Newmann: Tired of the tiring |

Newmann: Tired of the tiring


It’s a noun that has been used repeatedly, with its acronym sidekick, for the past few months.

In the good old days (prior to last March), fatigue was often defined as “weariness or exhaustion from labor, exertion or stress.” The word can also mean “a state or attitude of indifference or apathy brought on by over exposure (as to a repeated series of similar events or appeals).” Both definitions of fatigue are now way too familiar, especially when preceded by the acronym “COVID.”

COVID fatigue has manifested itself in a variety of ways. And folks seem to respond to it in a multitude of ways, ranging from helplessness to helpfulness and from apathy to anger. The emotional effect of the virus seems to be as varied and mutated as the virus itself.

But COVID-19 doesn’t have sole ownership when it comes to current fatigues, not by a long shot. Here are a few other fatigues that have crept (or have been bludgeoned) into the mix:

Political fatigue

After being subjected to almost two years of campaigning, elections that have threatened to become non-elections and the resultant circus, you could be pardoned (no pun intended) if you decide to spend the rest of the winter staring at the nearest wall.

News fatigue

Tune in to your favorite station (partisan or not) for the latest and the greatest, then expect several hundred rehashes of the same stuff followed by commentary on the rehashes. And then, wait for it, more of the same the next day. Guaranteed to turn you into a sniveling brain-addled mess. Watching reruns of “Barney the Dinosaur” would be healthier (and more educational) fare.

Mask fatigue

Pull it up, put it down. Put it on. Take it off. Repeat. And repeat. But the good news is that, when you encounter and/or hear something really stupid, folks can never see your expression.

Door-knob fatigue

How can I open that door without touching the knob when I don’t have my hand sanitizer? (As a side note, whoever thought that any door one could just push open with one’s forearm would be the best door ever?).

Sanitizer fatigue

This kicks in when you notice that the skin on your hands is becoming non-existent.

Distance fatigue

Trying to consistently maintain an indoor 6-foot distance from folks whose idea of 72 inches is keeping their elbows plastered against yours is draining. Consider carrying a tape measure at all times.

Zoom fatigue

The idea of trying to look even half-way presentable at all hours of the day and night for video conference calls is stressful. Putting tape over the camera lens can solve the problem.

Menu-music fatigue

Even in the best of times the long wait time to actually speak to a human is irritating. But those waits now seem to turn into all-day affairs. And the background music is worse than ever. Save your sanity by hanging up on the third cycle of “Achy Breaky Heart.”

These are just a few of the fatigues … and there are countless more.

But please do not succumb to any of them.

Rather, keep calm and carry on. Safely. For better days —and fewer fatigues —are in the offing.

Tom Newmann splits his time between Beaver Creek and Queenstown, New Zealand. He has been going winter-to-winter since 1986. He was also a journalist in Missoula, Montana, at the Missoulian for quite a few years. Email him at

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