I have noticed an unprecedented use of the adjective “unprecedented” in recent weeks. I’m sure I’m not alone. The term is particularly prevalent during the nightly news: “Breaking news; today there was an unprecedented…” I am afloat in the unprecedented virtual waters of lack of precedent. On occasion, I have been submerged (practically drowning) in a lack of precedent.
The term “unprecedented” often has negative connotations. These bad unprecedented times and happenings have never happened before, because things used to be better. Now they’re unprecedented. Every once in a while, unprecedented sneaks over to the good side, like when we have unprecedented good weather. Since our weather forecasts most recently are filled with predictions of unprecedented bad weather, I think that the “Good Weather” ship has been blown out of the water by an unprecedented intense squall.
Here in Albuquerque, we have been experiencing an unprecedented insurgence of wildlife. My next-door neighbor was alerted, by her next-door neighbor (out of concern for my neighbor’s sausage-shaped shih tzu), that a mountain lion had been spotted in a tree just a few blocks away. My friend Eileen has a family of foxes living in her backyard and an infestation of scorpions in the rocks of her neighbor’s front yard. Large herds of bunnies now hop from yard to yard on my street (Get along, little bunnies!). My son’s backyard camera alerted him to intruders, and when he looked at the video feed, he saw a raccoon, followed by five smaller raccoons, setting up camp in his yard. This type of wildlife in the Albuquerque city limits is unprecedented. My son confided in me, that he thinks the wildlife know something we don’t and they’re staking out the best real estate for when we’re out of the way. He is my father’s grandson. My father always contended that if you always expect the worst, when something good happens, you are pleasantly surprised. So there is a family precedent for my son’s lack of optimism.
Retirement, coupled with coronavirus, has resulted in a personally-unprecedented number of days spent at home, resulting in an unprecedented decrease in my visits to the gas station. My carbon footprint is shrinking at an unprecedented rate. Yea, a positive lack of precedent, but the negatives are still ahead.
I’ve noticed an unprecedented preachiness in my recent blog posts. That’s bad. I can’t help myself (so, so much precedent for that one). So, here I go again. Let’s all be nice to each other (and to the many of you who always are – thank you, you’re my heroes). Hallelujah and AMEN.