Citizens Report American Irish Culture

Danahey NOT on the Loose: A Coronavirus Chronicle

Welcome to my not-so-novel coronavirus chronicle. It’s just like Narnia, sans the lion, the witch and the wardrobe.

How are things in your little corner of the quarantine, your safe space shelter-in-place?

I’m fortunate enough to have a 5-year-old serving as my life coach through all this.

Life coach Lily says to wear gloves!

She’s way better than the dimwits you find on the internet. But one example: Gwyneth Paltrow, the award-winning actress who now hawks the Goop line of overpriced crap for rich white women, including a candle that smells like her lady parts.

One of her goopy buddies was spreading wackadoo theories about the pandemic not being caused by a virus and somehow being linked to a pro-vaccination group. Jonas Salk had been part of the Illuminati, right? 

Fittingly, Gwyn died in the movie “Contagion.” She played Patient Zero. Typecasting.

A more realistic sort, my life coach Lily constantly reminds me to put my phone away – unless we’re going to look at photos. It’s a distraction from what she has to say. 

She lets me know where I left my hat so I can put it on when we go for walks. Lily’s folks helped her bake her first cake. With unicorn sprinkles, naturally.  She shared, like a good life coach does.

Life coach Lily tells me if I am acting crazy. That can happen on walks.  Ever try minding two toddlers and a 60-pound dog who still can’t figure out what “heel” means with only one leash?

Yeah, I’m sheltering in place with best fest buddy Tom and his brood. You’re allowed to check on family in this current paradigm. I live just a few blocks away from them. They are literally and figuratively the closest I have to nearby kin.

I stay inside my own place alone most of the day and head to Tom’s for dinner, then back home. This way they know I’m alright. 

It gives me a chance to see if anyone has killed anyone at Tom’s. Imagine being holed up in a modest sized house with three tykes, three adults and a dog.

Oh, for the dulcet banshee calls of crying children, the sweet sounds of a snoring pit bull. Do they use telepathy or soft whispers to clue each other in on contributing to the cacophony?

The journey to Tom’s also gives me reason to put on pants. Otherwise, Winnie the Pooh and Porky Pig have been my fashion consultants. I’ve also been playing the home version of the so-called reality show, “Naked and Afraid.”

During these dreary, disorienting days, I long for what seemed a better time, which is to say February.

My sort-of cousin Shawn and the beer that might have made some dummies panic.

Remember how everybody shared memes about Corona beer? We all laughed at people stupid enough to think the beer caused coronavirus. That turned out to be fake news, which is spreading way faster that this pandemic.

Sure, there were those disturbing videos out of China the first few months this year.  But that seemed so far away. 

That distance condensed as the situation gradually turned into a life-altering pandemic. Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon wasn’t a game anymore. 

Little did we know how much more stupid there would be. Or what was and wasn’t the right thing to do during this bizarre, alarming, deadly outbreak.

It wasn’t until the first week of March that I saw my first social media post about people around here hoarding bottled water and toilet paper. The post was in a Facebook group for Naperville residents. 

Yes, the magical suburb of affluence and, soon, home to two Costcos. If nothing else, the post proved why that city desperately needs the duplicate big box store. It also offered evidence that economic status and education level don’t prevent irrational behavior.

That week there were news reports of how people weren’t going to Chinese restaurants and Chinatown. Lo Mein must be the root of this, as Chop Suey isn’t even Chinese to begin with. 

We supported our local Chinese place. The owner said people had told him they were afraid to place orders. They are temporarily closed now, hopefully not for good.

Chicago’s Chinatown is pretty much shut down now.

On a sunny Sunday (March 8) Chicago buddy Vince and I trekked to Wentworth and Archer avenues in the big city.

We hit Phoenix Restaurant for dim sum and picked it because I liked the Michelin Man sign in front. 

The Chinese grocery store carried all sorts of interesting items. I would have bought Tom some live prawns, but for how tough it would have been to get them back to the suburbs. Now we’re all like those prawns, but not quite as densely packed into one tank. 

Back to that pleasant Sunday in Chinatown. It was noticeably slow. Way slower than the packed restaurants in the suburbs I visited the Friday before that.

The Monday past that (March 9) I had a doctor’s appointment. His receptionist asked me if I had traveled anywhere overseas lately. Had I been exposed to anyone who might have coronavirus? (How the hell would I know, I thought).

