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What?

You know, that strange feeling you get when the sentence you just read feels all gross and inside-out, like a burst haggis in your underwear.

A pickling, plastic, Icelandic, blue, oblong, fresh, gargantuan, georgeous barrel.

Eww. That doesn’t feel right.

Of course it doesn’t. Sheesh, were you born in a quaint, spacious, antique, square, red, New England, wooden, hay barn? Of course you were.

Who knew? Not me.

Post COVID Blues

When this coronavirus is finally subdued:

  • I’m afraid when I go back to work my pants won’t fit anymore.
  • I won’t be able to get on an airplane without providing a blood sample.
  • Friday night at the movies will become Friday night at the Hulu.
  • Libraries will have all closed.
  • Cruise ships will be towed off shore and sunk to build up the Great Barrier Reef (yeay!).
  • You’ll need a license to go for a picnic.
  • There will be home machines you can buy to turn old books and furniture into toilet paper.
  • Clorox Company will buy Nabisco and make Bleach Blondie Brownies.
  • A home hazmat chamber will don every frontdoor.
  • Drone pilots will become an Olympic Sport.

When all this is said and done, Drumpf will have died from the virus (shot by an inoculated tranquilizer dart by Nancy Pelosi), and we’ll be resigned to living in a hyper-paranoid world where a six-foot distant “air hug” is considered affectionate.  Kisses — NOT!

 

Gender vs Genderless Titles

  • Waiter / Waitress
  • Actor / Actress
  • Doctor / Doctress?
  • Lawyer / Lawyess?
  • Nurse / Nurser?
  • Author / Authoress (that one is real)

Why are some titles/occupations gender based and others not? I got to thinking about such things and attempted to derive a pattern.

The only rationale I could come up with is that during the gestation of each of these occupations, if there were both male and female participants, then dual occupational titles were created. This may not hold water, but let’s see…

When did restaurants really come into their own? At the end of the 1800’s? Ergo waiter/waitress. What about film and the occupation of acting? Early 1900’s? Actor/actress.

If this concept holds true then the fact that both men and women starting out in the same field needed different names. Host/hostess? Both were necessary as both came to be when the need arose. How about: prince/princess, barman/barmaid, or steward/stewardess. Were each of those name-pairs created at the same time (because both genders were doing the same job)?

Engineer, doctor, lawyer, surveyor, conductor, tailor, sailor and so and so forth, all were originally male-filled jobs. All got names that only have the one gender.

And then there are the occupations where females originally dominated the position, like nurse, midwife, model. There weren’t male versions of those created when they came to be, women exclusively filled those positions.

These days, new occupation titles are always genderless: programmer, copywriter, consultant, developer, designer, controller.

Gender oriented titles are pretty much gone these days. And if not gone, then frowned upon: “I’m not a stewardess, I’m a flight attendant!”

What do you think?

 

Drive-in, Drive-thru, Drive-by

Is the Drive-In phenomena set to return?

northfield_drive-in

We all feel safe in our cars right? Shuffle from the house or apartment, touch nothing along the way, open the door with gloves or steri-wipes and snuggle into your coronavirus free automobile. Then “Where to tonight kids?”

“To the movies!”

Or to the drive-thru eatery, the drive-thru bank, pharmacy or daiquiri fill-em-up station.

Are we about to experience a resurgence in service-by-auto establishments? Drive-in doctors? Drive-in dentists? We’ve got drive-by grocery pickup, dry-cleaning (though why anyone would dry-clean stay-at-home bathrobes?), and drive-by postal exchange.

Will there be sterilization services? Guys with hazmat suits spraying bleach from power-washers to destroy all contagions from the outside of your car before you attempt to drive it into your garage?

What else can we access from the safety of our wheeled bio-capsules?

 

Unexpected Consequences

In addition to apocalyptic scenarios, I also enjoy teasing out the possibilities of action/reaction in society’s macro behaviors. Like Freakonomics taught us, what are the implications to what we’re experiencing and how we’re reacting? Here are a few I’ve heard of and some I’ve dreamed up myself. My favorite is Goldie’s “there’s gonna be a rash of December babies born this year due to the work-from-home mandate.”

Close the borders and…

  • Migrant workers cannot come in to perform the agricultural work needed by 1/3 of the industry.
  • They won’t be there to pick, pack, and purvey the produce we need directly, and the food industry needs to create our canned, bottled and frozen foods.
  • Those same workers won’t be there to perform the planting that will result in crops in four to six months.
  • Close the borders and we eventually starve.

