Blue Skies: Rooting for Meathead


by Vance Gutzman

COVID UPDATE: The Covid Grinch may have stolen all the joy and cheer, but did leave the repetition under the tree, and so it’s beginning to sound a lot like Christmas.

When people traditionally gathered in close quarters with each other in stores and other public spaces, including myself (though as far as public spaces go I’m a pretty small one) and the salutations “hello” or “how’s it goin’?” or “what are you lookin’ at?” are replaced by the two words “Merry Christmas.”

“Merry Christmas,” people say to each other, even if they’re not feeling merry themselves. Merry Christmas, Merry Christmas, Merry Christmas, Merry Christmas, ad nauseum.

And so it’s beginning to sound a lot like Christmas right now except that instead of gathering in close quarters, people now stand six feet apart from each other and greet each other with the two word salutation “stay safe.”

“Stay Safe,” people say to each other, even if they’re not feeling safe themselves. Stay Safe, Stay Safe, Stay Safe, Stay Safe, ad nauseum.

I’m sure a lot of people mean it, but I’m equally sure it’s become just an annoying catchphrase.

Which wouldn’t be so annoying if it wasn’t coupled with reminders posted everywhere on signage, radio and television commercials that I should frequently wash my hands.

Really? Have you seen my dog? He’s the size of a small horse, poops like one too, and won’t do his business in the yard, which is great in terms of spring clean-up, but what that also means is I have to walk him three times a day, apparently to get his bowels moving.

And because people in this town frown upon having my dog move his bowels on their front lawns, or even their back lawns (and let’s face it, people in this town frown upon a lot of things) I have to pick it up in a bag (my dog’s poo that is, not his bowels, because neither Justin Trudeau nor Doug Ford have announced any emergency pandemic financial aid packages, yet anyway, to cover vet bills for dropped bowels).

What that last bracketed sentence means I’m not sure, but what the words preceding it mean is that I carry bags of poo with me.

Every day. Sometimes for great distances.

And you’re telling me to wash my hands?

Save it for someone else, sister, because I was covid before covid was even cool.

Not that I’m symptomatic, though one of the symptoms of Covid (and I just can’t bring myself to call it COVID-19 in this space because wouldn’t that imply the World Health Organization had 18 previous kicks at the can to get this thing right?) is a runny nose and definitely have one of those because I’ve been snorting blow since the middle of friggin’ March just so I can stay awake while I’m waiting in line at any given grocery store for my ration of toilet paper.

Still though, the wife, the dog and I are coping okay with the daily tedium, even though there’s absolutely nothing on TV anymore and I’ve watched so many Archie Bunker re-runs that I’m starting to root for the Meathead, while at the same time thinking to myself (because there are many times in a man’s life when he’s watching TV with his wife that he has to think some things to himself) that, man, Sally Struthers had a smokin’ hot body back in the day but, man, she really let herself go to pot.

I’ve got lots of pot, thanks for asking and your concern.

I’ve also got lots of beer to help me cope with this crisis as well but am afraid that once this whole pandemic has played itself out I may need to rent a U-Haul to bring all my empties back to the Beer Store, which is not and has not for some time now been accepting returns.

Because, you know, everyone’s gotta Stay Safe, even though a solid wall of empties fell on my head the other evening while I was bent down doing a line in order to psych myself up for the opening line to the theme song “Boy the way Glenn Miller played…”

Sure, you say, I could stream movies to alleviate the boredom but truth of the matter is I am a luddite and don’t know how to stream and never in a million years (by which time this whole pandemic will have played itself out) will you be able to teach me, unless there’s porn involved, in which case I’m willing to learn.

No, streaming for me was always something I did from the comfort of a rowboat.

Gently. Down.

Fortunately, though, the wife and I are voracious readers but unfortunately we’re starting to run out of books to read, on account of the Whistle Stop here in town closed its doors on account of the friggin’ covid.

I am currently reduced to reading a book (which I purchased, not sure why now), at said Whistle Stop before it closed, called “The Romanov Sisters – The Lost Lives of the Daughters of Nicholas and Alexandra.”

It’s non-fiction, about a foot thick and deadly boring (unless you were the last Tsar of Russia, in which case your life was probably pretty exciting, and though it didn’t exactly turn out the way you’d hoped it would, what are you gonna do?) and I’m hoping the Meathead makes an appearance in it soon so I can actually have somebody to root for.

About the only thing interesting about the damn book, really, is all the in-breeding.

From what I’ve been able to ascertain so far, every member of the European royalty back in the day (before people stayed safe) was married to either their first, second or third cousin, which may have made it easier to remember whose name to cry out in the throes of passion, but holy crackers, the health issues with their offspring.

That’s my COVID UPDATE. As things progress I’ll be sure to keep you posted.

In the meantime, stay safe. Or live dangerously. Or Merry Christmas.

Those were the days…

> First published in the NRT April 15. To get the NRT delivered directly to your mail box or inbox each week, subscribe here.