I saw a nurse who interrogated me on my sometimes-less-than-stellar lifestyle choices. She left me sitting there, shirtless and pasty, like at the end of a bad date in Ireland.

Next, the doctor entered with his male assistant. The assistant dressed in skinny jeans and a sweater, like somebody out of the Archie comic books. 

The doc had on his lab coat, which is how I knew he was the doc. He shook my hand. That’s when I started to have to control my WTF facial expressions.  

I asked the doctor how worried we should be about the coronavirus reports. He left me with the impression he wasn’t too concerned at that point. Things were a bit overblown, he thought.

People should remain calm, he said. Take sensible precautions, like you would during flu season. During the exam, he coughed into one hand.

Oh, he also suggested I go on a plant-based diet and stop drinking any alcohol for a month per blood work he wants me to do and the stress test I was supposed to schedule.

Immediately after the doc left the exam room, I relaxed my facial muscles and sprang for the hand sanitizer. 

Even when there isn’t a pandemic, the coughing in the hand thing bugs me. Ask Tom. Way before this mess, I’d yell at him like I’m his mom when I saw him do that. Still do. He’s trying to be good lately. 

Later that week I had to see another doctor. This one also shook my hand. He felt the same way about COVID-19 (coronavirus’s rap name) as the other doctor. Again, I sprang for the hand sanitizer once he was out of the room.

Why do we shake hands anyway, especially with somebody who treats sick people for a living? 

But for a Ren Faire or a Roman bacchanal, why would you have a weapon up your sleeve? I know you can conceal carry. Diseases as well as a gun.

On a related topic, why do they let people use the same pen at doctors’ offices. Ick. The pen in this case could be way mightier than the sword.

Anyway, that week, news of NBA players coming down with the disease broke. Tom Hanks and his wife had caught the virus, too. 

Sports stars and celebrities in quarantine with coronavirus. It doesn’t get any more real than that!

On March 12, the NCAA canceled the men’s basketball and its other seasonal sports tournaments. Bars all over the country collectively wailed WTF?

Other sports leagues the world over postponed or cancelled games indefinitely, too, including the NBA, NHL and MLB. 

Pubs were relegated to showing games of all sorts from past seasons, documentaries on Larry Bird, highlights from world’s strongest man competitions and dudes racing down mountains on ice skates, not skis.

Businesses and other places where lots of people congregate started to shut down. 

On March 13 schools across Illinois closed. Penguins shuffled about the closed Shedd Aquarium, staring in wonder at all the species held in tanks. 

Frankly, rockhoppers are the only ones who should be using Tinder and other dating apps now. It’s mating season. Penguins have bird brains. What’s your excuse?

Some (but not all) people in authority strongly suggested keeping a social distance and avoiding crowds. Cities all over the world cancelled St. Patrick’s parades and celebrations because of coronavirus.

Still, people headed out in droves on March 14. Tom and I were among them. We promised to help our pals who own Rosie O’Hare’s during the St. Patrick’s festivities. 

I had mixed feelings being there. If it had been warmer, we were supposed to man the outside beer taps. I was going to wear latex gloves. Seriously. Instead, we worked the back door and occasionally bussed tables.

I washed or sanitized my hands a lot. My drink of the day was pints and pints of water, not Guinness, to stay hydrated. That means I did not hallucinate seeing a grown man dressed as Good Luck, the almost Irish Care Bear.

The crowd slowly built, ebbed and flowed. I told people coming in not to shake hands, to cough in their sleeves and to wash their hands. If they saw anyone coughing in their hands, they were to let me know and we’d ask them to leave. I wasn’t kidding.

Tom and I joked we were starring in a remake of “Shaun of the Dead”.

Tom, a leprechaun and I on March 14 – or filming the “Shaun of the Dead” sequel.

A big guy I know hugged me. He told me about the Italian Air Force doing a flight demo to boost that virus-beleaguered nation’s spirits.

My Cuddly Dudley buddy said the video of that gave him hope in humanity, in people pulling together during a time of crisis. While I agreed, I worried a bit about him standing too close to me and saliva droplets splattering my face.

Tom and I counted the number of times we heard certain songs. “Shipping Up to Boston”, “Come On, Eileen” and the touching me, touching you tune, “Sweet Caroline”, topped the charts. 

