote contractor, I have officed in my home for more than 20 years. I am comfortable here. I have rituals and routines. Yet being in my office, in my home, today feels vastly different as I observe self-isolation and distancing. For me, days seem to run together. They feel quieter, more predictable and vanilla as if I’m living a 2020 sequel to Harold Ramis’ classic Groundhog Day.

In the 1993 dark comedy Groundhog Day (GD), an egocentric weatherman, played by Bill Murray, repeats the same day over and over again until he convinces a lovely lady, Andie MacDowell, to fall in love with him. When she finally does, it breaks the same-old, same-old, groundhog-day “curse.” COVID and curse, one in the same?

There has been a lot written over the past 27 years about the film and many life-lesson parallels. Here is my take from everyday life comparisons between the movie and living what could be described as a COVID-19-induced Groundhog Day.

Cause and effect: Overall, GD is about how, to a great extent, we are defined by how we treat others and the effect we have on mankind. Right now, helping and caring for others –– and doing our part to participate in social distancing and self-quarantine –– defines us in this time of crisis.

Never stop and never give up: In GD, Bill Murray’s character tries to end life and give up. Rarely does either choice end well. To a varying degree with the coronavirus, we’ve all been dealt a crappy hand and no matter our situation, it is up to us to be positive, keep moving forward and find ways to learn and cope. Don’t stop!

The only way out is in:  When we find ourselves in a situation that we don’t like, don’t understand, feels threatening or has no apparent end, we’ll only get out of the situation when we get into it. Accept, learn, work through the fear and deal with the threats. Like Murray, we must face life. The way out is IN. Get into it.

Relationships matter and we need connections in life: Tell people close to you that they are important. Place your focus on family, friends, neighbors, loved ones and strangers. “Ask, how may I help?” Murray’s character in the film pushes people away and loves no one, and it’s not until he is trapped (think quarantined) in Punxsutawney does he realize sharing life is better than being alone. We are better together and so is humanity.

Use time to your advantage: In my life, I have been betrayed, dumped, used and found myself with more idle time than I wanted. If you’re finding that your mind is not being exercised and your days not filled right now, then this is time that could be turned around for opportunity. Follow Murray’s example in the movie: learn piano or a second language, write that book or finally train the dog!

Don’t put faith in a groundhog: The contagion we’re facing isn’t going away because a cute, furry animal appears (or a world leader declares a random calendar date in time by when we all get to move onto a new day). What will get us through this crisis is science, first responders, technicians, biochemists and everyone’s sacrifice. We must all work for what we want throughout this time and should all be asking ourselves and each other: “What are you willing to give up in order to get something you want or need?” I want to move in the direction of post-COVID-crisis and on to the new normal as soon as possible. To do this, we must follow the world’s lead with isolation and distance as our best options right now to move humanity in a healthy and sustainable direction. More simply put: STAY HOME! (See above: The only way out is in!)

While these are just my opinions sparked by a classic comedy, I hope these thoughts help you find both inspiration and a positive way forward. These are immensely challenging times, but we will get through this. And again, the sooner we abide by the distancing guidelines, the sooner we can return to our full lives.

Thank you for reading,

Ben Jones


Comments are closed.