Covid-19 is all-encompassing. Every aspect of every person’s life (country borders matter not) has been affected. Some of it I see reflected in newspaper articles, some not. Some of it everyone would agree upon, some not. Let’s take stock:
- Long hair. The 60s are back, man, as all the barber shops are closed. Men all look like Shaggy from Scooby-Doo (think: shaggy Hair-Doo with a little chin music).
- Weight gain. Try as you might, or try as you did until Easter treats, you just can’t keep the weight off. You are walking static to the pounds’ lint. The bathroom scale is either overworked or banished. Meanwhile, you employ rationalization to finish that ham, mac and cheese, chocolate bunny and, God save us, box of Peeps.
- Time amnesia (or “timenesia,” as I call it). No one’s quite sure what day it is, anymore. Tell me, quick. You had to think about it, no?
- Insomnia. Move over, Seattle. The whole world is sleepless these days. Perhaps it is that lack of movement and physical exercise? Stress? Unemployment?
- Dreamy. A corollary of being sleepless is the increased amount of REM sleep. This means everyone’s dreaming more. Weird dreams. Really, really weird. But you won’t remember a thing unless you keep pen and pencil bedside and write it down.
- Back to school. More than one parent feels like they are going through middle school again, small thanks to “online learning,” a term that once seemed harmless. Once.
- Food, food, food. People are thinking about food too much. What are we having for lunch? How about dinner? What about tomorrow night? When are we going to the supermarket again? Who’s going this time? Are we really having tuna sandwiches again?
- Bathroom, bathroom, bathroom. A corollary of food, food, food. Some people are actually hitting weird stores like Walgreen’s and Staples and Target in hopes of scoring some toilet paper. Some newspaper articles love to excoriate shoppers for this obsession, saying everyone should switch to bidets, but hey, a good bidet is expensive (including the plumber, if you want warm water), and who wants a plumber in the house?
- Masks. Overheard at the supermarket this week…Husband: “I hate this f–‘n mask. I can’t breathe wearing it.” Wife: “So take it off and shut up, why don’t you?”
- Moral of the Story: Family members are driving each other crazy, and the next exit is 156 miles away. (“Are we there yet?”)
- Skin problems. Hands especially. Rawer than steak tartare. All together, now: Clean, rinse, dry, repeat!
- I see the light! Blue light, to be exact. It’s a corollary of insomnia, the way people are logging so many hours on their screens and wreaking havoc on their circadian rhythms.
- Crazy-ass politics. Politicians, in their entirely predictable ways, are shamelessly using a world health crisis to consolidate their power. In the U.S., a president is looking in the mirror and seeing a king. He is also, per usual, pointing fingers for everything gone wrong while claiming credit for anything gone right. Also, in case you’re wondering, every move he’s made has been perfect. None of us claims to be perfect. Ever.
- Logic None-Oh-One. If a Trump voter’s kid acted like that, they’d send him to his room and tell him not to come out until he’d smartened up. If a Trump voter’s spouse claimed to be perfect and blamed the wife or husband for every thing that went wrong, they’d be thinking divorce. But for Trump to do it? That’s OK, seems. If you don’t believe it, watch the spin doctors on Fox “News.”
- Creativity. For some, a burst of coronavirus-related creativity has bloomed. Covid-19 stories, poems, books, (ahem) blog posts. Some readers are anxious to read it, others are sick to death of it.
- Guilt and reading. What to read? Some feel guilt for reading dystopian books (too similar to current events) while others feel guilt for reading escapist books (too selfishly oblivious to current events). Let the guilt go, people!
- Rising stars. I imagine this is true in many countries. Here in the States, some superstar governors are emerging as the voices of sanity. Of course, contrast works to their advantage (enough said).
- Social distancing. Some are very good at it. Others not so much. Some talk a good story, but don’t really apply the moral of the story to themselves because (here we go again) “bad things happen to other people, not me.”
- Opening the economy. Anyone’s guess. Start a pool with dates, why don’t you. Make some money.
- Vaccines. Somewhere over the rainbow. Sitting next to Dorothy and Toto.
- Hope. Remember Pandora’s box? Remember laughing at Bob Hope?
- Socialism. The perennial big, bad wolf of American politics is looking pretty good along about now as Covid-19 continues to expose the rigged economy of the wealthy.
- Charity. CEO of Twitter Jack Dorsey donated one billion (a third of his wealth) to the cause. Jeff Bezos and Mark Zuckerberg? The equivalents of a dollar, given their extreme wealth.
- Celebrities. Anyone else sick to death of TV ads with (also wealthy) celebrities telling us to “stay safe” and serving up clichés like “we’ll get through this together” from inside their swank homes? These ads are little more than self-promotion at the worst of times.
- Ditto to the networks and cable channels serving up their “stars” with these concerned commercials, which always include the title of the star’s show somewhere on the screen. Bad optics. Really bad.
- Ad for our Times: You know the one. It resonates now more than ever. Punchline: “What’s in your wallet?”
- Answer: “Not” and “much.”
4 thoughts on “Taking Stock: What the Pandemic Hath Wrought”
Wow, Ken, you need to submit this to be published somewhere to a wider readership. It’s as good as anything I’ve seen in the NYTimes op-ed section. I would like to share it with a few friends if there’s a way to do that — giving your blog full credit.
Sure. Share away! And too late to submit to markets because it’s now been on the web! Oh, well. Maybe it will go… er, forget it.
Every poet must dream of coining a word that slips into wide use. I’m adopting “timenesia,” but will credit you.
Thanks, Alarie, though I’m sure hardworking journalists will trace it to its source on this celebrated and much-read blog. (Smiley Emoticon)