Some folks picked out more songs about touching or not touching. “Keep Your Hands to Yourself” was my favorite, a great bar song with the right message.

Which reminds. We need Weird Al now more than ever. I read he won’t do a coronavirus-related parody. But we must have new words for “You Can’t Touch This”, “Don’t Stand So Close to Me”, “Stand Back”, “I Will Survive”, My Sharona”, “All By Myself” ASAP.  

In fact, Tom’s commissioned me to turn “Hey 19” into “COVID-19”. Let’s see.  I’ll keep the “we can’t dance together” line. “That’s ‘Retha Franklin” not so much.

There are so many songs to adapt, originals to record that, at the very least, would remind and inspire people to wash their damn hands.

The few good musical efforts include this number from Vietnam  and one from this old guy who swears like an Irishman. Lizzo or Billie Eilish should make a dance remix version of the latter.

Weird Al, please don’t leave this important work to the amateurs! Or Madonna. End the ear worm torture that is the Baby Shark remix, Wash Your Hands

Anyway, as for March 14, I like to think a good many people realized this might be their last time going out for weeks, if not longer. But they go out in silly outfits every Saturday before St. Patrick’s Day. Who knows what people were thinking? 

It felt perplexing, helping my friends deal with an uncertain time for their business (and for everyone) while trying to spread a healthful message. Anyway, I’m pretty sure I heard 1999 off the TouchTunes jukebox at one point during the gathering.

After our shift, Tom and I headed to Woodman’s for groceries. No hysterical crowds. Supplies to be had in stock. 

Woodman’s had/has a huge liquor department with full shelves. Why were people hoarding toilet paper but not booze? Strange days, indeed. Please forgive me for quoting a Doors song.

Anyway, we found what we needed. I bought red wines with the word “head” in their names. Yeah, we’re immature suburban guys and don’t mind stooping to Beavis and Butt-head level humor. Also, redheads. #dadjoke

The grocery store had cordoned off its cash register area with caution tape in a way as to feed people into one large line. However, the self-check lanes were clear and open. 

At Tom’s suggestion, I did my good deed for the night. While Tom loaded groceries in the Navigator, I walked past all the people in the long line to tell them there was no waiting at the self checkout. That received quizzical looks from some, while about a dozen or so took my word for it and moved to the self check area.

Nobody was being too goofy. Trust me. I know Goofy, along with a good joke about him and Minnie Mouse.

Don’t you wish you could be an Irish Care Bear right now?

We made one more stop, to see our buddies at the Village Vintner, in large part to wish them well, whatever might happen.

The severity of it the coronavirus crisis hit my thick skull harder still overnight. I read an online article from a legit source about how bad things had become in Italy.

The next afternoon, Gov. JB (Jelly Belly) Pritzker announced he’d be closing all bars and restaurants across Illinois but for pickup and delivery service.

That happened a couple hours after I went to Sunday Mass by myself. It would turn out to be the last in-person service until further notice. The priest called those in the quarter-full church brave for being there. 

It didn’t feel brave keeping a polite distance from the kindly elderly woman who was there with her family in their usual pew in front of me. Elbow taps were the extent of physical contact.

At the service the week prior (March 8), I was surprised they were letting people drink out of chalices and had holy water stations full for the dipping.

These don’t seem like healthy things to do in the best of times. You don’t know where anyone’s mouth or hands have been!

Life carried on in limbo for another seven days or so.

I stopped going to the gym before those were closed. It seemed a good idea not to workout in a place where some people don’t wipe their sweat off exercise equipment. 

Sure, this meant all the toil I had put into building calves sexier than Tom’s might go for naught. It was a sacrifice I was willing to make. Unlike Rand Paul.

Voting on St. Patrick’s Day was odd. There was plenty of sanitizing going on and quite a few old people working the polling place, as per usual. 

One young adult subbed at the last minute, as many judges decided to stay home. Not that the job is rocket science, but he had not been trained.

Yeah, you could vote on March 17, but not be in a pub or restaurant. Just one of many mixed messages floating about.

I saw none of the ridiculous hoarding shoppers on my trips to the stores that week. Still haven’t. 

I have seen empty shelves in the TP, soup and beans aisles. So what if you might get gassy? They’re a protein source. 

Folks are buying up cold and flu meds, too. Maybe they’re making really low-grade meth. That might account why so many still stand or walk so close together in stores.

