Everything’s Gone Viral (And Other Sad Thoughts)


It’s been a while since I did a “Random Thoughts” post. On this gloomy, rainy, viral Friday, maybe it’s time to open the stream of consciousness anew…

  • Looking at rain drops wobbling down the window glass always reminds me of Dr. Seuss’s book The Cat in the Hat, which I read frequently as a kid.
  • In fact, I often refer to rainy days as “Cat in the Hat Days.”
  • I feel like saying this is Day #___ of the coronavirus slash Covid-19 hunkering-down slash shelter-in-place slash lockdown crisis, but really, who knows where this really “began”?
  • I’ve a friend who has started a pool on when it “ends,” but again, this means we need to make like Webster and define “ends.”
  • Supposedly the virus has brought on a resurgence in reading.
  • And family sniping.
  • And eating.
  • A lot (thus the toilet paper shortage).
  • Helpful Hint: Food for Thought (packaged in books) brings zero calories. Compare to the nutrition panel on the side of ice cream half gallons.
  • Oh, wait. They don’t make half gallons anymore. Whatever smaller size it is, then. Packaging shrinks. Prices rise. To the tune of “America the Beautiful (Corporatocracy).”
  • It’s times like these that bring us together as a world. If the virus has no use for nationality, religion, race, or class differences, why should we? We’re all in this fight together, and hopefully, when it ends, we won’t forget its lessons.
  • Main lesson: People everywhere just want to be happy, to love their families, to live in peace. They have little use for leaders (of their country or others) who have other ideas, ones that have to do with power, war, and corruption.
  • April is National Poetry Month. Can you feel the joy? I received my final issue of Poetry, the magazine, this week. I let the subscription lapse because I wasn’t feeling a lot of joy over the editorial selections there.
  • That said, the April issue does include a new Ocean Vuong poem.
  • Which includes a stanza that reads: “Once, at a party set on a rooftop in Brooklyn for an “artsy vibe,” a young / woman said, sipping her drink, You’re so lucky. You’re gay plus you get to / write about war and stuff. I’m just white. [Pause.] I got nothing. [Laughter, / glasses clinking.]”
  • Sic semper artsy young white woman writers from Brooklyn. Vuong can be both funny and edgy.
  • Speaking of poetry, have you ever noticed, should you happen to get two acceptances in a row from poetry markets, that you feel invincible, like you’ve finally been “discovered”?
  • “Fool me once…”
  • Or how about those contests you occasionally enter. When you still haven’t heard back and the “decide by” date is but two days away, you conjure a big, shiny conference table surrounded by editors discussing the three finalists, one of which is your baby.
  • “Fool me twice…”
  • It’s hard being creative and flattening curves at the same time. (See previous reference to ice cream.)
  • On rainy days like today, I get my exercise by walking up and down the stairs for 20 minutes.
  • Helpful Hint: It goes much faster to music you like. Your brain focuses more on the rhythm and beat and less on the dog at the foot of the stairs staring at you like you’re some plain fool.
  • Easter approaches and, for many of us, we will be hamming it up alone with our spouses (pass the horseradish). Nearby family might as well be far away family when each person you used to hug and kiss is the sum of every person he or she has met in the past 14 days.
  • Man, do I hate doing math like that. Welcome to 2020, the Year of Living Dangerously.
  • With the libraries out of business, I’ve been scouring my shelves for books I own but haven’t read. A New York Times article on books to read during the Coronavirus Captivity recommended Goncharov’s Oblomov, a book I actually own. “Huzzah!” I said (because I so seldom get a chance to say, “Huzzah!”)
  • The excitement didn’t last, however. The book I am presently reading: Anton Chekhov: A Life in Letters, includes a screed where Chekhov tells a friend that, after rereading Oblomov, he found it entirely lacking.
  • Even dead men can take the wind out of your sails.
  • Poor Chekhov. I cringe every time he coughs up blood and tells his brothers or sister not to tell Mama or Papa!
  • As I sip my morning sanity: Thank God there have been no coffee bean shortages.
  • (Shhh! Don’t give anyone ideas.)
  • Stay safe, be productive, and be kind.


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