Sunday, April 26, 2020
Now that gasoline is so cheap, do you suppose some people might start hoarding it against the time when the price rises? Perhaps we will hear boasts: "I have 700 gallons of gas in my garage," "You should see all the gas I have in my basement." If in coming months some houses are suddenly blown to smithereens or become huge pyres, don't be too surprised. After all, we didn't expect what would happen with toilet paper, did we?
Tuesday, April 7, 2020
A HERO FOR OUR TIME
Beyond all dreams of avarice, a wealthy man am I.
Though gold I lack, today’s real wealth I’ve piled up very high:
My closets bulge with tissues boxed, my cupboards are replete
With quarts of sanitizer and a million things to eat;
Three gallons of fresh milk I have, and loaves of bread well-frozen;
I’ve canned sardines and yogurt, too--and face-masks by the dozen.
With superhuman cleanliness I easily can cope:
Look here! Behold! This cupboard holds three hundred bars of soap.
My nether regions spotless are at morning, night, and noon:
My rolls of toilet paper, if unrolled, would reach the moon.
Incessantly I wash my hands. I shun my fellow men.
I stay inside. I pace the floor. I’m skulking in my den.
I’m masked and goggled all the time. I have a hazmat suit.
I don’t emerge in light or dark. I hoard and count my loot.
I order groceries online. I barricade my room.
I’ll thus avoid, I’m confident, the now-impending doom.
Let others fall! I know that I will surely win this fight
For I’ve become, by ceaseless toil, the perfect troglodyte!
Thursday, April 2, 2020
Tomorrow will be very exciting. I am going to the bank! How did I manage to arrange so audacious an expedition? After all, the bank lobby is locked. Well, first (after discovering the other day that the lobby is locked) I went online to the Wells Fargo website and found my bank. Then I filled in a form to make an appointment. A short time later I received a call from a bank official who wished to know if I was me and if I really, truly wanted to go to his bank, and why. After explaining that I wished to get into my SD box, and to get some money (which I cannot do in the drive-through line because I have nothing to drive), he approved and said he would see me promptly at 2PM. Then I received an email confirmation of my appointment, which said to print it out and bring it with me. (I shudder to think what might happen if I did not bring it. Perhaps alarms would ring and men with clubs, or at least sanitary wipes, spring out.)
I plan to wear my lovely new mask to my bank appointment, but with some apprehension: although it may help to assure the Wells Fargo people that I will not give them the plague, masked men entering banks are traditionally looked upon with disfavor by bankers. Alas, what strange times we live in.
Of course, the weather is supposed to be bad tomorrow so I might wind up cancelling the whole project, which will feel as though I have cancelled an expedition to Mt. Everest.
Sunday, March 29, 2020
A word that has become almost intolerable in the last few days is “epicenter”. The word has a specialized meaning in geology but is otherwise identical to the word “center”. Apparently some journalists think that “epicenter” adds vim and verve to their articles, that an ‘epicenter’ is somehow more than a center, as if such a thing were possible. If these miscreants feel the need to adorn their feeble prose with tinsel, maybe they should use “locus”. Grrr. Bah, humbug.
Monday, March 23, 2020
During the Egyptian Campaign (1799) plague broke out in the French army. To calm the growing panic the commanding general visited a hospital and touched a victim to show that not everyone would be infected. This event was immortalized by Antoine-Jean Gros in his 1804 painting "Napoleon in the Pest House at Jaffa". May we look forward to modern equivalents of this heroism amidst our current pandemic, perhaps "Trump Dines At A Restaurant," "Trudeau Shops for Toilet Paper," or "Macron Walks Outside His House"?