06 May

“Over more than two centuries, the United States has stirred a very wide range of feelings in the rest of the world: love and hatred, fear and hope, envy and contempt, awe and anger.  But there is one emotion that has never been directed towards the US until now: pity.”– Fintan O’Toole/Irish Times

Cartoon used by permission: 238269 Quack Prez by Steve Sack The Minneapolis Star, Tribune MN

I haven’t blogged in weeks.  I can’t.  I’m in a state of shock!  I’ve been frozen in place like Lot’s wife ever since I heard Trump announce that I could blast my insides with ultra-violet light and drench my innards with bleach, Lysol, and the likes of 409 Multi-surface cleaner to cure myself of COVID-19 should I unfortunately come down with the virus.  I can’t say my response to Trump’s inane declaration loudly enough that has been careening through my head for days on end:  WHAT THE FUCK!?!

Cartoon used by permission: 238543 Trump Wacky Package by Dave Whamond, Canada

It is clear that a madman dwells in the White House, and not only is he trying to kill me, but his ineptitude in handling this pandemic is making me disoriented and possibly mentally ill.  I noticed it just the other day.  A series of unfortunate events happened last week that make me wonder if President Trump, along with polluting TV Land, has released a “mental virus” in the water and the air that will slowly drive us all crazy as we self-isolate, scurrying to and fro behind our masks, so he can dismantle our government brick by brick without much resistance. 

PHOTO CREDIT: E. Tomczyk/Coronavirus Times


Something has happened to my bowels.  I can’t stop shitting my pants when I hear Trump’s voice, read what idiotic things Trump says, or think/talk about Trump.  It’s like clockwork.  Trump opens his mouth, I feel the need to poop.

According to Kate Bratskeir of Huffington Post:

 “If you’ve noticed changes in your bowel movements over the past month or so, you might be wondering why this biological function—that often comes like clockwork—has decided to get weird.”

She says I “might be experiencing what we can call nothing else besides a ‘pandemic poop.’”


Cartoon used by permission: 238263 Quack in chief by John Darkow, Columbia Missourian


It’s been eight weeks since the shutdown, and I noticed that I have what some doctors are calling quarantine fatigue accompanied by coronavirus anxiety.  It is affecting me in all manner of ways—especially my memory.  I never know what day it is from sunup to sundown except for Friday.  That’s when the garbage man comes.  If it’s garbage day, it must be Friday.  If my garbage man should go on strike in the future, I’ll be screwed.  A psychologist friend thinks it is because I no longer do anything to bookend my days or break up my week.  I am in a constant loop of the same ol’ same ol’…

It keeps getting worse.

Ten days ago I did some cleaning and gardening. I took off my wedding rings so that they wouldn’t get damaged. Yesterday I realized I never put my rings back on.  When I went to do so, I couldn’t remember which hand wedding rings are worn on.  I had to resort to the best solution I knew to find the answer:  “GOOGLE: WHAT HAND IS THE CORRECT ONE TO WEAR WEDDING RINGS?” 

OMG!!  (You know the first thought that crossed my mind, right?)

A sympathetic friend told me that what I was experiencing was not Alzheimer’s—it was just coronavirus anxiety.  She said, if I was coming down with Alzheimer’s, I wouldn’t have remembered what the rings were for in the first place or that I was even married.  That was a good thing because shortly after speaking with her my husband walked into the room and wondered why my wedding rings were sitting on the counter and not on my finger.  Oy.

I blame it all on Trump.  I had just watched the morning news and watched him push three conspiracy theories and underscore four of his hate tweets against anyone who spoke truth. If he had not failed at his job from the very beginning (too much golf, watching the news, and rage tweeting), I would have been playing canasta with my gal pals (if it’s canasta it must be Monday) and known what finger my rings should be on because I could have simply glanced at my canasta partner’s hand.

Cartoon used by permission: 238383 Normal longing by David Fitzsimmons, The Arizona Star Tucson, AZ


We are supposed to have a family reunion July 4th weekend in Seattle. I don’t think it’s going to happen. I know it isn’t. One coronavirus model shows a leap to 200,000 infections/3,000 deaths a day by June. I haven’t cancelled the plane flights yet, but it is inevitable we won’t go. It will be too risky to travel on a plane that far—especially as a vulnerable COVID-19 individual (this monster is disproportionately eating up Black lives as if we were a lion’s afternoon snack). I “Zoom” with my children and grandson most every week, and I know I should be grateful. I find myself clinging to their every word and sad when the Zooming ends. If we miss a week, I seem to slip into a mild depression. Their effervescent laughter makes my heart percolate and rejuvenates me. Normally, I am really grateful for the technology that can put us face-to-face, but as Mother’s Day approaches I guess I am painfully aware that I haven’t hugged my babies and they haven’t hugged me since last year. It hurts—it really hurts. (Who ever thought hugs would become one of the most precious and sacred gifts in the world.) What is even worse is that I haven’t kissed and hugged my grandson since Christmas. In our “new normal,” how long will it be before we can all be together as a family? What if one of us gets struck down by COVID-19 between our Zoom sessions? My heart breaks in missing and longing for my family—to sit with them, to hold them, to snuggle with them, to kiss their precious faces, to stroke their hair.

