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I haven’t talked with one person who has not experienced some sort of stress or anxiety during this COVID-19 pandemic.

However, if you can find something to laugh about, it does help keep your spirits up.

Many of the funniest and most embarrassing situations have happened during virtual meetings using Zoom or another telephone or video conferencing platform. Zoom is a free app that can be downloaded on a smartphone, iPad or computer and allows the user to see the person, or persons, they are talking to.

During this pandemic, meetings and conversations have moved to this level of teleconferencing and video conferencing to keep in line with social distancing.

At the beginning of May, the Supreme Court began hearing arguments via telephone, and the public was invited to listen in. However, participants got more than they expected when during the call, they heard a toilet flush. Can you imagine? The person taking the bathroom break during the call has not been identified.

That wasn’t the case for Jennifer Miles, who didn’t realize her camera was on during a recent Zoom meeting and used the bathroom during the call for all meeting attendees to see and hear. The expressions on her co-workers’ faces were priceless - with one male co-worker proclaiming, “I didn’t see anything!” This has prompted the phrase “don’t be a Jennifer” when describing what not to do on a virtual meeting call.

Portland’s country radio station hosts of 98.7 The Bull were having a work Google Hangout. When the meeting ended and everyone said goodbye, one colleague, Tony Russell, forgot to close out his chat window when the meeting ended. He stood up and everyone on the call realized he didn’t have any pants on. They desperately tried to get his attention until one co-worker called him to tell him to log out. Needless to say, he was embarrassed.

Ariana Yaptangco compiled the most embarrassing Zoom fails people have suffered in quarantine for Elle magazine.

Yaptangco was quarantined at her parents’ house and joined a video conference call only to frantically shut her laptop after her mom entered the living room and started singing to the dog.

One boss turned herself into a potato on a virtual Microsoft teams meeting and couldn’t figure out how to turn the setting off, so she was stuck like that for the entire meeting.

A student wanted to drop out of a lecture and accidentally started sending the letter “i” into the Zoom chat. The professor stopped the lecture to ask if the student was OK, thinking the student was having a seizure.

An employee accidentally sent an invitation to his current boss to join his job interview on Zoom.

“On the first class of the day, the professor asks us to unmute our mics to make the classroom setting on Zoom more real. I’m now listening to the lecture plus two people breathing heavily and one munching on chips loudly into the mic,” John said.

Daniel said he just started talking to his cat in the middle of a 68-person Zoom meeting - and he wasn’t muted.

One person’s daughter walked in on a virtual meeting singing, “I like banaaaaanas” at the top of her lungs.

Speaking of taking classes online, a friend mentioned her daughter was taking a college class in another room of the house. My friend announced something inappropriate was going on downstairs between the male and female dogs. She found out later her daughter’s classmates overheard her proclamation.

The editors of the Lehigh Valley Press have been working remotely meeting weekly via Zoom to connect and discuss upcoming features. I can say we haven’t done anything embarrassing - yet - but one week, we tried to make it more interesting by wearing our favorite hats. It was fun to see another side of my colleagues in their homes during this pandemic.

Every week, my family has a Zoom meeting to check in on each other. We have a theme every week. It is great to see the family and catch up on what everyone is watching on television, crafts they’ve made, favorite recipes and book recommendations. Especially entertaining are my great-nieces and nephew. My 2-year-old great-niece is in the midst of potty training, so we are all learning the potty song by Daniel Tiger. This is especially entertaining for my parents, who enjoy seeing everyone while staying at home.

My church has virtual staff meetings each week. They also have themes, which may include sunglasses, favorite hats, beach-themed attire and more.

I hope we are on the downswing of this pandemic and it won’t be too much longer for the stay-at-home orders to be lifted. I understand the frustration, believe me. Although we are all surrounded by disappointments at this time, I try very hard to be someone who looks at the glass as half full rather than half empty and try to look at the positives this pandemic has revealed.

If you are missing your family, like my parents were, download the free software and start a Zoom meeting with your loved ones. Have fun with it! If we look for a little humor in all situations, it does help. After all, laughter is the best medicine.

Just be careful and “don’t be a Jennifer.”

Debbie Galbraith


East Penn Press

Salisbury Press