Opinion: Confronting unknowns


As most of us now find ourselves with considerably more time at home these days, many turn to streaming services and television for a bit of escape from the rapidly changing and evolving circumstance in the real world. Still, it can be hard to find a bit of humor that isn’t downright dumb. Most sitcoms insult our intellect as entertainment elites underestimate the intelligence of the standard American. But a precious few bring laughs without making us feel guilty for watching. 

CBS’s now-concluded “The Big Bang Theory” is often regarded as one such program. In its tight 30-minute runtime, it tells the fictional story of Sheldon Cooper, a stereotypical genius without much common sense. Cooper grew up in Galveston, Texas, and while the show never specifies, it is widely assumed that he suffers from Asperger syndrome and OCD. But because of his odd charm, he has managed to surround himself with a cohesive band of close friends and family. He lives in a distinctly restrained way, preferring the familiar to the new and often repeats the favorite songs and aphorisms of his loving, if a bit odd in her own right, mother. 

With all his impressive strengths and countless near-debilitating weaknesses, Cooper manages to prod himself along in life. “If ifs and buts were candies and nuts, then we’d all have a Merry Christmas” he chides his friends if they aren’t able to move along or decide. Even in urging their action, he often finds the strength to take his own steps. 

In our own real lives of considerable tumult, the saliency of this childlike admonition rings a clarion call. Is the world returning to “normal” quickly? Are we going to survive unscathed? Who knows? However, we can manage how we confront it – no ifs, ands or buts.