M*A*S*H 4077 and The Pandemic
When the pandemic hit, I didn’t think it would last this long. I saw a few of the MASH 4077 reminders on Facebook on what to do during a pandemic (watch above). The pandemic evenings started to grow longer and longer each day, while the winter days were beginning to grow shorter and shorter. I was going “bat-shit” crazy. The merger between Sprint and T-mobile gave us a new platform to “Binge-watch.”
Now, I don’t binge-watch. I have never watched a series in one day or a weekend. I was taught to chew my food twenty-six times before swallowing for better digestion and health. I have the same approach to Netflix, Disney plus, and Hulu.
During this pandemic, I started to watch M.A.S.H. 4077 on Hulu. The show is not new to me. I grew up watching it. Even recently, I loved an evening with M.A.S.H. 4077 and Hogan Heroes on Me-TV, but they were not in order, and I had to watch on their time and not mine. Early on in the pandemic and in the first few M.A.S.H. 4077 seasons, there was a hope that all this (pandemic and the Korean conflict) would be over soon. I would get to resume normalcy, and Hawkeye and the cast and crew would return home. As the pandemic grew longer, I knew that normal would never be the same. As the seasons of M.A.S.H. 4077 start to progress, the series started to move deeper into dealing with fatigue (mental, physical, emotional . . .). I began to see parallels between the pandemic and the folks at the 4-0-77th.
The seasons started to roll by, and I found more parallels between living in a pandemic and MASH 4077. For instance, in season seven, episode 14, entitled “Dear Sis,” Father Mulcahy writes his sister, telling her of his feelings of uselessness, which reflect the general sense of the 4077th, who aren’t looking forward to spending the holiday season away from home. In the same way, I felt insignificant during our pandemic to provide relevant online worship to our congregation. I work so hard on coordinating, editing, and uploading a weekly service while getting emails stating that, “other churches are open, why can’t we?” Also, coming home from officiating a COVID-related funeral (about a dozen now) and watching an episode on M.A.S.H. 4077 dealing with death have a lot of similarities.
I know the reality between what I’m living through and war, but I think M.A.S.H. 4077 has been my incubator on how I’m dealing mentally and spiritually during our pandemic. It may have saved me—allowing me to escape while at the same time allowing me to process my thoughts, and feelings, and to examine my spiritual barometer through this isolation.
During this period of Lent, I will be unpacking an episode in each season (there are nine seasons). Lent is a time of self-reflection. I intend to be real, and sometimes raw, to better examine where I am during this pandemic. Let see say this, this practice is more for me than you. You may find some insights offensive. I may share more of myself that you think a pastor should. As I dive deeper into each episode and discover more parallels between myself and Hawkeye, Father Mulcahy, and even Radar O’Reilly, I have to be true to what surfaces. So here I go. Enjoy?