Why this virus is good for us- or at least me

I can’t talk for anybody other than myself- but I’m sure I’m not alone in saying that I’ve been looking at the thing for me to do. I guess some might call that purpose.

It must be so nice to be LeBron James or Lionel Messi because they had their path carved out for them when they were young. Especially Messi. I mean, how old was he when he was scooped up by Barcelona? 8? 10? Regardless- at a young age he was basically told “this is what you’re going to be doing for the rest of your life.”

Now he’s a legend. Now he’s rich as fuck.

But then there’s the rest of us. You hope that during your childhood you’re exposed to enough things that you can try. Ideally, you have a living situation with some family that can at least get you interested in other things.

But, I’m not here to blame my family. I think it was my fault getting so invested in video-games. After all, at the end of the day I was the one who decided to turn the thing on and press play.

But, I decided I wasn’t good at sports. I decided I didn’t like math. And what ended up happening was I found hospitality because I was good at being funny and making drinks. I was genuinely interested in wine and spirits. How could you not be? They’re easy to understand- at least in a sense.

Anybody can become a sommelier. It’s true.

The great thing about it is, if you can commit to it, you can go far. If you can immerse yourself in notecards about French regions and Californian varietals and the differences between hot and cold climates, you can go far. Master Sommeliers make equal amounts to lawyers.

And that was the path I was on. I was obsessed. I was studying day in and day out. Ask me about a trocken spatburgunder from the Pfalz. Do it. I dare you.

But then this virus came along and forced me into my apartment for weeks and had me thinking- well, it had me worried. What will this do to my career? Is this even something I want to continue? Hospitality… it was such an important part of our society. But, it’s not essential. Actually, it’s detrimental since gathering an abundance of people in small areas (bars and restaurants) can only further worsen our current state.

So where does this leave me?

The mind wanders. You contemplate other career options. Today, I thought about going to Law School- which I had previously done in the past. I thought about it and my girlfriend assured me I’d be good at it. But there’s much uncertainty.

Sure, the pay is outstanding. Sure, the job would even be considered ‘essential’ in times of crisis. Sure, it would allot me some cachet amongst the rest of the world.

But would I like wearing a suit 5 days a week and being stuck in an office? Would I be able to handle the pressure of writing up legal documents for cases I didn’t care about?

Oh no- your wife is boring so you want a divorce. Let me get right on that- it’s just $400 an hour.

Hey, the positives are all there- the money and the stability. But, would I like it? The only experience I had working in a law office was… subpar to say the least. I was a receptionist- but still. I saw their faces. I remember watching the office gather around with paper plates and plastic forks to eat the stale, shitty cake for someone’s birthday.

Yes, it was a real thing and yes, it was horrifying.

So, after some long conversations and deep reflecting, I thought about what I wanted to do before all of this. Before the pandemic. Before the sommelier flash cards.

I wanted to be a writer. I think I forgot about that. I think I liked wine because it was evidence that there really is a need for all those words. How else can you describe a Chateaneuf du Pape without going on endlessly?

So, it looks like I have a lot of time. Nothing but.

I guess I’ll go back to work now. I just wanted to put this out there.


Published by J. Cassidy Hawthorne

Writer. Former stand-up. Sommelier.

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