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Tag Archives: COVID-19

LOCKDOWNS ARE OVER—HURRAH! (I THINK)

Cartoon used by permission: 251036_RGB_1290.jpg Leaving COVID hibernation by John Darkow Columbia Missourian

On May 16, 2021, the CDC posted the following notice on its website:

  1. If you are fully vaccinated, you can resume activities that you did prior to the pandemic.
  2. Fully vaccinated people can resume activities without wearing a mask or physically distancing, except where required by federal, state, local, tribal, or territorial laws, rules, and regulations, including local business and workplace guidance.
  3. If you haven’t been vaccinated yet, (what the fuck is wrong with you?) find a vaccine. (Feisty interpretation, italics and underlining—mine, not the CDC’s—although I’m pretty sure it’s what they were thinking when they wrote this!)
Cartoon used by permission: 251631_RGB_1290.jpg No More Masks by Rick McKee CagleCartoons com

In the middle of May, a slightly chunky African-American grandmother awoke from a Rip Van Winkle state of somnolence feeling lost in time and space. She had existed in a Covid-19 pandemic for what she calculated to be approximately 456 days of semi-isolation (the semi being with her darling husband).  She’d done practically nothing, gone practically nowhere, and seen practically no one without being socially distanced, double masked, and brandishing a Lysol Disinfectant can as if it were a Colt 45 permanently taped to her right hand with mounds of Duct tape.  Now she was being told by her government to get out there, remove her mask, put away her wipes, and welcome the world with open arms—as long as those she hugged were vaccinated and scrubbed down with hand sanitizer (the grandma added this last requirement to be on the safe side) . 

Cartoon used by permission: 251685_RGB_1290.jpg New Public Service by Bob Englehart PoliticalCartoons com

But how was she to know who had been vaccinated?  She didn’t know about anybody else, but after the Trump years, she didn’t trust some of her fellow Americans as far as she could throw them (approximately 74 million of them to be exact).  The fact that so many of them were anti-science, anti-Covid vaccinations, and pro-conspiracy theories was disconcerting to say the least.  Many of them were still lying about the results of the Presidential election so how was she supposed to trust them to follow the rules as she emerged from a year-and-a-half lockdown?  She thought to herself: “The Republicans were crazy as Hell before the lockdown—now they’ve completely lost their minds during the pandemic.  It’s going to be like the wild-wild west out there.”

Cartoon used by permission: 251771_RGB_1290.png Lucy Linus and Masks by Jeff Koterba CagleCartoons com

“On the other hand,” she thought, “do I even want to mingle with the masses again?  They weren’t that great before I went into hiding.”  To be very honest with you—she didn’t really like most people.  I mean she liked her family and friends, but she didn’t suffer fools lightly so why bother kicking it with people she didn’t trust?  (She’d already announced to no one in particular that she wouldn’t be returning to the canasta club because it was full of Trump Republicans, and she had no grace for that crazy shit anymore!) Anyway, unlike some people, she hadn’t minded the lockdown that much.  She missed seeing her children and grandson, but her family had really made that Zoom thing work like a charm with vibrant, transparent conversations, birthday parties, and an all-day Christmas celebration. The 64-million-dollar question for her was how to “re-enter” the world without getting damaged or killed.  Should she?  Could she?

Cartoon used by permission: 251696_RGB_1290.jpg The CDC masking advice by Dave Whamond Canada PoliticalCartoons com

Every time our septuagenarian grandma read the news, Americans were hurting and killing each other—acting like fools—as if murdering their fellow human beings was their raison d’etre. Mass shootings every other day, horrific road rage incidents, and countless violent encounters on airplanes spilled forth like raging lava from an erupting volcano.  The world hadn’t gotten any better since she’d been in hiding.  It seemed meaner—hellbent on destroying everything and everyone in its mean-spirited path.  Instead of being grateful that they had survived, many people (especially the MAGA hats) were mad as hell, and they wanted to hurt others just for looking at them crossways or asking them to wear a mask or get a shot.

Cartoon used by permission: 252208_RGB_1290.jpg Pandemic of shootings by John Darkow Columbia Missourian

“Maybe I should just stay in my house where all is peaceful and serene,” our Grandmother thought.  “After all, I’m old and I don’t need much.  I’ve got my man, a wine cabinet, Netflix, a century’s worth of books, and our groceries can be delivered.  I’ve given Amazon so much money during the pandemic, I’m on a first name basis with Jeff Bezos. If Amazon doesn’t have what I want, I’m sure Jeff will reward my loyalty and go to the moon to get it for me.”  The compromise made her happy for a nano second, but then she remembered her children who lived on both coasts, and it made her sad.  She desperately wanted to see her children, her grandson, and granddaughter to come (she had to be there for that birth!), but the thought of getting back out there to mix it up with crazy-ass strangers was exhausting.  Getting on a plane to go anywhere would force her to engage with any type of person at any moment who might erupt in mean-spiritedness and craziness. No, it would be better to have the kids come to her—best to stay put and stay safe.  The pandemic seemed to have messed with people’s hearts and minds, so if our grandmother stayed sequestered, she reasoned, then she wouldn’t encounter any of this mayhem. Stay home, avoid people, and consequently avoid the mess.

Then one day, an unhinged White house painter arrived at the sequestered grandmother’s house.

Cartoon used by permission: 252604_RGB_1290.jpg COVID hibernation by Dave Whamond Canada PoliticalCartoons com

Mema had previously reasoned that if she was going to stay put and have her family and friends come to her, then she might as well get the house spruced up for their homecoming.  So, she called an affable and efficient painter she’d used for a few years, ascertained that he had been vaccinated, and made known her wishes. 

