An editorial by Mel Rothenburger.
WE HAVE A LOT OF THINGS to get frustrated over when it comes to how our governments have been communicating on the COVID-19 pandemic, but the ‘Self-care Bingo card’ isn’t one of them.
Somebody in the B.C. government’s communications department came up with the idea of the bingo card to help people think about the effects of the pandemic on mental health but it’s been going over like a sack of rocks.
Among the angry descriptions of the bingo card are tone deaf, condescending, patronizing and insensitive. Why is the card creating such a backlash? It’s stated purpose is to “help manage some stress & anxiety during #CovidBC.”
Among the squares that can be filled out are “exercised,” “had fun,” “went for a walk” or — the centre square — “Cried. Let it out.” The one gathering the most attention, though, is “Made a blanket fort.”
That seems especially silly, with many people responding that it’s been a long time since they made a blanket fort, and they’d rather get access to a good counsellor or have enough money to pay utility bills. Those sorts of things, they say, would contribute to their mental health during these tough times.
The government has quickly acknowledged that the bingo card may have missed the mark but, really, is it such a big deal?. Yes, the bingo card is somewhat whimsical but what’s wrong with that?
What’s wrong with having a bit of a chuckle at ourselves during these dark times once in awhile? The fact a well-intended attempt to do that has brought such condemnation is a sign of how much we’ve lost our sense of humour.
Some, of course, will answer that, “Well, this stuff isn’t funny. It’s serious.”
That’s true, people are suffering, but a year ago we were all willing to pitch in and happily get the job done. Too bad we couldn’t go back to more cheerful days.
Mel Rothenburger is a former mayor of Kamloops and a retired newspaper editor. He is a regular contributor to CFJC Today, publishes the ArmchairMayor.ca opinion website, and is a director on the Thompson-Nicola Regional District board. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.