By April 4, 2020

Notes From a Non-essential Worker

OVER THE PRICKETT FENCE

By Chris Prickett — I come from a long line of cockroaches, and I’m damn proud of it. Josiah Prickett sailed from England to the New World sometime prior to 1654 and settled on the banks of the Delaware River in South Jersey. And we never left. Wars, floods, and yes, pandemics, have been no match for the genetically average, but somehow hearty, Prickett gene.

What’s more amazing: There have been zero Pricketts of great renown in the 366-some-odd years we’ve inhabited this great country. No war heroes, no captains of industry, no great artists. No great politicians either, though they’re generally a much inferior breed of cockroaches. 

My ancestors were “non-essential workers” way before it was a thing.

About the only great claim to my family crest is that my cousin supplies all the baseball rubbing mud for Major League Baseball. He mines it from a secret location on the banks of, you guessed it, the Delaware River, in South Jersey. Unfortunately, that’s on mom’s side. Reunions can get intense when the highfalutin mud people show up.

So what am I doing during the Great Shut-In of 2020? I’m doing what Pricketts do best: I’m surviving. I’m planting a garden because that’s never a bad idea. I’m banging out projects around the house like there’s no tomorrow, though I’m sure there will be. I’m trying to appreciate my family more (I said “trying”!), and I’m also trying to be super nice to anyone with whom I come into socially acceptable contact. 

I’ve been much more active, and eating less, so I’ve lost a nice chunk of weight. The weight loss might be stress-related but, hey, I’ll take it! I also started remodeling my bathroom right before all the restrictions took effect, but we don’t need to get into that nightmare.

I’m fortunate enough to be able to hunker down with my loved ones, as I’m not considered essential. I’m really not sure if that designation is due to my job description or my ancestry, but I’m sure the authorities know best.

(NOTE: This story is 100 percent true, with one exception. My uncle Wilson Prickett went from running a Woolworth’s in Oklahoma to leading a landing craft on the shores of Omaha Beach on D-Day. He made not one, but two trips across the beach, under heavy fire, to retrieve ammunition. A survivor for sure, and a true American hero.)

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