Something weird happened at the end of January. A muppet asked everyone a question on Twitter (that’s weird enough, you’ll agree) and received a barrage of pain in response.
It was a dark Monday (of course) so it’s maybe no surprise that the innocent question – how is everybody doing? – resulted in over 13,000 replies and almost 150 million views. So how are we all doing? Turns out, not well. Some people talked about losing their jobs, ongoing anxiety about world affairs and even existential despair.
Elmo, with his red fluff and sweet smile, is probably the kindest muppet out there, so I do worry that this unloading of despair onto his little shoulders must surely have given him his first frown lines.
Soon enough, of course, the memes arrived and Elmo appeared to be staring into a fiery abyss or widening his eyes at the scale of despair he’d unleashed. Even Cookie Monster got involved and offered to help – ‘me here to talk it out whenever you want, me will also supply cookies.’
It was funny and weird and interesting, but it was also profound. We’re all coping with stuff, all the time, and the world is on fire right now. We need to share the burden with each other, to ask for help and to admit that some days it’s all too much.