It’s normal these days to applaud the return to normality. But I’m going to miss some of the abnormal stuff we’ve been doing during the pandemic. The Top 10 things I hate to lose:

10 — Home haircuts. For a year my wife, Amy, has been cutting my hair, but now that we’re both vaccinated she’s making unsubtle suggestions that it’s time for me to go back to Al, whose shop is a 30 minute round trip from our house. Al is a nice guy who keeps me waiting, talks too much, and often nicks my ear. For this I pay $25 plus a $10 tip.

9 — Quiet ball games. I loved last year’s fan-free games on television. I could have done without the cardboard cutouts but nothing beats watching a TV game without incessant cutaways to rowdy fans.

8 — No-contact takeout. Isn’t it amazing how quickly restaurateurs arranged hassle-free takeout when they had to? You order online, pay in advance, and pop your trunk for the food without saying a word. Why would we ever want to give that up?

7 — Zooming. Sure, some business meetings work better when participants are all in the same room. But with Zoom, no commuting, no waiting, no schmoozing. No shoes? No problem.

6 — Excuses. There will never be a better excuse than the pandemic. “Sorry, I can’t come over to see how well your herb garden is doing.” “No, I can’t go shopping for patio furniture.” “Alas, I can’t schedule that colonoscopy right now.”

5 — Sweatpants. The last time I bothered with zippered pants was March 6, 2020.

4 — No traffic. If by chance you had to drive somewhere during sheltering, what a breeze it was! To my utter astonishment, a two-hour drive to San Francisco during the pandemic took ... two hours.

3 — Grazing. When you’re cloistered at home, three meals a day can easily become five or six. Nothing takes your mind off not having anything to do like a second lunch, and a third Bloody Mary.

2 — Amazon. The Bezos behemoth isn’t going away, but during the pandemic it was a lifeline to everything from electronics to groceries to overpriced toilet paper.

1 — Masks. OK, masks are a nuisance and, for some, a political distraction. But many of us enjoyed hiding some emotion behind a mask. No smiles. No frowns. And, when my dentist told me I needed a new tooth I worried about having a gaping hole for a few weeks. “No one will ever know,” he said. “Just wear a mask.”

I hope whatever the next normal is like, it retains some of what we came to enjoy during the recent normal.


After 15 years hosting the TV series “Candid Camera,” Peter Funt writes frequent op-eds for The Boston Globe and The Wall Street Journal. His new book, “Self Amused,” will be published this summer.


After 15 years hosting the landmark TV series “Candid Camera,” Peter Funt writes frequent op-eds for The Boston Globe and The Wall Street Journal. His new book, “Self Amused,” will be published this summer.

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