I am sitting in my office with my dog Bandit. He and I have been in semi-self-quarantine for the past three months, which is difficult when you have six kids, 12 grandkids and your wife owns a dance studio where she is around kids and young people all day. I am in my mid-’70s with a medical history that suggests if I get the corona virus, the odds are not in my favor. But I do not expect the youngsters (Cathy just turned 60 and is in great shape) to shut down their lives because of me; the bulk of the responsibility is mine. However, I do appreciate that they take basic precautions like wearing masks, social distancing and cleansing their hands with sanitizer.
Corona life is a bore, although I do have a nice lawn to show for it and thus far I’ve avoided “the Corona 15” (those additional pounds many people have put on due to inactivity and boredom-snacking). I used to follow politics, but I have largely given that up out of frustration. Once again, many voters are going to have to cast their vote for what they see as the least bad candidate. In Congress, the only thing the Republicans and Democrats can agree on is to keep pumping money into the economy before the election. I keep thinking “who’s going to pay for all this free sh*t?” There is a saying in economics: “there ain’t no such thing as a free lunch.” What is going to happen when the bill for this bailout party comes due? We are selling bonds to cover our debt. But that is kind of like charging things to your credit card and thinking that when you hit your limit, you’ll just get an additional credit card. Eventually your lenders perceive you as a credit risk and start raising your interest rate. (Note: the price of gold just hit $2,000 an ounce, a record high. When Nixon took us off the gold standard, the price of gold was $35 an ounce. By that measure, today’s dollar is worth less than two cents compared to the ‘60s.)
The big question: are the politicians making Americans more prosperous, or are they simply taking care of special interest groups and making the government more powerful?
Enough politics, back to my Corona life. I attend Zoom meetings a couple times a week, I go to medical appointments and occasionally I go into a grocery store or hardware store for yard supplies. When the kids come over to see Cathy, I just wave to them from a distance. I try to keep in touch by phone with my friends, most of whom are my age. But we usually end up talking about our ailments and deteriorating bodies and that just makes me more depressed.
I suggested to Cathy when the quarantine began that we get a “corona project” so we would have something to show for all the time we were going to be hunkered down. (I thought it might be a month or two.) We love to travel and decided to learn a foreign language. We choose Spanish. Cathy is now on her 85th straight day on the Duo-linguo app on her phone. I spend a bit more time on it than she does and have built up a relatively extensive vocabulary in Spanish. But I have no one to speak it with. There are all these great travel deals, but who wants to travel? I sure don’t want to get the virus in Spain or South America and end up in a hospital there.
My oldest son, Michael, and middle daughter, Lexi, have asked me to help home-school their fifth grade boys. I home-schooled two of my sons when they were each in the fifth grade and it worked out very well. That was nearly 20 years ago. So, I have been researching curricula and educational resources on the internet and the programs and material that are available now are amazing. One boy I’m homsechooling lives in Westlake and the other lives near Lake Tahoe, so we’ll have to do Zoom lessons with him. But that should keep me busy in the mornings.
We still have our corona kittens that we rescued about six weeks ago. They are living in my garage. We renamed the male kitten Garfield because he is starting to get pretty fat; the female kitten we had to chase all over the house we still call Flash. But they can’t live in our garage forever. So if you know anyone who would like a pair of kittens, please let me know.
Below are some lyrics I put together for Johnny Cash’s “Folsom Prison Blues.” (If you don’t know the song, just Google it. That is what my kids would do.) I call it the “Corona Quarantine Blues.”
Corona Quarantine Blues
Sung to Johnny Cash’s “Folsom Prison Blues”
I hear that waiter callin’, he’s callin’ out my name
But I ain’t seen a restaurant since I don’t know when
Cuz’ I’m locked inside my house, under quarantine.
Now that virus keeps a-spreadin’ all around the town.
I went to see the doctor, the doctor told me, “Son,
“Always put your mask on and stay away from fun.”
But I dropped my mask to party, now my Daddy’s gonna die.
When my family says it’s my fault, I just hang my head and cry.
I bet there’s rich folks sittin’ in a fancy restaurant
Eating charbroiled oysters, drinkin’ whiskey on the rocks.
But I know I had it coming, and now I’m quarantined
While my friends keep a-partyin’, and that’s what tortures me.
Well if this virus disappeared and I could go out again,
I bet I’d do this town up right and party ‘til it ends
Jammin’ on the dance floor, ‘til the break of day,
I’d let the music chase my corona blues away.