What Day Is It? It’s Cinco de Mayo Minus Four.

Dedicated to Dear Reader Alexandra McKenzie.

I went into self-quarantine on March 15, the day my gym closed, so today is my 48th day in isolation. The reason that I have  not kept a journal of this time is because when I exiled myself to Taffy Cat Manor, I did not think this would not last longer than three weeks, max.

As I stocked up on vodka, ground turkey, and raisins (my staples) for the “long haul”, I also had no sense of history. I did not suspect that this would be a turning point in the history of the world. I didn’t anticipate that we’d go deeper into the evil heart of Republican politics. I didn’t foresee the trauma that has come to be an everyday misery.  I had no inkling that this was going to leave so many of us, and so many of our institutions, permanently damaged.

Nope. I just didn’t think of it. If the thought had crossed my mind, I’m sure I would have dismissed it as being way too far-fetched.

But here we are.

Another truth that has come to light: This pandemic has confirmed that there is not an economy in the history of the world in which I would be considered an essential worker.

Because here’s what I know how to do:

Grade diamonds.

Authenticate Faberge.

Appraise rare timepieces from the 16th – 20th centuries.

Cut up old books and make castles.

The most recent work-in-progress.

I have felt bad about being such a trivial person. I would like to be doing my bit to keep our society functioning, even at this low hum. So here’s what I did last week: I applied to the grocery store where I shop, the local Stop and Shop, for a job. I told the HR manager that I was ridiculously healthy and fit and, I quote, ” I’m ready to do anything where I don’t have to interact with customers. I can clean and take out garbage and stock shelves but I’m not good with the public.” I think we can all agree that I was being modest. I should have said, “I fucking hate the public and I would do permanent damage to your brand if you put me in the front of the store.”

Well, I haven’t heard back from them yet, but any day now, I could become a hero.

Taffy has got his lockdown life down pat. Below are pictures I took this past week. I swear, they were taken on many different days, but as you can see, Taffy’s Monday doesn’t look a whole lot different from his Friday:





And let’s give Bibs some love today. He doesn’t like to get his picture taken, but he sat still yesterday so I could get this:

That’s the news from My Life In Quarantine.

And, oh yeah. Fuck Trump.



















And this is why we love Helen Mirren, who posted her Before and After Quarantine pix:

This is from a real restaurant in Austin, Texas:







I’ll be back on Wednesday with a special edition of The Times and Life of Being Bored. The other night, I was lying in bad at 2am, scrolling through my phone, and I found a lot of interesting stuff about language, such as this:


I also found this:


If you think this kind of stuff is worth a minute or two of your time, you’ll definitely want to meet me here on Wednesday.

Have a great weekend, everyone. Stay inside. Stay healthy. sSay away from Michigan and Georgia and Texas. Enjoy the beauty of every waking moment.

Stay as far away from this guy as possible:





8 Comments, RSS

  1. Grading diamonds sounds like a valuable skill, actually. Surely not many people can do that?! Besides, the world needs all types, artists and creatives included. (Maybe ESPECIALLY artists and creatives!)

    I hate using “creative” as a noun, by the way, but it’s a thing. I also hate it when people say, “It’s a thing.”

    I also didn’t believe this would last as long as it has. I thought six weeks, but I was being optimistic, apparently.

  2. I love me my Taffy and Bibs. And Helen Mirren too. But especially Taffy. I hope you get to work alone in a grocery store with no one else because that’s important work and safer than the average bear. Just stay well because we need fighters like you! (I’m trivial too — all I can do is buy things from starving artists, bakers and massage therapists and donate to non-profits that are hurting. I figure I’m saving so much money by not going out to eat or binge shopping or binge junk food buying, I can afford it.)

    Love the newest castle. And you’re right — none of would have ever imagined THIS. This HERE, not to mention around the world.

  3. Alex

    Thank you for the enhanced wiener dog inspiration — neither Truman nor Pippin would allow me to turn them into menacing wienerdobermans, though. Or is that doberdachs? I’ll bet the Germans would have a good word for it.

    You are definitely essential! If nothing else, this wannabe apocalypse has shown how important it is to be creative, and how to invent new ways of entertaining ourselves, and you are helping! Book castles may be next on my list. So far, to keep myself from going batshit crazy, I’ve written 210,000 words of fiction, taught myself how to make those animated GIF thingies, annoyed all of my friends on FB with animated GIF thingies, read 25 books, watched my favorite TV 6-part miniseries (“Good Omens”) 137 times, planted flower seeds in egg cartons and stared at the dirt for hours on end, and VACUUMED UNDER THE SOFA.

    But yeah, I might try castles next. See? You are INSPIRATIONAL in these dark times. Please keep being essential. Oh, and cats. Always there must be photogenic cats. THANK YOU!

  4. Kirra

    Hi Vivian, I agree that you have excellent skills that might not seem highly relevant at the moment but doesn’t mean they’re not important. Your latest castle is AMAZING and I also need to see all those Taffy and the one Bibs photo. As well as the sausage dog – doberman transformation. So as an essential worker (teacher) thank you!

    But also, staying inside and not endangering others is also a great thing to be doing right now for the world. You are a champion already (remember when you yelled at the man in the supermarket).

    Your collection for the internet feels very on point today. See you Wednesday!

  5. You are indeed an essential worker – how can we get through this without laughing? Your wicked sense of humor has made me laugh out loud on numerous occasions since I discovered your books and blog last summer.

    Since I am a translator, I must insist on the capitalization of Torschlusspanik. Even after 16 years of living in Austria, I am still learning incredible German words. Here’s one I discovered last month (and appropriate for non-essential workers): Frackzwang = the obligation to wear tails/white tie.

    Liebe Grüße aus Wien from a Wisconsonite with Wanderlust

  6. Well do you think America will be great again in 2021? Let’s hope it is a better form of greatness.
    Each time I visit you here I just smile from cats sleeping to castles out of books to “fuck Trump”.
    Thanks for the smiles.

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