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The world is not OK: Why so many ‘trauma dumped’ on Elmo’s X account Monday

Rebecca Barnabi
(© Tierney – stock.adobe.com)

On Monday, Sesame Street’s Elmo asked a simple question on X, formerly known as Twitter.

“Elmo is just checking in. How is everybody doing?”

Unbeknownst to Elmo, he got the honest answers he asked for but probably not what you would usually hear on Sesame Street.

Among more than 144,000 likes, one X user replied to Elmo’s inquiry and said they wake up every morning and want to go back to sleep. Every Monday, they want it to be Friday. “Every single day and every single week for life.”

Oreo responded and said “ran out of milk. Do the math.”

A user named Steven said: “The world is burning around us, Elmo.” Another responded that “we are tired.”

Dat replied: “I’m depressed and broke.”

VR on the Web’s response was: “It’s been a tough time since we left the street and entered the workforce, Elmo.”

“Honestly, I’m in a really good place right now,” said Chance the Rapper.

As expected, Sour Patch Kids said: “Do you want my real answer, Elmo?”

I was at the gym this evening when I saw on CNN about everyone “trauma dumping” on poor Elmo on X.

And I wanted to cry. Americans are hurting. The world is hurting.

The cost of living, groceries, rent, gas, school, the war between Russia and Ukraine, China, technology, unemployment, COVID-19, healthcare, grief, labor strikes.

Someone contact “the Piano Man” Billy Joel and let him know it’s time to update his hit song “We Didn’t Start the Fire.”

Between early September and early November 2023, three of my friends, who are a few years younger than me, each lost a parent.

I don’t know too many right now who are not struggling with health issues, grief, challenges at school or unemployment.

Most of us are just doing the best we can. Maybe Elmo’s question was not the way to express that reality, but how else are we to share with each other what’s going on?

Every week, I write about health, the economy, unemployment, education, artificial intelligence, and much more. Yet, in one tweet, Elmo was able to sum up all of the articles I’ve written in the last year about the economy and unemployment.

And all I can do is be a listening ear for friends who are struggling right now and they listen to my struggle. I guess we’re all in this together and perhaps that brings comfort to some.

But, I think that at the end of the day, we are all just left wondering: why does it have to be like this? Who is to blame for the mess we’re all in?

Since the Great Recession in 2008, I’ve studied business, finance and the economy. At first, I was trying to make sense of why the recession happened, because it turned my life and career upside down for several years, while many of my friends barely noticed the downturn.

So, what I’m seeing and hearing since the pandemic is that everyone has been affected in some way and we’re all just doing the best we can.

And now Elmo also knows the reality of what’s going on in America and the world.



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Rebecca Barnabi

Rebecca Barnabi

Rebecca J. Barnabi is the national editor of Augusta Free Press. A graduate of the University of Mary Washington, she began her journalism career at The Fredericksburg Free-Lance Star. In 2013, she was awarded first place for feature writing in the Maryland, Delaware, District of Columbia Awards Program, and was honored by the Virginia School Boards Association’s 2019 Media Honor Roll Program for her coverage of Waynesboro Schools. Her background in newspapers includes writing about features, local government, education and the arts.