American’s don’t seem to be hoarding produce.

There was one woman shopper outside a Target the middle of that week. I saw the White Claw cans in her cart and joked she was going to need them. From 10 feet away, we got to talking about hoarding. I didn’t say anything about the huge package of toilet paper tucked away in the back of her SUV.

To this day there remains an abundance of produce in the stores I visit. Even in the worst of times, you can’t get Americans to eat their fresh fruits and vegetables.

Contrarian that I am, I have been snacking on bananas, oranges and apples the last few weeks. Eats have also included some plant-based frozen entrees to make my doctor – and my heart – happy.

I have not yet scheduled my stress test. Were all living one, aren’t we? I’ll stop drinking a month before the blood work.

I’m being extra kind to people I see working in stores or carryout places. They are risking getting very sick so we can shop for food, meds and other needed supplies. At their pay grades.

Along with grub, I bought Tom a new Wahl haircutting kit with my Kohl’s discount coupon before the mall closed. One of his grandkids looks like a sheepdog already.

Since the guv’s proclamation, we periodically order takeout from our usual haunts – the Village Vintner, Gyradiko and Rosie’s.

On our last day before the shelter-in-place edict, we hit Rosie’s for some very good deals on beers. To keep my strength up while being grounded, I need the iron from Guinness!

What I didn’t need was seeing a group of bicyclists riding side-by-side on a village road we travelled that day. It’s not enough that they wear those tight outfits. No, with a bike trail less than 50 yards from where they were, they stalled traffic and ignored recommendations for social distancing.

Don’t safe distancing rules apply to bicyclists?

That Saturday afternoon (March 21), we also brought a 17-foot-long canoe from some friends’ house to Tom’s brother’s garage. Our friends were in the midst of moving. The movers were going to charge them an extra $350 to take it.

The good news is the relocation is for a job in the bottled water business. What would normally be good news for gourmands Tom and me is the family headed to a suburb of New Orleans. Right now, that’s potentially bad news, as the area is one of the hardest hit in this country by the pandemic.

Plus, this is how things roll down in Louisiana: Our friends said the gas company wasn’t going to turn on their gas. Get this. The state had decided turning on gas service wasn’t an essential service. They had to work contacts for this to get resolved.

Along with Mardi Gras, that might explain the high rate of COVID-19 infection in NOLA. Who needs hot water during an outbreak, right?

The other good news was we hauled the canoe without incident. Remember, I once dropped a car on top of Tom. Accidentally, as far as I recall.

The bad news was, while the canoe is fine and stored, Tom spilled a bottle of white vinegar inside his Navigator, which may or may not have put part of the SUV’s electrical system on the fritz. 

Since the shelter-in-place edict, Tom’s dad has been locked down at his senior care living quarters, relegated to his room.

I posted about this on Facebook and Instagram. To keep the poor old guy happy, I suggested people send me jpegs of old pin-ups or Playboy centerfolds. We would make sure he received them, tape them to his third floor window, even. Thank you to those who obliged.

Speaking of social media, these are the best of times and worst of times to be using such platforms. 

Sure, you can stay in contact with your friends, share photos of you sitting indoors, out for a safe walk or of your wacky cat. It’s wonderful to have so much information in the palm of your freshly washed hand.

With the ongoing pandemic, you also encounter a wastewater treatment center’s worth of crap, crap that’s even more ignorant than usual.

Much of the nonsense is of the REO Speedwagon variety. That is, you heard it from a friend, who heard it from a friend, who heard it from a another about this, that and the other. 

Somehow, this compels you to share an unsubstantiated claim, something Paltrow-ish, like the healing power of crystals in the battle against coronavirus.

Lily and Izzy demonstrate social distancing.

It’s one thing if you post actual links so people with common sense can check your sources. It’s another if you type about home cures your Aunt Martha heard from her dog sitter who knows a doctor in Switzerland.

One of the wackiest rumors I’ve seen so far is that the government is spraying pesticide outdoors overnight to rid the country of the coronavirus. Makes perfect sense, right? A pesticide sprayed outdoors when most people are inside sleeping will stop the spread of a contagious viral disease.

You can read about other wackadoo, qwazy coronavirus conspiracy theories here and here.

Damn, people are gullible. 

