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  • 30-Second Read: Hugs will return

30-Second Read: Hugs will return

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Solitary confinement is punishment for a reason. We humans are social animals. We hate being alone.

Get used to it. Blasted coronavirus.

Illness and death are worse than being alone, unless you must be alone while you or a loved one is sick or dying. That much is obvious.

Less clear is the emotional cost of “social distancing” – the loss of the shared moments that feed our inner wells. Gone are fellowship, backslaps, laughter, coffee-shop banter, cocktailglass clinks, beer-bottle clunks.

And touching. Sadly, simply touching now may kill.

Shaking hands? That professional courtesy is gone.

High fives and fist bumps? No more.

Roughhousing in the backyard? Best not.

Hugging friends or relatives? No longer advised.

Holding hands during a benediction, as in many faith communities. Suspended.

We’ll feel the aloneness, deeply. Even introverts and grumpy loners will ache. To be alone because we must is worse than by choice.

No touch. No more hugs.


Welcome to solitary confinement. Pandemic brought this punishment. Our social nature will amplify it.

Damn. Damn. Damn.

Hold tight, friends. And believe. Hugs will return.

Jeff Gauger is a former executive editor of The Shreveport Times who now teaches journalism at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge. Send comments, anecdotes, suggestions and brickbats to

The Inquisitor

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