By Mike Rosso
They say hindsight is 2020. How does that explain this crazy year?
Worldwide pandemic, protests, murder hornets … and we’re only halfway through it. We’ve still got a national election scheduled for November and the Colorado monsoon season has yet to hit us. And what about Major League Baseball? Players just voted against a 60-game season so it looks to be in the hands of the MLB commissioner to impose a season. The last time the pro baseball season was cancelled in the U.S. was in 1994 due to a labor dispute. Players’ strikes in 1972 and 1981 only led to shortened seasons. When World War I began, the minor leagues, which were independently run, shut down but the National and American Leagues played on as normal with a full schedule.
It all makes me glad I did not cast my lot as a sportswriter. How much Broncos conjecture and speculation can one possibly write about? (I’m talking to you, Denver Post). Yet, NASCAR has officially opened its season, minus the presence of the controversial Confederate battle flag, another casualty of this monumental year.
Personally—and I’m not alone here—I’ve not seen the lobby of a bank, or the inside of a theater or gallery in over three months. No dining out, no concerts, no parties, potlucks or plane trips. No AirBnB’s or motel stays, either.
Also, why is it that when we were discouraged from traveling anywhere, gas was running about $1.75? Now that the tourist season is in full swing, gas is rising by an average of a nickel a day, currently at $2.55.
Regarding the wearing of masks. I’m okay with it. If there is only a 5% chance that wearing one can help me to spread a virus which can be deadly to a portion of the population, that’s fine. I’ve limited my trips to the grocery store and post office anyway, so it’s not a big deal to slap it on for a few minutes while doing those chores. (I have to say though, I don’t understand those who drive or ride bikes while still donning a mask). On the other hand, when did wearing a mask become a political statement? Are we that polarized we have to take sides by risking the overall health of the community to make a point, albeit an uniformed one?
If you need to make a political point, why not use your mask to make it? Wear a red one, a blue one, a rainbow or black mask. How about a clown mask? Maybe you can get a paid sponsor for your mask, like Home Depot. Just wear one.
Kidding aside, the economic impact of the shutdown is still rippling through the economy. I’ve heard the real estate market is still humming along. Houses are still being built. Folks still need food, medicine and hardware supplies. Those stuck at home have been doing long-stalled home maintenance and landscaping projects. Automobiles are still breaking down. I finally got a haircut, as well as a massage and a teeth cleaning. But there are so many struggling businesses; restaurants, movie theaters, music venues and musicians themselves. No venues means no gigs means no income.
We received a few comments this month about the size of our June issue. Our publication varies from 32 to 48 pages, depending on the number of advertisements. We offered the same amount of actual written content in June as any other month. The reason for the smaller size was the lack of ads. The reason for that? Advertisers are taking a beating and cash flow is tight. We mentioned the cancellation of event advertising in a previous column and that continues with the current level of uncertainty.
What can be said for certain is that the postal service, without any notice, raised their bulk mailing rates in January by an astonishing 20% (what other business could get away with that type of increase?) and because of that, we will have to raise our subscription rates in the near future just to get our balance sheet back to the 2019 level. We really had hoped to avoid this, but combined with the precipitous drop in ad revenue, we have no choice in order to continue publishing.
Thanks for your understanding. Despite the best efforts of this cursed year, we will persevere.