Jim Gaffigan on living in unprecedented times


Remember when hearing the word unprecedented was rare?  It was something special, something people would say to sound dramatic.  “The unprecedented devastation in Australia.” “The hurricane caused unprecedented devastation.” “The unprecedented outbreak of a a mosquito-borne illness.” 

I used to be frightened, or a little excited, when I would hear the word unprecedented. “This is a really, almost unprecedented big snowstorm!”  Oooh, something “unprecedented”?  Well, that’s never happened. Mixing things up, are we?”

Now, the word unprecedented bounces off me. “Breaking News! Unprecedented job loss.” “Unprecedented measures taken to shut down the country.” “Unprecedented illness and fatalities.” 

Like most of you, I just want to go back to the times of precedents. I miss the good old days when politics was boring, and business news was a snooze fest. I want to go back to a time when I had no idea what an epidemiologist was.

We live in unprecedented times, with an unprecedented number of sick people, and an unprecedented strain on our health care workers, an unprecedented level of unemployment, and an unprecedented number of Americans seeking food assistance.

For me, the struggle to find hope and gratitude in these times is unprecedented!

I have so much to be grateful for.  My wife survived a brain tumor! My children are healthy! Well, physically.

I should focus on gratitude during these unprecedented times.

See, unprecedented events are now the precedent.  Not the president. Although the president is unprecedented. Which is now the precedent. Wait, how long have I been in here? Who’s the president? 

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Story produced by Sara Kugel. Editor: Chad Cardin. 

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