Disneyland is closed.
The governor has banned gatherings of 250 or more people in Washington state. No stadium events until the coronavirus leaves us. Schools in King, Pierce and Snohomish counties are shut down for the next 5 or 6 weeks.
Your Seattle Public Libraries will be closed until April 13.
Real Change has cut its hours for distributing the paper to vendors by about half.
There’s going to be less to read during the Great Pandemic of 2020. We’ll have to think of other ways to get through this. Cribbage, Pick-Up Sticks, Parcheesi come to mind.
No, that’s not right. It has to be things you can do by yourself. Without touching your face. They say Isaac Newton invented calculus while vacationing from the plague. We have to look for opportunities in the situation we’re in.
Nothing to read? Write something. Now’s the time to write that Great American Novel you always wanted to write. Novels are too long? Write short stories, poems or songs. Especially 20-second songs to wash your hands by. Be like Emily Dickinson. Stay home and write poems you could sing to the tune of the “Gilligan’s Island” theme.
I hate novels, myself. Novels are way too long. I get to 10,000 words and I forget why I cared. But in the same time, I can write 50 stories of 200 words or less. I could write dozens of stories about walls. Cracked plaster walls. Brick walls. Like they say, write about what you know.
Johnny the Brick Wall
Johnny wasn’t just a brick wall. Johnny was a special brick wall. He wasn’t all flat, like most brick walls. His bricks were all turned at different angles that made a rippling effect when you looked at him, and his patterns changed when you walked by him.
At first Johnny was semi-wildly popular, and crowds would form, especially on Epiphany and Maundy Thursday, and people would take pictures of Johnny and email them to their friends and post them on social media.
But one day, the governor of Johnny’s state stopped allowing the crowds to come to see Johnny. It broke Johnny’s heart, and he collapsed in a pile of broken bricks.
I have hundreds of those already. I once wrote a short short story about a crew of space aliens assigned to guard the still-living, abducted Elvis Presley. “ACK, ACK! Blue Suede Shoes again! Let us go home, please!”
It’s Always Someone Else’s Dream, in 141 words:
It’s always someone else’s dream. I’m in a pizza shop, sitting at a barren table next to a brick wall. The real hero of the dream walks in with his date. She’s his date, not mine. They eat pizza. I’m just sitting. They leave, I have to follow just to be their witness. Everything happens to the other guy. He gets to kiss his date. He gets to be chased by the man with the axe, or the chainsaw. He gets to ride the train through the tunnel. He survives a plague. He goes swimming and turns into a sturgeon. He grows wings and flies, and his wings fall off and he plummets to his death. And he is the one who wakes up just before hitting the ground, and I just get to watch and wait, until he sleeps again.
Here’s a little song apropos to the circumstances of these days. I do not claim to have written this one:
When you gonna give to me, a gift to me
Is it just a matter of time, corona?
Is it d-d-destiny, d-destiny
Or is it just a game in my mind, corona?
The best thing about all this is it takes my mind off The Big One. Now I have some other kind of death looming over me besides being flattened by my floor and ceiling suddenly occupying the same space in violation of the Pauli exclusion principle. This delivers a lovely illusion of relief.
There are so many silver linings. President Trump has hinted that he might bar travel to Washington state. If he does, he’ll surely also bar travel from this state, too. We will have effectively seceded from the United States. How could that be bad? Trump and Pence won’t come here anymore. Where’s the downside in that?
All of a sudden, out of nowhere, the whole country has got the idea that we should quarantine all the homeless people. Which means providing them individual housing. It’s not a complete disaster.
Dr. Wes Browning is a one time math professor who has experienced homelessness several times. He supplied the art for the first cover of Real Change in November of 1994 and has been involved with the organization ever since. This is his weekly column, Adventures in Irony, a dry verbal romp of the absurd. He can be reached at drwes (at) realchangenews (dot) org
Read more in the Mar. 18 - 24, 2020 issue.