But then my God reminds me…

The hearts of the mothers of the nurses and doctors who have died fighting the good fight on the front lines of the coronavirus on our behalf would give anything to “Zoom” with their kids just one more time.  Of the 70,000+ Americans who have passed from this horrid pandemic, if their mothers are still alive, I know their hearts are breaking beyond belief this Mother’s Day.  The “new normal” for these mothers is something that I can’t even begin to fathom.

So I will stop whining and wait patiently for the kids to Zoom me this weekend.  (Oh yeah, if the kids are Zooming me, it must be Sunday—it must be Mother’s Day.)

Cartoon used by permission: 238635 Mother s Day 2020 by Dave Whamond, Canada

Eleanor Tomczyk is an author and a humorist who is an award-winning voice-over performer.  In 2011, she created the blog, “How the Hell Did I End Up Here” which features mostly satirical posts that have thousands of readers around the world—although she was recently banned in Pakistan (for real!).  Tomczyk’s three books were featured in a recent book festival:  “Monsters’ Throwdown,” “Fleeing Oz,” and “The Fetus Chronicles—Podcasts to my Miseducated Self.”  Currently in her 70s and living life like it is freakin’ golden, she is a consummate storyteller and much sought-after motivational speaker.  If you don’t believe me, just ask her!

Cartoon used by permission: 238389 Patron St. of Hopeless Presidents by David Fitzsimmons, The Arizona Star Tucson, AZ

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Eleanor Tomczyk and “How the Hell Did I End Up Here?” with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.


Posted by on May 6, 2020 in Uncategorized


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  1. imagesbytdashfield

    May 6, 2020 at 2:19 pm

    Glad to see you aren’t drinking the orange bleach kool aid (sarcasm on warp drive there) Going a bit stir crazy here and happy for zoom to talk to my kid and his kids.

    • etomczyk

      May 7, 2020 at 1:45 pm

      Hi Teri. So true about the stir-crazy aspect. It must be really hard for you as a “roaming” photographer. Like you, we had so many travel plans in our bucket list. This year it was supposed to be Africa replete with a safari. Now we’re just trying to stay alive. Stay safe, my friend, stay well, and stay creative.

      • imagesbytdashfield

        May 7, 2020 at 2:38 pm

        Our plan was Hawaii and volcanoes…nope! And I had gigs lined up that have been cancelled. Stay safe too!

  2. Marilyn Mason

    May 7, 2020 at 8:19 am

    Dear Eleanor,
    Thank you for this moving summary of a Mother’s love for her children and grandchild. They are so fortunate to have you as their Mom.
    Glad to have you as my friend.

    • etomczyk

      May 7, 2020 at 3:00 pm

      Thanks Marilyn for dropping by. You’re one of the people I missing getting hugs from as well. Thanks for the encouraging words. Stay well, stay safe, and stay kind.

  3. Ora Avery

    May 7, 2020 at 8:37 am

    Our Isolation, will surely pass but sorry to say the remnants and scars could be everlasting. Thank you for the laugh out loud moments, I’ve shared this Blog with Family and Friends, as we’re all experiencing bits and pieces of “Your Experience”. Happy Mother’s Day, enjoy the Zoom Celebration with Family and look forward to the day you can hug in person! Until then, virtual hugs, air hugs are good too.😘

    • etomczyk

      May 7, 2020 at 3:03 pm

      Hi Ora. Thanks for visiting my blog Appreciate the encouraging words. Miss hugging you as well. Stay safe, stay well, stay kind.

