Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center
Etch A Sketch

Etch A Sketch

This time of the year, most of us can’t resist the urge to think about past holidays. When doing so, it is best to focus on pleasant memories—which for most of us, thankfully, constitute the majority of memories. It might be that gift we received, special meals we enjoyed, decorations that bedazzled us, or just being with friends and families.

Speaking of gifts, I remember receiving an Etch A Sketch one year. I find myself showing my age quite a bit these days with my examples, but the Etch A Sketch was a popular toy when I was a boy. In fact, it is still sold. The toy provided me with hours of entertainment.

At one point I wanted to grow up to be an architect. My Etch A Sketch, given to me by my grandmother, provided a platform on which to make sketches of buildings and other things. Today, architects use Computer Aided Design (CAD) technology.  I guess the Etch A Sketch was an early and very primitive CAD to me. I still like to attempt to draw things, although my work leaves much to be desired.

The nice thing about the Etch A Sketch is you can turn it upside down and shake it and whatever you have “drawn” magically goes away. In other words, you get a fresh start! To many, 2020, the year of the COVID-19 pandemic—in which, on the day I am writing this, 300,000 people in the U.S. and more than 1.6 million world-wide have died from the disease—is a year they would like to erase. Our collective heart goes out to those who have lost loved ones due to this diabolical virus. Of course, it is ridiculous to think we can erase a year, and probably not even a healthy thought.

But, we can learn from the Etch A Sketch this year, count our blessings, and get ready to start again in 2021.  

Blessings? We have persevered. Science has given us great hope with wonderful new vaccines. Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center went to great lengths to keep most everybody employed, and furthermore, allowed a bunch of us the option of working from home. We found enough PPE!  (So far, at least.) Learners still learned and patients were still served. We learned about telemedicine in a big way. Certainly, there are heroes in our midst to make these things happen. Thanks for all who had a hand—and that means you who are reading this.

So, no, we don’t want to erase this year of 2020. We want to be thankful to be alive. But that doesn’t mean we're not ready to figuratively turn this Etch A Sketch, which we call life, upside down and start afresh, eh?  

Hello 2021! One jokester I heard on the radio said his upcoming New Year’s Eve party was not necessarily to welcome 2021, but to be sure 2020 is gone! Maybe you feel the same way.

Seriously, may you and your family have the best of holidays. Please stay safe—and practice the good infection control techniques that we have heard so many times.