Colm O'Regan: The lockdown does strange things to folk

We are everyone now. Reluctantly admitting we are as basic as David Gray’s White Ladder being your first CD, writes Colm O'Regan
Colm O'Regan: The lockdown does strange things to folk

We are everyone now. Reluctantly admitting we are as basic as David Gray’s White Ladder being your first CD, writes Colm O'Regan

If you looked into our front window at different times over the last few days you would see a strange sight. At least three of the four of us in a line, looking at a screen as we kangaroo-jump, lung, Thor-hammer until we were red in the face. Man, woman and four-year- old. The fourth sits gaping at us or offering us playdoh ‘snacks’. It’s the kind of unselfconscious group activity you might only see in America.

We are doing ‘PE with Joe’. I had heard of Joe Wicks a few years ago and automatically thought his name was Joe Wick because of Irish people’s tendency to add an S to every name that looks like it needs one. Chris Eubanks, Tescos, Easons, Stephenses Day. And I was peripherally aware of the book ‘Lean in 15’ but thought it was the fourteenth follow up in Sheryl Sandberg’s series on helping women break glass ceilings and avoid glass cliffs in the boardroom.

But a few family PE lessons later, we know all about Joe and his very clean grey carpet. Each morning he hosts a 30-minute work out live on Youtube and at some time later in the day, we join in.

Joe’s broken his hand while biking recently and he’s still leading eight hundred thousand people around the world in a workout. What are YOU doing with your lockdown? PEWJ is just another thing that we as a family are doing along with everyone else. We’ve made sourdough, signed up for Disney Plus, yoga with Adrienne, watched Tiger Kings (okay just the two of us on that one). We are everyone now. Reluctantly admitting we are as basic as David Gray’s White Ladder being your first CD.

It’s very clever to call it PE as well by the way. It’s aimed at children but by calling it PE it allows people who wouldn’t want to be doing a ‘High Intensity Training Something’ to do it with a quizzical raised eyebrow and a jaundiced look. The jaundice and quizzicality last about ten seconds. Because we are into it. I don’t know what happened. This crisis will destroy a lot of good things and people but as a side effect, it might also take a shkelp of cynicism.

Whisper it low but we are this close to following it live so that we can get a ‘shout-out’. You must understand, I do not consider myself someone who looks for shout-outs. My whole point is to be a person who gives shout-outs. That is the goal of fame, to hold in your hands the authority to decide who gets a shout-out and who doesn’t. To be all powerful like Solomon, that time with the baby, except with shout-outs. But now as we Superman jump along with Joe and his immaculate fireplace, we listen to other people getting shout outs and we’re getting no credit for our PE efforts.

That’s what Joe does. He makes you want to hear “shouh-ouh to the O’Regan family in Ireland. I love Ireland, [something vaguely specific about Ireland like, “love trees there”]’. But we’ll carry on for now huffing and puffing and groaning about our quads. (Muscles not children, but I bet if we had quadruplets we’d TOTALLY get a shout-out. ‘Social’ goes mad for that kind of thing.)

And at the end of it we are giggly and unselfconscious. We even applaud.

It’s the lockdown man, it does strange things to folk.

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