  4. nonnie9999

    May 11, 2020 at 4:58 pm

    Dearest Eleanor,

    I think we are all stuck in a cycle of anger, boredom, depression and fear. I see the death numbers going up and up, and I get so angry that so many deaths could have been avoided if the moron in the Oval Office had acted immediately and in the interest of the American people (and the world) instead of his own interests. I get bored, so I flee to Twitter or Facebook or Netflix. I cry at almost every commercial on TV (except the toilet paper ones. I can shit 17 times a day for the next 3 years and still not run out of my Charmin Strong. I’m not a hoarder, I just have a phobia about running out of TP, so I already had a ton of it). I’m more comfortable when I make my infrequent grocery store visits, because so far, everyone is wearing masks and respecting others. However, when I come home I wonder if I picked up the cootie that is going to do me in. I distract myself with giving my apples and mandarin oranges a 20-minutes bath in the kitchen sink (welcome to Nonnie’s Fruit Spa!)and cleaning every can and container like I am prepping them for surgery. I sometimes drive myself crazy as I suspect every cough, every ache, every sniffle portends the end of me. Thank goodness, we have 2 garbage days a week, so I have some idea of where we are in the week.

    A couple of weeks ago, I was on my computer, watching the news and was on Twitter. Triangulating my activites, I couldn’t understand how people on Twitter knew an hour before what I was seeing for the first time on TV, at least according to the timestamp. I thought that I had paused my TV and forgot to fast forward to catch up (I do that a lot). I tried to fast forward, but nothing happened. I changed the channel and then switched back again to see if that would fix the problem. Twitter was still an hour ahead with its tweets. Even the TV guide on TV was stuck an hour behind me. I started to freak out. I honestly felt like I was in the Twilight Zone. Nothing made sense. I was honestly questioning if I was having a stroke or if senility was claiming me as its own. Finally, in a last attempt to reclaim my sanity, I texted my sister. I told her that my TV was stuck on 6:40 (I’ll always remember the time), and I can’t figure out what to do. She texted back “That’s because it is 6:40.” That stopped me in my tracks. That’s when the music on the movie soundtrack would get really loud as I swerved my head around and looked at the clock that was behind me the entire time. It read 6:40. I confirmed that with my iPad and my phone. Everything said 6:40. Apparently, my computer, for no reason anyone can come up with, suddenly decided to change the time to an hour ahead, and Twitter must sync up with my computer when it comes to their timestamps, and that’s why it said tweets were from an hour before. Maybe my computer is suffering from coronavirus anxiety as well, or maybe it’s just an asshole.

    I went to see my mom yesterday to wish her a happy Mother’s Day. I had to do so through a window while standing under an umbrella in the rain. It breaks my heart that I couldn’t give her a hug. It breaks my heart that I can’t see my sister, my son, my little grandniece, my neighbors.

    When I am done with all my anger, sadness, resentment and the feeling that the dog is starting to make more sense than me lately, the guilt sets in. I think about the people who came before us and had it so much worse and didn’t complain even half as much as we do now. Ann Frank was a kid living in fear in a crowded attic for 2 years with barely enough to eat and no cable or internet. Londoners sat in the dark during blackouts so that the Germans wouldn’t know where to bomb. Unlike Ted Cruz’s favorite hairdresser/martyr in Texas, they did what they had to do to protect everyone, even though some of them might have wanted to turn on a lamp to do a crossword puzzle. I think about the families who have lost loved ones, who are worried about loved ones who are sick or who are risking their lives on the front lines of this new war. I think about those who don’t have enough to eat or who don’t know how they will feed their kids or keep the electric on. And when I am done with my guilt trip, I go right back to the anger and fear and depression.

    Okay, I am starting to blather now, so I will end with wishing you, my dear Eleanor, your beautiful family, your readers and their families health (both physical and mental) and safety. Love you.

    • etomczyk

      May 15, 2020 at 11:24 am

      Nonnie: Your comment is a post in and of itself. Well said, my friend. Wishing you great health and amazing grace for these times. Love, E

  5. calvin

    May 12, 2020 at 9:54 pm

    Pity. Ah ‘E’ Americans are human. As we all are. But you really have your share of dorks. Then again we all do. In this country we have all settled in to isolation to flatten the curve, to protect the nursing homes. And in my second province Nova Scotia, they had to deal with a murderous man who took the lives of 23 people in 19 hours. Evil doesn’t rest, covid19 or not. Am sure there was many realizing they needed to tell their mother they loved them, cherish them and swearing not to take them granted.

    Hope your mother’s day zooming was special.

    Finally, nice mask. Very much diva-like.

    • etomczyk

      May 15, 2020 at 11:22 am

      Hi Calvin:

      So great to hear from you. My heart broke for my Canadian brothers and sisters when I read about that horrid massacre in Nova Scotia. You’re so right, evil doesn’t rest which is so disheartening. Hope you are holding up well during these trying times. All the best. E

  6. calvin

    May 15, 2020 at 2:36 pm

    No worries here. I have found an equilibrium in my brain that skews towards the right.


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