Everyone knows the coronavirus hoax pandemic involves the makers of Poland Springs and Charmin, Bill Gates, the Koch Brothers, Paul Newman’s estate, a careful reading of Flaubert’s prescient novel, Madame Bovary, Netflix and Cher.  

They are all responsible for the death of Kobe Bryant, who was on to them. The clues are all in that new Bob Dylan ramble. A meme told me.

Stuck mostly indoors, as we go stir crazy, many if not most of us are feeling the stomp of the elephant-sized irony the internet plays in our lives. 

Before all this, when people were with each other, way too many of us were in our own orbits, staring at social media on our phones. Myself included. I’m so bad Tom currently bans me from looking at my phone when at his house.

Sheltering-in-place feeds this habit. At the same, we long for that time we could text and post in public, oblivious to our surroundings. 

The endorphins flow freely after a Facebook “like” from like-minded people. What can beat the rush of someone famous retweeting one of your witty comments? 

We need the internet now for important, obvious reasons. But, there’s all that shaming and whining to do. There’s all that misinformation to spread.

Imagine if something like social media had been around during World War II. On second thought, don’t. We would have lost.

That’s not to say there aren’t organizations and folks out there doing what they can in cyberspace to keep our brains from turning to jelly. 

Libraries are hosting online activities for kids and adults. Museums are offering virtual tours. Opera houses, symphonies, theaters, bands, comics and other entertainers have put free-to-view performances on the web. Basketball great Steph Curry interviewed Dr. Anthony Fauci.

You can listen to the soft core jazz of Kenny G with your significant other. That should lead tranquilize you both.

You can watch Patrick Stewart as Picard for free on the CBS streaming service until April 23.

Tom in disguise trying to trick the coronavirus.

Stewart’s also featured reading sonnets online. Hey, kids. Sonnets were like Snapchats to your girlfriend, but with words instead of dirty pictures.

Proving they are a lot like the rest of us as we struggle with the coronavirus pandemic, some show biz types have posted some truly dreadful stuff.

You don’t need to hear tone deaf Hollywood types sing “Imagine.” It will make you want to lick the keypad on an ATM.

Bono had to offer his two senseless worth, too. No crisis is complete without Bono diddling about it. I’m sure Italians feel comforted by his song for them. It’s the message they’ve been seeking from on high.

On the other hand, my pal Marty Duffy is putting social media to good use. He runs the Facebook group Chicago’s Spirit & Cocktail Community

His corona-era postings include links to solid tips for bars during this mess; links to fundraisers and other ways to help Chicago area bars, restaurants and their staffs; stories about distilleries now making hand sanitizer for the greater good; job leads and other important, practical, level-headed, sensible information for people in the beverage and service industries.

Be like Marty on social media.

In real life, don’t be like these zealots in Elgin who were pretty much forced to close their school. Please, for the love of superior sanitation, don’t toss a wipe into your toilet.

While it’s another Romper Room don’t be, I do feel a tiny bit of sympathy for the Elgin area strip club that tried to stay open during the pandemic. Those young dancers need to pay rent and college tuition. The owner was just thinking of them.

Can you give a lap dance from six feet away? Could there be a special cleaner called PureXXX for sanitizing the pole? The mind reels.

If you’ve been following the stories behind how things got to this point, your head is either spinning, like Linda Blair in The Exorcist, or exploding like in Scanners

Trying to avoid burning bright orange, I’ll just plagiarize myself, which is a fun thing to do in quarantine. Here’s what I put on Facebook about the current calamity:

Despite what any politician or pundit might spew, there’s a good amount of testing to be done before a vaccine, better treatment or possible cure can be found for novel coronavirus. 

Start reading legitimate online science-based journals and articles. You can learn what makes this virus unique, why it’s potentially and exponentially deadlier than the flu, how it differs from the flu and who is working on vaccines and other means to combat it. 

What is reassuring is one of those scientists, David Ho, worked to create the cocktail of drugs now used to fight HIV/AIDS. It doesn’t cure, per se, but drastically cuts the viral load on that disease.

Epidemiology is fascinating, like a great detective story. So get off Facebook. Pretend you are in college and have to write a term paper.

Hopefully you’re not one of those dumbasses who went to Florida on mommy and daddy’s dime for spring break. That should get you expelled anywhere, if just for being so dense and selfish. Covidiot is the new word for such morons.