Close the schools and after school programs the daycare facilities and…

  • All the kids now need parents to stay home.
  • Many of those parents are critical service workers: police, healthcare, emergency responders, infrastructure repair.
  • And the kids won’t be staying home, or alone, or away from the elders who live with them. They’ll be out mixing it up with other neighborhood kids, perhaps more so that had they just stayed in school.

Shut down the hospitality industry and…

  • Fifteen million low to medium wage people lose work if not their jobs.
  • Another eight million in the airline industry lose work if not their jobs.

* Suppress spending across the entertainment, sports and restaurant industries and the velocity of money drops through the floor — ending up in a massive recession — one we’ve been expecting for three years.

* Drive the price of oil down below $30/barrel and the booming U.S. shale oil and fracking industry collapses throwing another million workers into the pit.

@ On the bright side, fewer cars on the road means fewer traffic accidents; less air pollution; quicker response to emergency calls (to save an elderly person with COVID symptoms).

* Force everyone to work from home and the homeless go WTF?

@ Fortunately, it’s already second nature to remain socially distant from the homeless.

@ Is there going to be a resurgence of home cooking where millennials learn to make more than Mac-a-cheese and Ramen?

* Too bad Grandma won’t be allowed in the kitchen with those asymptomatic carriers.

* Millions were forced from their homes to live at the whims of the rentier society during the last Great Recession.

@ Although thousands more will end up being force to foreclose during this calamity, at least we know that the rich are just as susceptible to this scourge — so there’s hope a proportionate number will die along with the rest of us.

* Is this the end of the Farmer’s market? Craft fairs? Concerts in the park?

No doubt the unintended and unexpected consequences from this pandemic will continue to play out. How many more can we come up with? I’m sure there are dozens just waiting to be exposed.

  • More marijuana smoking/eating?
  • More alcohol binging?
  • More reviews on movie venues, book venues, products?
  • More online psychologist sessions?
  • More facetime calls with estranged family?
  • More Amazon Prime memberships?
  • More neighbor altercations?
  • More house cleaning?
  • More nookie?
  • More?

Lame Apocalypse

This is not the apocalypse I’ve been hoping for.

In fact, this is no apocalypse at all. This is just people freaking out because this is a NEW way to die, one that nobody has previously experienced. There are still dozens of much more probable ways to die, but we don’t care about those, we know all about those.

It’s the devil we don’t know that instills panic.

Will this devil be worse than suicide? Drug overdoses? Septicemia? Influenza? What about diabetes or auto accidents? Where’s our perspective?

Vanished with the specter of this new addition to our panoply of mortality.

How many apocalyptic authors got that run-on-toilet-paper meme right? None that I’ve read. “Betty, that apocalisp thing they keep talkin’ ’bout on the news is gettin’ mean. Best you go down to the Wal-wart and buy as much damn shit-sheets you can get your hands on.” “Yeah, paper towels’ll do in a pinch.”

With work shut down, with schools closed, with all the banal, mindless pastimes cancelled, how many more of the lower 80% of wage-earners are going to stick a barrel in their mouth, or pop a dozen fentanyl? What will be the fallout from all this draconian “individual distancing” (social distancing — that’s a bloody oxymoron)? Twice as many deaths from the cure than from the cold?

This apocalypse sucks, but it’s all we got. So, I’m enjoying the work-from-home policy—passed down from on high, the extra lunch time, the peaceful time on the toilet (with my hoard of TP), and the new 4:00 PM happy-hour (who’s to know?). I’m no fool though, and so I’m boosting my vitamin-D intake, lots of fluids, and praying that someone will whizz by and breathe me a solid dose of coronavirus cuz’, let’s face it, gotta get busy dying fast or get bored dying slow.

Top 15 Major Causes of Death in the U.S. 2017

Rank Cause of death Number of deaths
1 Heart disease   647,457
2 Malignant neoplasms (tumors)   599,108
3 Accidents (unintentional injuries)   169,936
4 Chronic lower respiratory diseases   160,201
5 Cerebrovascular diseases (stroke)   146,383
6 Alzheimer’s disease   121,404
7 Diabetes   83,564
8 Influenza and pneumonia   55,672
9 Kidney disease   50,633
10 Intentional self-harm (suicide)   47,173
11 Chronic liver disease and cirrhosis   41,743
12 Septicemia   40,922
13 Hypertension (2)   35,316
14 Parkinson’s disease   31,963
15 Pneumonitis due to solids and liquids   20,108
All other causes   561,920
All deaths 2,813,503