Am I the only one enjoying the pandemic?

This pandemic, while incredibly stressful, has been a welcome relief from a busy several years. When the economy slowed down in 2008, we lost 50% of our income in one year.

But on the plus side, Tina and I got into a rhythm of working out four to five times a week, often during the middle of a work day. We lost weight, got relatively healthy and enjoyed life in a way that I’m guessing only retirees might.

But then something turned in our world. The economy boosted. In early 2010, we had depleted our savings to almost nothing. Which as a conservative business owner, I was shitting bricks. I try to keep a bit of a nest egg for times of crisis. Thankfully, by the end of that year, it had bolstered back up over 900%.

So for the past 10 years, we enjoyed a steady work life and a comfortable income, but we also suffered from a unpredictable work load that seemed unending. My creativity deteriorated as a result. I was in a rut. And for years, I couldn’t seem to find the same amount of time to work on what I wanted to work on. It was all commissions.

I don’t believe humans were meant to work their entire lives only to finally get some respite in our 60s when we retire. We’re meant to have balance. We’re meant to enjoy life.

Tina and I LOVE the weeks when we can spend two or three hours in the middle of the day away from our computers. Gosh, there were months in which we didn’t see any work and we did NOT care.

Then the other people in my life were complaining about “Obama’s shitty economy.” I was like, “Wut?” Our income steadily rose during his administration. If anything, the current administration started hurting us as we saw a decrease in some of our work in 2018, again in 2019 and 2020, I’m guessing we’re going to drop way more than 50% like the crash of 2007/08.

But you know what? Fuck it. While the “get back to work” protests rage with covidiots, I’m thankful for a break. My creativity muscle is getting a jolt of good joojoo. My relationship with my wife is flourishing. My fun muscles are jacked up on steroids and my penis couldn’t be happier.

I love seeing the creativity that has blossomed out of others. The memes right now are so funny my sides hurt from laughter.

My biggest beef with this is how stress is manifesting into a couple too many beers every day for myself. But also the stress that seems to be crushing others into 5G madness or couples deciding now’s the time to split up in a bankruptcy-causing messy divorce and custody battle.

We social distanced a fireside chat with friends earlier this week, and it turned into a couple, male and female, berating us about 5G conspiracies and Bill Gates vaccine nutter butters and 800-page books written by real, bonafide doctors … that they didn’t read … but that wasn’t the point. The point is that it’s their “truth”. And their truth is that this pandemic is caused by 5G. And a simplistic, remedial understanding of basic biology is completely bullshit, because EVERYBODY KNOWS that radio waves caused the Spanish Flu.

“Where’d the Bubonic Plague come from,” I asked.

“That’s bacterial!!!” they shouted.

“We need to let natural selection take its course,” they continued.

“What about the other side of Darwinian theory of mutation?” I asked.

“This is our TRUTH, Jeremy! You can believe whatever you want to believe!”

“Well, I’m not buying it. I call it BULLSHIT. I’m fucking leaving.” And up I stood and fled in a furious cloud of anger in what can only be seen as a three year old temper tantrum. I sprinted almost a full 1/4 mile to get home, only to have Tina call me and yell, “You have the car key!

I returned to find Tina and Talulah at the end of their driveway waiting for my dumbfuck ass to return. I ran up the driveway to the car, started it, floored the pedal and shot gravel all over the place as I lost traction.

After I got an earful for abandoning my wife and dog and after I apologized profusely, I started running up and down our driveway. When that got old, I started running up and down a neighbor street that was about 1/4 mile up and down hill. I did that for a full hour and fifteen minutes which probably translated to around 5 or 6 full miles. The entire time, I shouted into the darkness: “Natural selection? Natural selection? You want my mom and dad to die, because you think herd immunity is the cure and you want to believe this is all caused by 5G? And you don’t want to wear a mask because it’s a metaphor for shutting our collective mouths? And you don’t watch the news, but you KNOW radio waves are at fault, but you have the latest iPhone in your pocket pumping you so full of the same goddamn waves you’re claiming is causing this shit?!!”

