No Holds Barred: Covidly speaking

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It’s been three months and look at the Covid vocabulary I have learned: droplets, whistleblower, peak, spike, curve, ventilators, stimulus, revenge shopping, zooming, webinar, pre-existing and now … “UNMASK!”  I was just getting used to “mask.”

The new terminology has been nonstop. Way back then I thought “social distancing” had to do with STD’s.  Now we have bigger boundaries to guard.

And every week is a new retail bankruptcy.  First it was Neiman’s, then J.Crew, Gap and Penney’s, now we have rumors of Kohl’s.  It used to be called the shopping mall apocalypse — now it seems bigger.  Too many stores with too much inventory, too many choices, delivery at the wrong seasons, discounted too fast. And biggest of all: not that much creativity or real merchandising anymore.  And add the success of online access and Amazon to that mix and down you go.  That’s life!  Will department stores be missed?  Probably not.  Online will save it all … or so the industry thinks.  As it is, TJ Maxx is the store of the moment — but so is Target and Costco.  Time will tell.

The new GOLD. I wouldn’t trade this for anything at the moment!

Meanwhile my shopping interest is all about the jumbo tubs of Clorox Ultra wipes which are just hitting the Safeway shelves again this week. Wipes are the key new luxe item — more precious than gold! A pal gave me a container last week and his name and number have now replaced my drug dealer on my phone “urgent contact” list (below my doctor!). People and priorities have changed in times like this.

Lately aren’t we all wondering how much is enough?  Frugality may become the new cool. As many people really look at their finances for the first time in a long time. What’s going in and going out and how to support a leaner and meaner lifestyle. Consuming “lotsa stuff” is gone. “Minimal” is no longer a “look,” but it is a way of life.  And having done three months of isolation — what activities are really worth it?

We’ve now learned “down time” may be the base line.  “To-ing and fro-ing” fiscally and physically is a drain. Leave your wheel spinning on the Peloton, if you can afford it. As writer Jane Barratt ponders, “Will the restaurant loving foodies who once used their fridges for booze and nail polish storage continue with their newfound cooking skills and eat more at home?  Will avid movie goers be okay with streaming content instead of regular multiplex visits?”

Notorious homeopathic potion — a MUST for many natural healers.

And will we reach out and really help support our favorite independent small businesses who have suffered and might be wiped out?  Clearly it is a new landscape — no time to reminisce how it was in the good old days of 12 weeks ago. Buckle up!

I started asking people about their current “rescue remedies” they acquired in the lockdown. By the way, there is an actual homeopathic potion called “Rescue Remedy.” I tried it  to the point of overdosing for a week and felt nothing.  Back to Vodka and Ativan … “as needed.”

I am not a cannabis edible or vape person, but I did invest in a pot stock a year ago, and that semi-tanked! Apparently the vape controversy, and slow level of marijuana legalization has flatlined that rising curve. I still have friends who swear by their CBD/THC combos and I have others who have boxes of Chateau Margaux wine stacked up in their shower stalls.

The Queen’s rescue remedy

Apparently, Queen Elizabeth attributes her strength in getting thru the virus and last flu season to her daily tablespoon of Raw Wedderspoon Manuka Honey. It’s made in New Zealand and the Prime Minister of New Zealand gave her a jar.  While everyone was flatlined with the flu, Her ‘Maj” was out and about working her public lines with a spring in her step.  I want what she has and it’s available on Amazon!

Then you have Nancy Pelosi who was thrilled at her San Francisco freezer full of Talenti Gelato double Dark Chocolate Chip. No wonder she was a bit delayed in getting to D.C. for her congressional vote last week?!

Here was my recent rescue remedy … last week (every week is another “theme”) I decided all news was toxic. I was sick of streaming spy movies or “Law and Order” shows. Old sitcoms are almost too sad. Though I deeply appreciate the need and effort to communicate at this awful time, I cannot see another professional dancer or musician performing from their living rooms with their cats on their shoulders.  Face it, we are now a tough audience and we have seen it all and bore easily. Compassion is important but we are CRANKY!!

Who better to go to than the king of aggravation and crankiness, Jerry Seinfeld! Seinfeld’s new Netflix standup is called “23 Hours to Kill” and it is his first one in 23 years. He is now 65 (perfect crank age) and this was filmed last March — pre pandemic. Some critics have been brutal about the show, calling his comedy Mr. Generic, Mr. Gilded-cage billionaire bore.

Seinfeld — Perfection in pace and message.

I found him in the top of his form, especially seeing him from the current Covid era point of view.  Just his opening five minutes (after he does a James Bond over-the-top leap from a helicopter into the East River to get to his Beacon Theatre gig) hearing him bash being with annoying friends all the time. I loved his complaining of having to even get to his own “‘hyped up’ – not necessarily special event all “put together” so we could kill some time. Why do we bother? None of us really wants to be here. Nobody wants to be anywhere … nobody likes anything… that is why we are so on the move … we are always having to go “out” and hassle.  But then we have to get ‘back’.”

He hit on our pre-Covid life square in the face. Many of us were on a stupid whirl and never really landing anywhere and aggravated with all the meaningless social arrangements and obligations! As one reviewer observed, Seinfeld is “ruthlessly professional, deceptively effortless and comfortably familiar.” 

Jerry actually looked terrific in his perfect black suit and tie and he moved and spoke with the ease of Fred Astaire.  Honestly!  He is known to write impeccably like an essayist, and he delivers his lines with such finesse it is hard to believe he probably memorized it all into his DNA for weeks.  There wasn’t a dirty word or a single political reference. He had riffs on how “suck” and “great” are almost one and the same; pretentious cuisine, Las Vegas buffets as death sentences, Pop Tarts, iPhone addictions, and wife complaints.  It was 60 minutes of fast-moving perfection in pace and message.

I dumped out of stand-up comedy a while ago and have no idea what Comedy Central Network is up to. In the last three months, I haven’t found anything worth laughing at. The real news is more bizarre than watching SNL.  Randy Rainbow’s song parodies are genius but mostly just a healing sing-along. I’ve lost my comedy compass and no doubt my entire sense of humor. Our world has gotten so polarized no one can cut a joke about anything, so maybe it isn’t just me — the whole world has lost its sense of humor — and that’s catastrophic!

I saw Seinfeld as a safe way to come on “home.”  He’s not raw and confessional like Louis C.K., he’s not too Alter Kocker like Larry David (his co-writer of Seinfeld and a brilliant complainer as well); and he isn’t cutting edge or slick like Alan King used to be. Some call Seinfeld “too schticky” or “and old pro getting big laughs” (I’ll take it) or “too safe and ready to retire.”  I call it pitch perfect and I am retired.  Jerry rescued me since I actually laughed a lot and I got lost in his world for a 60-minute escape!

At one point in his show, a female audience member yelled out “I love you!” and Jerry’s response: “I love you and you love me, and we will never meet. My favorite type of intimate relationship!”  Indeed. And then he went on to say that after not wanting to go anywhere or be anywhere or like anything – his “favorite spot in all the world is right here, right now, doing this.”

It came through and he saved my day. What more could I ask … Covidly speaking.

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