Publisher: Fast-forwarding through life

By Brian Whitmore/Publisher
The other week, I received an award at a virtual awards ceremony.
The award was mailed. I watched the South Carolina Press Association ceremony online.
Most years, I get to go to Greenville, Columbia or Charleston and enjoy a fancy chicken meal, while dining with colleagues. We sit through a lengthy awards presentation, offering loud applause when our newspaper’s name comes up.
COVID-19 changed all that in 2020. The meeting was originally scheduled for March, then moved to September and then moved online.
So, I watched a Facebook Live awards presentation. A call interrupted the broadcast right before my category. No problem, at the end of the live broadcast, I could watch again.
And this brings me to the point of this column — the ability to fast-forward in a virtual world.
Virtual awards ceremony — fast-forward to my award, Vic MacDonald’s awards and The Chronicle’s General Excellence Award.
The fast-forward feature is handy with all virtual meetings.
Virtual city council meeting — boring — fast-forward.
Virtual church meeting — preacher getting long-winded — fast-forward.
Virtual board meeting — or should I say bored meeting — fast-forward.
Fast-forwarding works in the virtual world. What if it worked in the real world?
I need a Twilight Zone remote. The sci-fi series had several episodes bending the rules of time. How would I use the power to speed through time?
Well, yesterday, I tried to get gas during a rainstorm. The pumps have card readers and I should have been able to pay at the pump, but no — the Indian lady wanted me to enter her establishment in the rain.
If I had a Twilight Zone fast-forward remote, I could have skipped the part of me explaining to her that coming in the store defeats the purpose of a card reader at the pump and move to the part where I’m at another gas station pumping gas.
I paid 10 cents extra at that station, because I didn’t go inside — even though I paid with a debit card. I guess gas station attendants feel the money is closer to their pocket if you swipe the card inside the station, instead of outside, but I digress.
Again, fast-forward capability could have gotten me to a station that doesn’t require so much of its customers.
Or how about when you go to Barnes and Noble and the cashier lady wants to hard sell you on a membership? I had one cashier try to guilt me into a membership by using my daughter. Apparently, I’m not pro-literacy without a membership.
What about Subway? Quit asking me so many questions. Just make me a sandwich. I’m an introvert. I don’t like this interaction.
And my Twilight Zone remote would work on more than just my pet peeves.
Running late to pick up my daughter from school — fast-forward.
Feeling sick — ain’t nobody got time for that — fast-forward.
Football schedule keeps changing, while you’re trying to put out a football section in a pandemic — fast-forward to kickoff.
And in 2020 the best use of my special remote would be fast-forwarding through the coronavirus pandemic. You don’t want to wish your life away, but I think we can all agree that this year is a dud.
We had snow and flooding in January and February, the virus hit in March, racial unrest and hurricanes have followed. If 2020 were a free trial subscription, I’d have already canceled.
Getting tired of reading this column? Fast-forward — the end.
Brian Whitmore is the publisher of The Chronicle. Whitmore can be reached at 

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