What the ever living fuck.

Then I couldn’t sleep.

Then I couldn’t let it go.

Suddenly I was struck with Turrets Syndrome. While doing any task from cooking to house painting, I suddenly blurt out things like,

Natural selection!?

Herd immunity?

This is all caused by 5G!

What the fuck! 

Holy shit, these two are loony toons.

Don’t preach at me!

“That’s our truth, Jeremy!” 

I may finally be calming down. It’s been four days.

It hasn’t ruined my pandemic joy, though. It just jolted it with 5 gazillion watts of “Holy moly guacamole, some people are nutter butter bombs of all the nuts.

Good thing I’m perfectly normal and have no faults whatsoever with solid views and am never, ever EVER wrong.

Now get off my lawn! 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Facebook City and its burgeoning delusional crazy sign people

You know how a feature of big cities is the ubiquity of people who protest to all passersby their delusions and supernatural ideas? They create signs and pack them with information. They shout at the top of their lungs or they roll a portable speaker connected to a microphone. They aren’t out there to be liked. They are out to share the “love”. The love of “truth”. The love of damnation. The love of steering the flock to their ideas. 

As a photographer, I’m fascinated by all people, but these in particular have a special place in my heart. How liberating to care less if they are perceived as odd. Their message is propagating, albeit, to closed ears. Their success has to be in the .001 percent levels.

They are in big cities, because the likelihood of marginalized people have a statistically better chance of surfacing. And if you look closely, they share a network of similar attitudes toward whether they are liked or not. They care more for their message than their appearance, or so they claim. They look in the mirror and the reflection staring back is the smartest, best looking, lover of truth they could ever imagine. 

People exist in rural settings, but their street corners aren’t as populated. And just like the debate falling trees in the forest, rarely do we hear their voices or read their signs.  

Then came along the burgeoning city of Facebook. It first populated by adolescents wanting to judge people aesthetically. Then families and adults migrated into the suburbs of Facebook City as it became a sprawling metropolis. They came also to judge and be judged. It became a place to share, to be jealous, and to writhe with envy when you discover that friend from kindergarten owns a gorgeous million dollar home, a gated mile long driveway, drives 10 really nice cars, has a perfectly gorgeous spouse, and three perfect children. They have 100s of friends who share funny stories and anecdotes. 

Then people friended people with oppositional ideologies as theirs. In real life, they would bypass engaging in politics, science or religion conversations. And if they did engage in controversy, common ground was easier to find. But in Facebook City, those social mores vanished. The culture of armchair theologians, wannabe scientists and know-it-better-than-the politicians grew in numbers networked and cultivated likemindedness. 

Then people with hard-to-read signs emerged. Holding their signs higher and higher. Longer and longer. In Facebook City, the size of one’s sign can be as large as he or she wanted. They claimed they don’t care if they’re liked. They, and they alone, hold the truth. Their information is the right information. Their minds are the ones that matter. The sheep follow the rules. But they aren’t sheep. They are the shepherds. Hear their voices and heed their guidance. 

And the populations of sheep-y people glance over at them, and they walk on. Just like in every city. Because, you know, coo-coo. 

And the hustle bustle continues. 

And I stand there, fascinated by them. Staring. Thank you, Facebook City, for finally allowing me to approach them and talk. It’s kind of fun. 

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. 

Life in quaranTina-land. It’s the Jeremavirus!

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Tina-beans and I are doing our best to stay quarantined-ish. We drove down to North Carolina a week ago last Thursday and we’re hunkered down here until this whole Covid-19 thing blows over … if it ever does.

Our current goal is to paint the house. When we bought it a year ago, we concentrated our renovation efforts on the interior. We redid the kitchen, the bathrooms, painted throughout, ripped up the carpet and opened up the dining room into the living room.

Just before all of the shit hit the fan, we reached out to a painter for an estimate to paint the entire house. He was going to charge us $4500 minus materials. Continue reading “Life in quaranTina-land. It’s the Jeremavirus!”