Touching your face is just what happens
Today I touched my face thirty-five thousand two hundred and seventy-eight times. I counted them. I did. Following the five-second rule, I ate a piece of shortbread cookie that I’d dropped on the floor and I drank cold coffee out of someone else’s cup. I guzzled milk out of the carton with my lips clamped around the spout, where it says open this end, sneezed into the spout, then put the carton back in the fridge.
Proceeding to the bathroom, I surreptitiously picked my right nostril, touched the bathroom door knob with my bare hands, then spent some time examining a blemish.
I squeezed the blemish until it popped, then I rubbed my eyes.
I brushed my teeth, and I’m not one hundred percent certain I didn’t use the toothbrush that’s dedicated to cleaning around the hinges of the toilet seat.
Having brushed my teeth, I went to the kitchen, licked my index finger and picked up off the counter, then ate, some crumbs of shortbread; then I made a big batch of mayonnaise from scratch, using raw egg yolks, while smoking.
How am I not dead? I’m like an idiot savant walking across the Don Valley Parkway in a state of blissful ignorance, looking straight ahead as the vehicles miss me by a hair’s breadth.
DID YOU KNOW: Being a white guy protects you against COVID-19
BECAUSE BEING A WHITE GUY PROTECTS you from everything: homelessness, being dumped by your girlfriend on a rainy Sunday afternoon, any negative emotion except anger, and coronavirus.
White guys think optimistic thoughts, like, I’ll probably get the job instead of the black dude; and everyone likes me more than the Muslim guy who is going to bomb something; and I have a nice house.
I’ll probably get a couple more nice houses! Then I’ll always have a clean one handy.
Either the white guys are optimistic because they always win, or they always win because they’re optimistic. They should do a study.
Trump had the coronavirus test. Millions of Americans can’t be tested, but Donald jumps the line. What’s the point of being Prez, you just know he’s thinking, if you can’t jump the line? That’s what clout is—a fancy, guy-talk word for privilege.
In Canada, the protocol is no testing of the asymptomatic; Trudeau therefore has not been tested and has not pulled strings to be tested. Canadians take a dim view of people being more equal than others.
CHRYSTIA FREELAND, DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER and effectively running the country for the time being, leading with a persona and voice that are “forceful but not frantic, intelligent but not incendiary” is the star of the moment.
But I’m not surprised. She’s taken down Saudi Princes over the oppression of women, and the US President over his “security concerns” prompting tariffs, without losing her cool composure. Tackling one more nasty piece of unnecessary genetic material should be second nature by now.
Says the LA Times:
She won credit globally for speaking out in favor of the liberal international order — perhaps the only prominent North American official to do so — and she was not shy about the importance of using military force.
“Of course it must be a last resort,” she told the broadcaster CBC last year. “But I really believe in this moment today — when … there are many threats to the liberal international order — it is precisely the democracies, it is precisely the countries that stand for values and human rights that also need to be ready to say we are prepared to use hard power when necessary.”LA Times, Apr 2, 2020
She’s our very own Nancy Pelosi, and there’s nothing I want to do more than to head out in my church clothes and lunch with those ladies.
Freeland is a politician of international reputation, a distinguished and influential author, a mother. Iron fist in a velvet glove. She is Canada’s Deputy Prime Minister, the second in command. We accomplish in the blink of an eye, effortlessly, what the US fails to accomplish in the past five years of non-stop campaigning, division and dirty tricks: a female political leader showcasing her brilliance at the highest levels of responsibility.
Canada fucking rocks.
BUT GETTING BACK TO NASTY infections: Trump was swift to brand this virus the “Wuhan” virus. (This means that we will never hear him say the word “virus” without “Wuhan” ever again, compare “crooked Hillary.”) Great care was taken by the scientific community to brand the disease the virus causes COVID-19, a neutral identity, unrelated to race or nationality.
But Trump can’t conceive of any interaction that’s not “them versus us,” the real people versus the fake, good people versus bad. White people wouldn’t have caused this, is what he’s telling us. Chinese people are verbally abused and assaulted as a result.
Trump tries to pressure the manufacturer 3M not to sell N95 medical grade respirator masks to Canada. Now, the guy has to look out for Americans, I understand that. But he also has to make everything into a battle that he wins.
He couldn’t just pick up the phone, could he? Be a mensch?
“Hey Justin, how’s Sophie doing? And the kids? Let’s sort out this respirator mask business, can your people work with my people and get this moving? We’re all in this together.”
Nope. Authenticity, the simple human touch minus the bombast, is not in his repertoire. His tsunami of ego, thundering across his twiny self-esteem, even twinier than his twiny hwands, is still smarting from Justin’s words, Justin’s push-back, Justin’s refusal to rise to the bait.
