We Are In This Together (and Other Lies of the Coronavirus Pandemic)

These platitudes were supposed

to smudge the divisions of class,

neighborhood, belief: lines dug

in the ground rooted in stubborn seeds

Like blending eyeshadow, as if the world

was getting a makeover.

Underneath the heavy pancake

makeup – it’s the same old shit.

© 2021 Jewish Young Professional

Makeup, smoke, and mirrors. Photo by Claudia Ramírez on Unsplash


Anyone else get annoyed by those Ad Council #AloneTogether ads? I know the intent was good, but I just got so irritated every time I saw the ad.


Written for dVerse, Word Of The Day Challenge, Ragtag Daily Prompt, and belatedly for The Daily Spur.


  1. Agreed. Like David Byrne sings in “Once in a Lifetime”
    “Same as it ever was, same as it ever was
    Same as it ever was, same as it ever was
    Same as it ever was, same as it ever was
    Same as it ever was, same as it ever was”

    Liked by 5 people

  2. “Underneath the heavy pancake

    makeup – it’s the same old shit.”

    This says it ALL. Such a brilliant poem.

    And yeah, that ad makes me want to punch my screen. Something frustrates me about it too, maybe because it’s obvious. I don’t know, but it makes me think hey, the world is still the same and awful as it is, we’re just being socially distanced. The “we’re all in this together” is supposed to be encouraging, but it honestly is depressing imo.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Yup, super irritated. We are not all in this together. Some of us are on a rickety little raft that’s barely holding together and others of us are on, like, a luxury cruise ship, and the cruise ship people don’t care about the life raft people one iota more than they did before the pandemic.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I am guilty of being a budget cruise ship /low-end yacht person (I don’t really know rich person boats so I am probably getting this wrong) based on external circumstance factors although my mental health was more like a capsized canoe. But regardless, you’re right that no one really cared about the people not on their boat

      Liked by 2 people

  4. I’m pleased I wasn’t subjected to these ads, as they would have annoyed me. Platitudes are no use to those who have lost lives, or their minds, during the pandemic.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I haven’t seen that particular AloneTogether campaign, but we had similar stuff in Australia, and about a triple dose at work from the Deputy Head (Platitudes)… I mean Deputy Head (People) who set up online things for staff to social network and applied pressure to us to do so. Personally, I was much working longer than usual hours moving colleagues courses online and the last thing I wanted to do was socialise with them outside of my extended working hours.
    Have you seen “same storm, different boats”? I think that’s a much more honest take on it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh yeah, and work was the worst! I get that it was awful, but trust me, mandatory daily calls for each boss (it was a matrix organization and I had multiple bosses) and their full teams so the bosses could appear supportive were awful. Just let me do my job. In fairness, I think they genuinely did want to help and ensure the teams were ok, but the execution was just a disaster, in my opinion.


      • Yeah, that’s how I felt. Just let me do my job. I know some of my colleagues really liked all the online social stuff, but with working 10-12 hour days online (while employed 0.5) at the peak of it, I just needed to get off the laptop and go outside or spend time with my kids. “Compulsory fun” with colleagues was the last thing I wanted. I think our DHoSP meant well, but he’s very arrogant, and doesn’t realise that there is a whole range of individual experiences and needs different to his own. Like never hearing that bloody “we’re all in this together” song that he kept playing, ever again.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. I think everyone’s lockdown was coloured by completely personal factors as well as class, finances, etc. For me, lockdown (at least the early months) were completely coloured by Mum’s cancer, which had nothing directly to do with lockdown! But the two are completely intertwined in my mind.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I couldn’t weave that into the poem, but I think that those personal factors is a huge part of it. I can’t really separate coronavirus experience from depression and lousy marriage, but those aren’t related either. But it’s not as if other challenges disappeared once coronavirus hit.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Yeah, totally agree that is one annoying, insipid, insincere video. Sort of but not exactly like my favorite phrase to hate that came out of the past year: “Due to the Covid . . . ”

    “Due to the Covid,” shipments may be delayed.
    . . . there will be a longer wait
    . . . our hours have been reduced
    . . . our prices will be higher
    . . . your call is no longer important to us.

    This is such a common theme lately. I think we are all struggling to get our heads around what happened and why–a low grade PTSD, totally unnecessary as everything was magnified by an astounding lack of leadership and coherence. It feels like we’ve all been abused.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I can forgive “Due to COVID…” because there were real supply chain issues. My least favorite overused phrases were “social distancing” and, as already mentioned “we’re in this together”. But yeah, the vocabulary of the pandemic is one thing I will absolutely not miss.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I like the poem. It seems like it doesn’t seem to take long for a genuine wave of sentiment to become canned rhetoric to disguise the fact that in the end nothing changes. And there’s never a reward for cynicism, seems like.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks! There was also this other PSA with celebrities that drove me crazy. I can’t find it, but one of the celebrities said something like “We are here for you” and I thought, “Yeah right. You don’t even know me”. Dumb platitudes and rhetoric are so irritating

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Your poem makes a point that does need to be made….the fluff and phoniness is a waste of money and time. For me…I think the pandemic only accentuated the weaknesses of our society…whether it’s organization, segregation, poverty, homelessness, lack of care for our elderly, etc. For the most part in my country, people did join together as far as putting trust in science, following the rules, etc. but most likely not because of ads like this. I am anxiously waiting for my second vaccine as is everyone else I know here, while the U.S. has thrown some away. That’s hard to watch.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I think it sort of ripped the bandage off everything, or wiped the makeup off, so to speak. Extroverts found out they can’t live with themselves, introverts found out they were right all along, we’re still depressed, we don’t make enough money, society sucks, the selfish and selfless showed their true colors. I’d do it all again, though. But that’s only my personal experience, I can’t speak for others.

    Liked by 2 people

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