Find substantive stuff about coronavirus online, not junk you see in a meme or a link you find on your loony QAnon-worshipping coworker’s Facebook page.

This crisis is not some sinister media hoax. People who tell you this pandemic is overblown and the coronavirus no more dangerous than the flu are basing this on what, their gut feelings?

Read what the CDC has to say. Check out the FEMA coronavirus rumor control website where they debunk misinformation.

Politicians on all sides must be held accountable for helping those with the least as much if not way more than those who have the most. They must speak fact, not fiction.

Yes, this crisis is having frightening economic ramifications. We hope and pray that people help each other. Many, many are. 

There are drive-by birthdays for kids. Doctors setting up shop in parking lots. Neighbors checking on neighbors. Athletes donating millions of dollars to keep working class people afloat.

It hurts now in the pocketbook. But imagine the impact on the economy if hundreds of thousands of people die from this disease in the US alone, while hospitals can’t treat others who are sick, too.

Pandemic or not, this is wise advice.

That’s not to say you should panic. 

You would do well to learn something with your downtime instead of hoarding toilet paper and fretting the unknown.

-30- (newspaper code for end of story, AKA, Facebook post)

Also, If you have one, don’t look at your stock portfolio right now. You’ll just wind up thinking about having to sell apples on the corner and your plasma on the dark web to some guy who calls himself Rod the Impaler.

Maybe you don’t have to be as OCD-like as this doctor is about sanitizing his groceries. Or maybe you do.

Notice the ponytail? He looks like a young Bob Seger, but his night moves are tips for sanitizing foods. Oddly, he doesn’t mention what to do about the plastic grocery bags and has no meat among his groceries.

What you have to do is try to remain calm, vigilant and sensible. I feel like the aforementioned Bono just typing that. Or maybe The Dude in “The Big Lebowski.” At least I don’t feel like Mick Jagger at Altamont.

Personally, I’ve been working out of my home for the last nine years, so I am a bit used to sheltering in place. Being single, the only person here to get on my nerves is me.

Also, during my lonely period earlier this century, on Friday nights I’d get a doughy $5 pizza from Dominick’s grocery story and scarf that down with some Diet Coke while watching Blue Collar TV

I’ve made myself sad just thinking about it. But I came through the experience stronger for it.

During this current nonsense, I am writing during the day and spending way too much time online. I promised myself I would exercise more if and when the weather cooperates. I refuse to workout to a YouTube video.

At Tom’s place, entertaining the kids has included dance parties, walks, stopping them from eating Play Doh and wearing disguises to fool the coronavirus. 

One night we created a detective show using a Barbie doll in the role of the murder victim. We already have Amazon interested in a movie deal.

In the park where we walk they put up a sign by the playground that reads, “Park Temporary Closed.” I’ve reported this assault on English to the authorities.

Oops! Did someone use Swype to make this sign?

To that point, I saw clips of the crowd that jammed the Chicago lakefront on one of the scant nice days we’ve had recently. 

It hasn’t been crowded at my local park. But, once it is really nice weather, per the signs, you expect toddlers not to dart from adults to the slide? You expect teens to obey rules? 

You couldn’t have put orange snow fencing up around the area, like when you serve beer to adults?

Eh. I’m getting whiney. I’m still bummed about the world premiere of the Britney Spears musical set for Chicago being canceled.  

Plus, I’m hungry and already thinking ahead to dinner and the usual evening routine.

That frequently involves watching Three Stooges shorts, “This Old House” reruns and post-apocalyptic science fiction series or movies available on a streaming service. 

Nothing cheers you up like a dystopian future filled with killer robots, androids, time travel, funny haircuts, loud music and hyper violence. Praise be to the occasional nudity, Ozark and Tiger King.

Scarier still is watching old Justin Wilson cooking shows. The cajun food looks mighty tasty. But Justin washes his hands in a bowl of water. Worse yet, he keeps hanky in his pocket and blows his nose while preparing dishes.

That’s not something you want to see in times like these.

What you don’t want to hear if you’re outside walking after dark is someone shouting, “Keep the money. Go for the kill,” when you pass their house. That happened the other night. I hope the guy was watching a game show.

It rained hard Saturday. Tornado warnings. too. The Fox River’s close to the flood stage.  The wind howled all Sunday. It’s gray and 45 today. Just what a pandemic needs. Good shelter in place weather.