Donald drops the bombs; Justin puts out the fires, grows a beard for extra gravitas and pulls on a new pair of polka-dot socks.
Justin is everything Donald isn’t: intellectual, calm, contained, suave. A little too suave at times, but we’re not complaining, much. Justin apologizes.
Canadian trolls and Conservatives and the odious Maxime Bernier—who is absolutely not gay—are trying to politicize Trudeau’s every utterance and act. They don’t realize that partisanship is not appreciated right now, that they come across as bullies, or, even worse, spiteful towards Canadian heroes—that is, if any one is paying any attention at all to their childish sulks.
Chrystia Freeland polishes the optics until they gleam, referring to Doug Ford as “my therapist”! Her response to the pandemic, part of her plan, is to make nice to the most detested provincial leader next to Alberta’s Jason Kenney. This is all about parachuting into enemy territory, then asking, “How can I help?” This all about the sublime holding hands with the ridiculous.
A Twitter-ette is aghast that Trudeau is taking up Jeff Bezos’ offer of logistical help. Yes, Amazon is a parasite on the retail market, yes, Bezos won’t be satisfied until he has a monopoly on every nook and cranny of every market that sells any good or service to anyone; yes, Bezos pays no tax because—his business model eschews profits and focuses on revenue; yes, his workers are just stand-ins until the AI robots are ready to be deployed.
Yes, but lives are at stake and if the big, bad wolf offers warehousing and deliveries—you take his paw and skippity off to grandma’s nursing home, grateful for the help because otherwise people will die. To my immense satisfaction, someone else took her to task, saying,
“You sound like a Bernie supporter.”
I knew exactly what he meant: petty, dull, self-absorbed, illogical; childishly unwilling to compromise the little principle for the greater good.
“No, thank you, evil Jeff Bezos! Because you are mean to your employees and are a rapacious capitalist we scorn your tainted help! We’ll tell the old folks’ families that their deaths were not in vain!”
Don’t eat cold food!
JEEPERS! COLD FOOD IS ONE of the worst things you can indulge in when you’re trying to stay virus-free. Think of what cold food means: ice cream. Eat cold ice cream and the corona virus is lured in. Even non-living entities made up of coils of RNA (raspberry-nougat-almond) and DNA (Dutch chocolate-nectarine-anise, which is European) adore ice cream. The usual strains normally prefer vanilla, chocolate or strawberry; of course, there’s the odd retro-virus that likes pistachio and tutti-frutti and rum-raisin. The kind of viruses your Dad would have liked!
Tell your wife or girlfriend to serve you food that’s hot! And if you don’t have a little lady to take care of the food preparation, just keep microwaving the ice cream, ten minutes on “high.” You got it, bro! Hit me some, c’mon!
Don’t overload your body with nutrients
NUTRIENTS ARE WAY TOO DEMANDING. One week it’s acai berries, then it’s Omega-3 fatty acids, then anthocyanins. If it’s not strawberry socialism it’s blueberry Bolshevism! My friend says there’s a vibration that will protect you from the coronavirus, and just think of the money and time that could be saved if only my friend could remember who told him! Or I’ll just eat a mango.
It’s time to put nutrients in their place. Replace nutritious food with, for example, Pop Tarts. I’ve eaten virtually nothing but Pop Tarts for the past two weeks, and already I’m going to the bathroom less. Yes, not at all is less. I hope to completely give up that total waste of time, sitting-on-the-john-in-the-bathroom boondoggle, and, the way things are going, in approximately three more days, I’ll just explode anyway.
Done! Gimme another Pop Tart, and slather some Nutella on that sucker! Just stick it here, in the crater where my stomach used to be!
Confession: I had never eaten, if that’s the word, a Pop Tart before. But I remember that pop tarts were part of the invasion of space food in the fifties and sixties. Those decades were hopeful and focused on the future, and the future was going to be super neat, if not downright spiffy. Now that we’d killed a dog by shooting it up into space in a rocket pulled by visible strings, there seemed to be no limit to our useless imaginations.
These tools called computers were going to be in every home that had a garage the size of a railway car and its own source of electricity, and they were going to relieve us of the doldrums of work. We would then spend our time in our bathing suits by our swimming pools.
Such a persuasive dream that no one ventured to ask exactly where our money would come from so that we could give up work and live like three hundred million Gina Lollabrigidas vacationing in Monaco.
One day we woke up and food was gone. Goodbye to braised beef and roast chicken and fresh vegetables and home made fruit pies, because, Sputnik. Food, nutrients, the boondoggle! You can’t build a rocket in the spare time that exists between shopping, cooking and cleaning up after home-cooked meals. That would be madness!
