The world doesn’t shut down for a grain of salt

A couple of friends of mine are still not on board with Covid19 veracity. Talking to them, they say, “You gotta take all this with a grain of salt. We don’t think this bigger than any other disease in the world.”

Insert: “more people die of the flu” claim.

Insert: “the media is blowing this out of proportion.”

Insert: “you’re falling for the hype.”

And, yet, the world has shut down. Not the USA. Not China. It’s easier to find where there are not cases than count the countries in lockdown.

As if it’s media hype that is triggering all the sheep to bury their heads in the sand. This information must be taken with a grain of salt?

Do all of my clients stop hiring me for grain of salt? How many of my friends are out of work or incredibly scaled back because of this grain of salt?

Do I apply for unemployment for the first time in 44 years for a grain of salt?

Grains of salt do not shut down country after country after country. I’d be remiss to claim a boulder of salt would do such a thing. But mountains of salt, yes.

This grain of salt conspiracy needs to end.

Risking my respiratory health is probably a bad idea


As a way to pass the time and to be constructive, Tina and I have decided to paint our house in North Carolina.

One of the first stages of the process was to remove cracked window glazing and replace it with new. To remove the old, I sat by the windows with a hair blow dryer and softened the old glaze enough to scrape it off. Dust and debris would kick up. I didn’t realize I should have been wearing at least a regular mask.

The next day, I could feel it in my chest. It burned. And there was a brief period of worry that I had the coronavirus. But the following day, it subsided.

Then we started moving again with painting with paint sprayers. I am personally working on ceilings and the eaves around the house which sends paint everywhere and it falls all over my face. In the mirror, my nose collected a ton of white boogers.

The next day, I could feel my chest burning again. Not a significant burn, but enough to cause concern again about Covid19.

Although a google search rendered many respiratory issue results for people doing exactly what I’m doing, i.e. painting with a spray gun.

Earlier this week, when I was ignorant about the process, I saw two painters’ masks at Home Depot. Probably an oversight after the president asked businesses to donate their masks to the government for hospital use.

Yesterday, they were gone. I’m going to do my best to create a larger barrier between me and the paint using old t-shirts or even boxer shorts. I left cold weather running gear in Chicago that could have been helpful during this mask shortage. Damn.

I was thinking a bit more about my post yesterday. I hope it didn’t come off too harsh against my religious friends.

I wish deeply that science and religion weren’t such enemies.

Part of me was thinking about the idea that religious folks are turning to that mindless trope that this epidemic is punishment from God for LGBT sins or secularization of the world, or Godlessness, or any number of “return to God” scenarios.

But what if it’s actually a call from God to simplicity. To get out of the mindless drudgery of 40, 50, 60, 70 hour work weeks and spend more time at home with family.

Maybe it’s an opportunity by God to give us a break from thinking life centers around one’s job and more about one’s health and the health of others.

Maybe our emphasis is on the wrong life living. Maybe our priorities at church, school, and work need to be re-directed to something else. Politics need to take a back seat. Quiet the world around us to the birds chirping, and stop blasting the atmosphere with all of our pollution and superfluous industries that don’t matter in the long run … but our relationships with our loved ones do.

Even though I can’t see and touch my family, we’re talking almost every day. Tina and I get more time together.

Can’t any of us agree that that is bringing people closer to God?

I wish that the fire and brimstone, this is a punishment, return to God folks would reevaluate their messaging and look at this not as hurting their pocketbooks or their collection plates, but reimagining what is good, honest and loving.


A letter from F. Scott Fitzgerald Quarantined in 1920 in the South of France during the Spanish Influenza Outbreak

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Dearest Rosemary, 

It was a limpid dreary day, hung as in a basket from a single dull star. I thank you for your letter.

Outside, I perceive what may be a collection of fallen leaves tussling against a trash can. It rings like jazz to my ears. The streets are that empty. It seems as though the bulk of the city has retreated to their quarters, rightfully so. At this time, it seems very poignant to avoid all public spaces. Even the bars, as I told Hemingway, but to that he punched me in the stomach, to which I asked if he washed his hands. He hadn’t. He is much the denier, that one. Why, he considers the virus to be just influenza. I’m curious of his sources. 

The officials have alerted us to ensure we have a months worth of necessities. Zelda and I have stocked up on red wine, whiskey, rum, vermouth, absinthe, white wine, sherry, gin and lord, if we need it, brandy. Please pray for us. 

a poem: small kindnesses

I’ve been thinking about the way, when you walk
down a crowded aisle, people pull in their legs
to let you by. Or how strangers still say “bless you”
when someone sneezes, a leftover
from the Bubonic plague. “Don’t die,” we are saying.
And sometimes, when you spill lemons
from your grocery bag, someone else will help you
pick them up. Mostly, we don’t want to harm each other.
We want to be handed our cup of coffee hot,
and to say thank you to the person handing it. To smile
at them and for them to smile back. For the waitress
to call us honey when she sets down the bowl of clam chowder,
and for the driver in the red pick-up truck to let us pass.
We have so little of each other, now. So far
from tribe and fire. Only these brief moments of exchange.
What if they are the true dwelling of the holy, these
fleeting temples we make together when we say, “Here,
have my seat,” “Go ahead—you first,” “I like your hat.”

—”Small Kindnesses,” Danusha Laméris