(Gary, IN)—Gregory W. O’Connell was stunned when he signed back into Facebook at 12:00am local time after a 40-day absence from social media to hear about the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Just shocked, really. Good golly. Which of us who gave up social media for Lent could have known about this? I mean, it was really quiet around the neighborhood, and traffic was way down, and come to think of it, I was the only one showing up at the office. And then there were those face masks. But I thought maybe a lot of people were at church a lot and that allergy season was really bad.”

“It’s too bad in a way, as so many of my Facebook friends were probably experts on infectious diseases and pandemics, and I could have learned a lot from them. It’s interesting how I seem to have a bunch of online friends who are suddenly experts on any given issue—heck, often on multiple issues.”

Mr. O’Connell explained that while his Facebook friends and Twitter followers were under the impression that he had given up only social media for Lent—thanks to his posting the announcement dozens of times in the lead-up to Ash Wednesday—few were aware that he had also given up the Internet entirely for the period.

“Look, I try to follow what Jesus says at all times, so I didn’t brag about the Internet thing. I kept that one as quiet as a church mouse. ‘Wash your face when you are fasting,’ our Lord said, ‘Don’t be a Pharisee.’ WWJD, you know?”

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