The weather meant canceling the neighborhood singalong to Living on a Prayer.  Oh. That was March 21. Time isn’t holding up, time isn’t after us. Or words to that effect.

I’ve prattled long enough, in tribute to James Joyce’s Ulysses and Martin Scorcese’s “The Irishman”. There is plenty of time to digest both now.

Anyway, don’t become like Frank Sheeran at the end of the movie. Actually, it would be pretty bad to be like Frank Sheeran at most any point in the film. He’s a terrible human being.

Too bad being terrible is so seductive. Consequences are for suckers, or for other people to deal with. That seems to be the plot in real life at the moment.

Given the state of the world, that’s why it’s a good idea to keep your cannibal list handy. Which friends and neighbors would you eat first if it came to that? 

As it stands now, are there any good recipes for toilet paper?

Anyone have any recipes for toilet paper?

But seriously folks, when you do have to forage in the coming days and weeks, remember this.  You’re supposed to shop by yourself and purchase just a week’s worth of food. Also, Aldi has a $4.99 Argentinian wine called La Cornada. 

My Spanish may be rusty, but I’m pretty sure that means “the cure” in English. Whatever it means, there’s not a limit on the number of bottles you can buy. Yet.

Back to being real. There are doctors, nurses, cops, firefighters, pharmacists and clerks dealing with dummies on a daily basis. Would you want to arrest or wait on somebody who decides to cough in your direction? Would you want to be doling out drugs to sick folks when your employee hasn’t even supplied you with masks? (I’m talking to you, Walmart.)

When you roll your sort-of sanitized shopping cart toward the yogurt, if you can smell perfume, think about how a virus spreads.

As Tom put it, “Didn’t you see the meme? It says, ‘If you can smell the fart, you’re standing too close.’”

See, memes CAN be useful. Even if I can’t find that one.

Anyway, it’s time to listen to a podcast my cousin sent me. It’s an interview with author Ryan Holiday about finding stillness amidst chaos.

Ever the optimist, after that I will fill out my census form. Since Tom assigned the “Hey 19” redo, some other soothing yet unsettling Steely Dan cuts will be in order. “Deacon Blues” comes to mind. By the way, do you know the story behind that band’s name?

Aren’t you glad I provide links? Otherwise, I’d just be another fourth-rate T.S. Eliot. Oh, sur he wrote “The Waste Land”.   Read what he has to say about April in that poem. It’s bound to cheer you up, bound being the key word in the sentence. 

Eliot is also responsible for the source material behind the musical “Cats”. We all make mistakes.

A big mistake right now would be not taking this pandemic seriously. In Illinois alone, there have been more than 5,000 reported cases and more than 70 reported deaths from coronavirus as of March 30.  Will it take a superstar dying from COVID-19 to wake up a lot of folks?

There you have it. If you’ve made it to the end, congratulations. For those who haven’t, you can thank me for the snooze this induced later.  Would that be a paradox or an oxymoron?

Either way, as Sgt. Phil Esterhaus used to say on “Hill Street Blues”, “Let’s be careful out there.”

Slàinte Mhaith

‘Tis myself, dressed in my optimistic t-shirt.

14 Responses to Danahey NOT on the Loose: A Coronavirus Chronicle

    • Thanks again. Today I am trying to plan a COVID-19 social distancing birthday surprise for a 5 year old girl.

  1. This was truly awesome! Ok first of all, thanks for posting the pic of Cuz’in Shawn..hehe…I feel like a star..not the kind of star .where I would need to clean my pole with PureXXX. I loved your pics from Rosie’s PS no need to bash Come on Eileen…come one now.. I will never forget Xmas Eve 2010 there …I am like no, my brother is the Real Mike Dannehy!!!! 🙂 I love the term Covidiot and I do not know where the Steeley Dan got it’s name…now I MUST know! I love your shirt in the last pic…Unicorns and Rainbows…come on…there’s got to a be a little hope out there in this world beyond the pandemic ( though yes it’s real ) PS. I cough in my elbow – backwards – correctly and also, If i died tomorrow, I would die happy…all is good…I have lived a great life! I’d sure appreciate a few more years though… this is why the hubs and I SIP…Cheers!

  2. That was a fun read Mike! It really marks this time, sans the politics (thank you). Your life coach is doing a wonderful job 😉 Sláinte

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