Last week I got sick. Not from a flu or the Corona virus, but from virus over-protection syndrome. I took too many Zicam Zinc tablets and Immune Support drinks and ended up beyond nauseated. Not to mention the elaborate choreography I had to do in every public bathroom; singing “Happy Birthday” twice while washing my hands and then finding a towel to dry, and then switch off faucets, lights, and get the door handle only to get stuck with the dirty towel for lack of a trash can.
Forget the fist bumping, toe tapping, and wearing gloves to pump gas and screen swipe and handle money. I’m over the gloves. Not dealing with people is actually fine by me — self isolation has its moments. As for not touching my face or hair? There is only so much self-involved body time in a day.
And now I am sick of my Walgreens drug store even though for the last month it became my favorite place to go — aisles of flip flops mixed with suppositories, chocolate bars, nose drops, vitamins and dog toys. Plus, the check-out was filled with people giving their virus updates. Perhaps artist Roz Chast portrayed “drugstore obsession” best in her recent Duane Reade cartoon tribute sung to the music of “Strangers in the Night.”
Let’s not forget Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s great line “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself — nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance.” But he said that in 1933, and now it is hard to heed that message amidst today’s constant social media churn with hourly updates of Corona deaths. Not to mention everyone Facebooking their own fears and warnings like don’t drink Corona beer and stop petting and kissing your dog. Face it — we lost our grip on this a long time ago.
I remember the days after 9/11 people were scared of another attack. Like how we stopped traveling and going to malls. When we did return to life, we were on a constant “lookout” for any strange bag left in an odd place. Or being on the alert for young middle eastern bearded men in black hoodies. Now every guy wears a black hoodie and has a beard. It’s called “terrorist chic.” Eighteen years ago, we had an actual scary target. Now we are fearful of ourselves and the air of “droplets” we breathe. A much tougher demon!
It seems to be 50/50 how people are handling this. My friend in NYC has become a prepper (different than a hoarder) and has stocked up on cases of water, cans of tuna and Campbell soup, toilet paper, diapers for her aging husband, and all prescriptive drugs made in China. Her living room looks like an Amazon warehouse. My local Costco is just empty of hand sanitizer — from which I got severe dermatitis due to the high alcohol overuse — but nothing else.
Meanwhile, most of the college kids are still going to Ft. Lauderdale for their raucous Spring Break and my local baseball Spring Training is in full homerun swing. So, you could say that group is living out of the theory of “feel the fear and do it anyway.” Good for them!
Personally, I am semi-stuck in the “cross-feathers” of this Black Swan attack with my vodka mixed with Echinacea cocktail while looking at Biden’s dementia, Bernie’s burnout and my portfolio tanking. And my motto (now that everyone has one) is “This too shall pass” and pass the booze as alcohol will kill anything.
But we all have to get a bigger picture on this new level of March Madness. After all, we have been globally shaking and quaking for the last 6 years (before Trump). Interestingly, in the last ten days of this Corona crash and burn, there have been other “medical” news that have happened. Oprah took a massive fall on stage during her “20/20 Vision Tour.” She survived all right and blamed it on her killer kitten heel shoes. That will put the end to the kitten heel popularity and watch Oprah appear in $2000 Balenciega sneakers from now on.
Two days later, 61-year-old Madonna fell off a chair in her “Madonna X” Paris show and had to be carried off the stage — where she tearfully announced she will cancel the rest of her European Tour and concentrate on healing her hip and knee injuries. Well, hallelujah, we finally get a nice long break from THE aging dominatrix! Getting old is hard to re-invent after a while.
Hollywood has taken a hit recently. Not only were the Oscars ratings awful — but the new James Bond film aptly titled “No Time to Die” and Disney’s blockbuster “Mulan” have both been postponed. The Disneyland theme parks are still “on hold.”
But never mind that entertainment news — I thought the real sign of the times Hollywood story was about Steven Spielberg’s 23-year-old daughter Mikaela announcing she was working on becoming a porn star and getting her state strippers license. She stated she “got really tired of being told to hate her body and of not being able to capitalize on my body… I also got tired of working day to day in a way that wasn’t satisfying to my soul. I feel like doing this kind of work — I’m able to satisfy other people and that feels good because it’s not a way that makes me feel violated.” Her parents Steven Spielberg and Kate Capshaw are apparently fine with this “empowered choice.” How high-minded for all of them and I wonder what hand sanitizer Mikaela is using.
Meanwhile the Pope is recovering from his basic flu infection while the Corona Virus cases mount up in Rome. He does say he is now taking some private meetings — but is anyone actually kissing his ring?? And speaking of Popes, HBO ‘s series “The New Pope” with John Malkovich and Jude Law both playing popes in the modern era directed by today’s Fellini, Paolo Sorrentino is something!
If you need to stay home then watch this magnificent series which is beautifully written, costumed, and directed (with both these actors born to play these roles), be sure you watch both the first season (called “The Young Pope”) and this season (“The New Pope”). You will get a gorgeous eye- and an ear-full of real corruption and elegant deceit on the loose.
And as for everyday corruption and evil and isolation, there is news that Harvey Weinstein scored a large cell — kind of a suite at Rikers Island. He has his own bed, bathroom and TV. That is till he is sentenced — then accommodations may change. Jail might become the new Hollywood!
And speaking of freedom from sickness and evil, what would actually become of us if freedom of speech gets threatened like last week’s announcements that Hachette Book Group will not publish Woody Allen’s new memoir “Apropos of Nothing.” This decision came from the widespread outrage and protest via Author and Allen’s “son” Roman Farrow as well as a large group of Me Too Hachette employees.
Apparently, Allen remains a controversial figure due to child molestation allegations made by his daughter Dylan Farrow. Even though he was legally cleared of those charges and he has every right to tell his story! Author Stephen King weighed in immediately after the publisher’s decision by condemning Hachette Book Group for dropping Allen.
“It makes me very uneasy. It’s not him; I don’t give a damn about Allen. It’s who gets muzzled next that worries me… once you start, the next one is easier.” Another nail in the publishing business’s coffin.
So, what are we left with in these extremely disturbing unprecedented times. One notorious doctor warned me very succinctly “Just remember — nobody knows shit.”
But I would rather end with the Queen of England, who at 93 (amidst a severe Corona Virus outbreak in England) insists on going out and about (except for her garden parties) to meet and greet her people (who cares about Harry and Meghan at this point). And all with her own gloves on.
As her personal secretary said, “She refuses to self-isolate … yet! She is strong as a Yak and wants to set that tried and true example of “Keep Calm and Carry On.”
Leave it to Liz!