There aren’t enough women to do all that housework and cook all that food and service all those menfolk—while wearing full-length calico and popping Valium to deflect suicidal ideation—in, like, the Universe!
And you can’t have raspberry pies or hamburgers or fish sticks floating in front of your atomic degromulator! That would be chaotic!
Computers were longer coming than we thought, but while waiting we did have astronaut food. Astronaut food came in powdered form and in small packets. Real food was the size of a house compared to Tang, an orange beverage only in color, and Carnation Instant Breakfast, an inferior chemical-laced quasi-milkshake that contained absolutely every nutrient you needed that was in the glass of milk you added to the powder.
Pop Tarts are a revelation. What happened to my life? They taste like an old Peak Freen cookie that’s been run over by an eighteen-wheeler, then rubbed over your grandfather’s asshole when he mistook the waistband of the trackpants he’s been wearing for six weeks for his pocket. With marshmallows.
Putting them in the toaster lifts them from unappealing to dangerous when, like me, you think that, because they have icing on them, you’re supposed to leave on the silver paper covering that keeps them “fresh.”
Whatever “fresh” means with respect to something assembled in a factory by a bunch of mechanical arms.
Bad food is a comforting companion if your dog is circling Alpha Centauri
YESTERDAY I STARTED MY EVENING MEAL WITH shortbread, followed by a coulis of cream cheese frosting. No need for cake! I washed this down, always my favorite turn of phrase for mindful eating, second only to “chunky soup” and “sliders,” with semi-frozen Fresca, “the 1970’s drink.”
Fresca is, yes, a grapefruit-flavored soft drink from the seventies. This reflects our values of the time: hard work, dedication and sacrifice that only grapefruit could embody, especially considering the cancer risk of Aspartame, or is it Alzheimer’s.
I’ve spoken countless times, OK, once, about the discovery of the pink grapefruit, a major highlight of my drab, small-town childhood where the most exciting thing to do was find an old blanket, invite the little girl next door to join you underneath it and compare your genitals. And that’s when you were sixteen! Hey, why don’t you have one?
My mother would buy jars of grapefruit segments that looked like the pictures anti-abortion protestors fasten to their placards with a Glue-Stik. We would eat these pulpy embryos, sip the acrid, mouth-abrading juice and squint as we cried. We could have triumphed, if only we had known what the battle consisted of.
Make a Fresca slushy or Fresca sorbet: Put the biggest fucking bottle of Fresca you can find in the freezer until it’s frozen solid. Run the neck of the bottle under the tap, twist off the top and point it at someone who can take a little tease, because that sucker’s gonna squirt like twenty Jenna Jameses having their g-spots finger-pounded by half the guys on Fraternity X.
Fresca! The nineteen-seventies drink!
Now anyone can be a hero
DUG-UP FORD, THE SUPPURATING, PUSTULE-COVERED reincarnation of his gloriously dead brother, Rob, is now a mash-up of Winston Churchill and Pierre Trudeau (accept no substitutes) because he’s been competent for two weeks. He’s become a hero faster than we can lower our standards.
I hope you’re afraid.
I do. I want you to feel what I felt, every second of your life, until this is over.
Who will be next? Will it be me?
I hope you think of your isolation now and then think of those of us who lay in hospital beds abandoned by family.
Must be their lifestyle. Serve ’em right. Victims, not innocent.
I hope you shed a thousand tears for every one I shed for every friend who died and I hope you have an hour of fear for every second you delayed your response because it was just a bunch of queers that god was punishing.
But I don’t hope you or your loved ones die. I won’t cross that line.
Dougie a hero? Please. Dougie is not very smart, but he’s smart enough to know how much he’s despised in this city, for cuts to essential services. These cuts have made millions of people poorer, less well educated, less healthy and ultimately more vulnerable. Here, once again, is the list (click to view in a new window) :
So please don’t tell me what a hero Doug Ford is. His two-week stretch of pink, sweaty panic doing duty for competence is like your child’s macaroni picture that you stick to the fridge—wonderful, but only for a six-year-old.
And after reconsidering, let me cross that line. I have a long memory, and a preferred fate for politicians like Doug Ford. I will say that politicians who build societies, who defer to science and scientists, who serve all the people they represent, are the politicians whose legacies will continue to enrich society long after they’re gone. They are the leaders who will earn our love and gratitude for generations, who will be part of history.
I’ve used enthymeme in the above statement: that rhetorical device I explained in Part One, in which a key part of the logic is deliberately omitted, thus encouraging the listener or reader to complete the picture for themselves; to think actively of who is not described and what’s not expressed.
The elephant in the room, you might say.