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Elmo asks social media how everyone is doing and is not tickled by the answer

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Elmo of “Sesame Street” logged onto X with a simple question: “Elmo is just checking in! How is everybody doing?” The doom-and-gloom piled up higher than Big Bird on stilts.

You know these are dark days when Elmo is cast in the role of therapist.

It was Monday, 10:46 a.m. Elmo was about to ride his tricycle to see if the Cookie Monster could spare a wasabi wafer. First, he logged onto X with a simple question: “Elmo is just checking in! How is everybody doing?”

This question was brought to you by the letters “E” and “D,” as in existential dread. Outside of “Sesame Street,” it seems there is also a lot of “F” and “L” — fear and loathing.

Poor Elmo just wanted to dance or plan an imaginary trip and suddenly his timeline cascaded with replies such as: “The world is burning around us.” “Elmo I just got laid off.” “I’m depressed and broke.” “I’m sad.” “I’m struggling.” “Elmo, we are not okay (sic).”

The doom-and-gloom piled up higher than Big Bird on stilts. You could picture poor Elmo taking refuge in a cardboard box, reading this trauma dumping aloud in his helium falsetto.

As one user advised: “Elmo get outta here it isn’t safe.”

Nope. The world does not feel safe these days, even for cuddly red monsters who have remained three years old since 1980. Elmo’s casual inquiry hit a nerve in the mass mood.

“How are you?” is usually more of a greeting than a genuine question. But, somehow, when Elmo asked this week, thousands unburdened themselves to reveal they are having a rough go of it. To many, it feels like the planet is spinning in the wrong direction.

By Wednesday morning, Elmo’s post was viewed 178 million times. That must be a Muppet record. In a followup, Elmo addressed the doom-and-gloom with upbeat vibes: “Wow! Elmo is glad he asked! Elmo learned that it is important to ask a friend how they are doing. Elmo will check in again soon, friends! Elmo loves you.”

He signed off with a heart emoji and hashtag: #EmotionalWellBeing.

Even U.S. President Joe Biden was moved: “I know how hard it is some days to sweep the clouds away and get to sunnier days. Our friend Elmo is right: We have to be there for each other, offer our help to a neighbor (sic) in need, and above all else, ask for help when we need it. Even though it’s hard, you’re never alone.”

The problem is way too many people do feel alone. Social media is anti-social. Human contact can’t be simulated on a screen, which is why all those Zoom meetings during the pandemic felt unnatural. To spend hours on YouTube or TikTok is solitary confinement. As Elmo now understands, the more we are interconnected the more we are divided and further apart.

I want to interview Elmo to make sure he is OK after absorbing thousands of confessionals about how everything is a mess. Puppets can be deceptively wise.

Here’s something not on my CV: I interviewed Grover in 2005. It started inexplicably with a publicist warning me to not ask if Bert and Ernie were gay. Huh? But I did ask how his alter ego “Super Grover” would win the war on terror against radical Islam.

Grover sounded a bit like Elmo did this week: “As little old me — you do not have to be a superhero to do what I am about to say — I think everybody should just love one another and try to understand each other and be patient. That right there, my friend, is the answer to all of the world’s problems.”

Then he told me that he’d rather date Angelina Jolie than Miss Piggy.

I’m not saying you should ask Count von Count to do your taxes. Or hire Oscar the Grouch as a motivational speaker. Or solicit dating tips from Mr. Snuffleupagus when all you’ll get is ghosting tips. But imagine how different this burning world could feel if the empathy, love and enduring spirit of caring on “Sesame Street” managed to spread far and wide.

We should all be more like Elmo.

From now on, when I go out with friends, I will not just blurt out a robotic, “How’s it going?” No. I am going to wear a Mr. Rogers cardigan and go all Dr. Phil on my friends:

How are you REALLY doing? What is weighing you down? Do you want to talk about your hopes and dreams? Your fears and doubts? I am here for you. Now hurry up and pick your entrée because I’m starving.

The Sesame Workshop — or the team that handles the social media accounts of its fictional characters — should build on this week’s boffo engagement with an Elmo Challenge.

Once a week, everyone checks in with someone to see how they are doing. We listen. We offer comfort and support. That is the Elmo Challenge.

You could reach out to a friend or even someone who does not like you.

Ezra Levant took some shots at me last week over a Tucker Carlson column. He called it the most cringeworthy thing he had ever read. A little over the top, but I’ll let it stand.

Ezra, I’m here if you want to bend an ear. We can discuss how Justin Trudeau is the antichrist or college campuses are overrun with woke mobs. Whatever you want.

Just know, Ezra, that you are not alone in this crazy world.

Vinay will check in again soon! Vinay loves you!

*****
Credit belongs to : www.thestar.com

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