AMBIENT THOUGHT – Special Edition: The Virus, The Rubber Ball, and Newton’s Third Law

The following and all of the other episodes to come are snapshots of what goes on in my head, now and in the past. There are times none of this will make sense. There will be times when I might get lucky and the blog I post will be well constructed and will flow like a mountain stream to an awaiting lake below. Other times it will seem like the ramblings of a madman and you’ll ask yourself, “What the……?”
You should probably get used to the latter.



Newton’s third law is:
For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.

I’m sure you learned this in high school but let me give the simplest example.
When you bounce a rubber ball against an object. The object gives a reaction force.


But I want to talk about that moment when the ball is forced against an object. Let’s use a concrete floor as an example. The moment when the rubber ball is comes to a stop. The is a build-up of kinetic energy and it either has to continue into the concrete, explode, or bounce up. Of course, the rubber ball doesn’t have the density of the concrete so that option is wrong. Let’s say this particular rubber ball is new and in perfect condition and it was thrown by an average person (not one with super-human strength), so exploding is off the table. Its only option is to bounce back. But before it does, there is a moment when it stops. It lasts only a nano-second, but it ceases moving.

I am within that particular moment.
As is a lot of people as of this writing.

We are stuck in the Coronavirus limbo.

I’m going to share my story. It might sound familiar to yours.

When it first happened, many people thought it wasn’t going to be that big a deal. The last time something like this happened here in the good old U.S. of A. was in 1918 with the Spanish flu. And that was a hundred years ago and modern technology would surely keep that from happening again. I was secure in my job and everything was la-di-da.
First, it was a hoax. Then it was a big deal. Next people are getting scared, and rightfully so. This thing is a monster. Social distancing became a thing. Before I knew it, like so many others, my workplace makes us stay at home.
Then… like so many others, I get laid-off. Along with half of the other people I work (worked) with. I am now… jobless.

If you have read my blog posts, you know I wasn’t a fan of my job. I told you about hating it and if someone asked what I did for a living, I would consider lying to them. But I would give a sigh and explain in the fewest words possible and then move on to another subject as fast as possible. But it was a job. It was a paycheck. And now, I have neither.

So here I am, like so many other people, jobless because of an organism you can’t see without a microscope.

But I understand. This virus, not like the flu but has some symptoms of the flu, has taken my way to pay. It has become a form of limbo.

Just like that moment with the rubber ball. I am living in that nano-second of neither going forward or backward. Or exploding. I’m sitting at home and wondering what happens now. I fill my time reading, fixing and cleaning my typewriters, paracording bracelets, and, of course, writing. I watch my wife go to our office and work from home (luckily, she can and still has a job) and I think of myself a failure to no fault of my own. I also think about all those other people who lost their jobs with nothing to fall back on. I’m lucky enough to get a severance that will last a while but many people didn’t. They are going to hope that the government will help.
I also think about those people that lost jobs that they loved. I think it hit them worse than others. They got pulled away from something that, when asked, they would gladly tell you what they did for a living. You could see how proud they were.

I’d like to have that feeling.

So, in my nano-second of not moving forward or backward, I’m going to take the time to figure out what I really want to do, what I can really do. Maybe, if I’m very lucky, I can find a job, when this all blows over, that I can love. Or in the very least – like. Maybe I can find a job that I don’t dread and I can find it easier to get up in the morning and get ready for.
Is it possible? Of course, it is. I have to believe. I have a horrible case of ‘the hopes’. I have hope that it’s possible.
Because I’m that rubber ball. I was thrown hard against a concrete floor and my stored energy is going to propel me back. I have to believe I will. I believe in the fact that Sir Issac Newton is correct.
And I hope.

As I write this, sitting at my makeshift desk at 10:00 at night (a time I would normally be in bed because of my (ex) job), I’m wondering when the rubber ball will begin its bounce back for me. And I wonder about the others in the same boat. I think about those that have the virus and are dealing with getting better. And I’m thinking about those that won’t and didn’t. I’m thinking about my daughter and this weird, strange time she has found herself in along with the rest of us.

Only time will tell.

I hope we all make it out of this and life can go back to something close to normal.
I hope we come out of this a little wiser.
I hope we allow ourselves to dream again.

And I hope, not to sound selfish, that my rubber ball bounces back.

But, that’s what rubber balls are supposed to do.

-Loyd Elmore Jr
April 17th, 2020


I’ve decided to keep a blog about how I’m dealing with depression. I’m going to consider this a form of therapy. It might not help anybody else but it might help me.



One thought on “AMBIENT THOUGHT – Special Edition: The Virus, The Rubber Ball, and Newton’s Third Law

  1. I have suffered this indignity many times (being let go/job elimination, etc) in the past two decades, as a single woman over 45. It’s always scary when the initial grief of the loss passes.

    What I found helped, was to secure my unemployment income first. Focusing on that was a good diversion from the feelings of fear (I’m older, employers don’t hire folks like me with any sense of joy, I have only an associate’s degree, I’m overweight…ect.). Once I had secured a means to pay the rent and stuff, I could sit still and think more clearly.

    I realized that for the first time in years I had time for – name it. I didn’t have the money for anything expensive, but I had the TIME. I could clean things, sort things, visit people that I owed visits (out of the question in this situation, but when it lifts…), and I even picked up a hobby I’d allowed to languish.

    Let the ball bounce as if deflated, since that mirrors your surprise at finding yourself with time instead of work. You can focus on inflating it once there is opportunity to go on interviews. Have fun with the resume – write one for Men in Black, giving accurate work history that only goes back 10 years. Show how your skills from those situations make you a good candidate!

    Then you can eventually snicker as you modify it for the real world of work. Learn patience as you attach a resume to a form on the internet that has you fill in the same d*mn information. There are some that fill it in from your resume out there, and that’s a relief. Be sure to use the software they use to sift resumes by including some of the same words that their ad used to describe “the right candidate” or the job.

    Bouncing back is a good life skill, and you seem to have it in a good measure.

    I like your metaphor. It’s been a fun idea to play with.

    Liked by 1 person

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