At first, things went along as usual.  A few pleasantries were exchanged (“How’s your wife and kid?” “How’s your husband?) which were normal. However, the painter did make an inappropriate comment about how the grandmother (old enough to be his mother) didn’t look her age and he knew why. “That’s because Black don’t crack!” said the White man with glee as if they’d been lifelong drinking buddies!   Mema wanted to tell him that he didn’t know her that well to make such an inappropriate crack, but she decided to cut him some slack because she figured the pandemic had zapped a portion of his brain and his manners.  The contract was agreed upon: deposit paid upfront and rest of total paid upon completion of job—as always. The grandmother paid the deposit and went on about her business.

Soon it became clear that the pandemic had zapped not only the painter’s manners but also his business credibility and his civility.  The White painter went from an inappropriate racial stereotype, to falling behind on the job, to demanding more money before the delayed job was finished (the grandmother said, “no Dude, I’m no fool—read your contract”), to the pièce de résistance. When the grandmother kindly asked when the delayed job would be finished, the White painter (young enough to be her son) turned on the Black grandmother with raged-filled eyes and angrily barked, “What business is it of yours when we finish, ______” (the word “Bitch” was not audible, but the grandmother heard it loud and clear as if it were a cacophonous thunderclap, sucker punched into her heart by Zeus).

Cartoon used by permission: 249634_RGB_1290.png Post Pandemic Stress by Dave Whamond Canada PoliticalCartoons com

“Post-pandemic anxiety in the flesh,” Mema thought.  “Road rage on my own property—is anyplace really safe?” she asked herself as she swallowed her anger, quietly defused the situation, and slowly backed away into the house to call her husband.  Needless to say, the painter lost a major job we had planned with him for the future as my husband went into his own post pandemic-rage and declared: “That man is not allowed to step foot on our property ever again!”

Mema could tell that once the words came out of the painter’s mouth, he knew that he had blown it—overstepped his boundaries.  The grandmother truly wished the painter had apologized.  If he had, she would have forgiven him (but by the grace of God go us all, right?).  But she watched as his pride hardened his heart, and he sullenly slumped off toward his truck.  Why did the painter say what he said to our sweet, chubby little grandmother?  Was it because she was a woman? An old woman? A Black woman?  Would the painter have spoken to a man like that?  Spoken to a White man like that?  Mema couldn’t answer any of those questions, but it showed her something very significant about her own life:  Nowhere and no one was totally safe against the post-pandemic anxiety of their fellow man.  She determined that she was anxious too, but hiding out in her home was no panacea. “Hell no! I won’t stay at home and miss out on what little life I have left” the grandmother said. On that note, she decided to summon her courage, leave her house, and visit her children, grandchildren, and friends as much and as often as possible because the old woman realized that she couldn’t control the attitudes and reactions of others—she could only control her reaction to them. And so, armed with an extra layer of grace and brotherly love, Mema booked her plane tickets and set off for New York City and Seattle to hug and kiss her babies… and their babies.

Cartoon used by permission: 251477_RGB_1290.jpg Out of the Covid cocoon by David Fitzsimmons The Arizona Star Tucson AZ

INSPIRATIONAL QUOTES FOR STAYING SANE IN A POST-PANDEMIC ANXIOUS WORLD

“Now that the world is reopened, we may see less patience, more irritability, less stress tolerance because people have been trying to hold it together for so long. Even though they are finally able to ‘relax,’ they remain on edge because the effects of the mental stress over the past year do not go away overnight.”Dr. Crystal Clark of the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.

“The differences we have on this planet are real. They’re profound. And they cause enormous tragedy as well as joy. But we’re just a bunch of humans with doubts and confusion. We do the best we can. And the best thing we can do is treat each other better, because we’re all we got.”—President Barack Obama

Cartoon used by permission: 252159_RGB_1290.jpg Virus Doesn’t Take a Holiday by John Darkow Columbia Missourian

Eleanor Tomczyk is an author and a satirist 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!

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.

 
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Posted by on June 23, 2021 in Uncategorized

 

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BREAKING NEWS: I’M SUFFERING FROM PTSE—’Pandemic Trauma and Stress Experience!’

Cartoon used by permission: 249454_RGB_1290.jpg Breaking News by Rick McKee CagleCartoons com

The other day I posted on my Facebook page that I thought I had PTSD from living under the reign of Trump and Covid-19. But that is not accurate. Come to find out, I may have something called “pandemic trauma and stress experience (PTSE),” according to Dr. Gail Saltz, Associate Professor of Psychiatry at the NY Presbyterian Hospital Weill-Cornell School of Medicine, as was reported to Nicole Karlis of Salon.com in the article: It’s not just you: Why everyone is super exhausted right now.”

For me the exhaustion started with the hope of getting the vaccine as a high-risk human. Stress, thy name is trying to hunt down a Covid-19 vaccine, especially as a senior citizen. I don’t know about your area, but my vaccine hunt was a “Where’s Waldo-like,” frustrating trip through pharmacy/hospital hell.  When the vaccine first came out, I was told by our local press (and my doctor) that I’d qualify for the top second group to be given the shot (1B) because I have several comorbidities—one of them being old age, another being gloriously chunky, and the rest of them being none of your business.

Cartoon used by permission: 249263_RGB_1290.jpg Light at the end of the tunnel by John Darkow, Columbia Missourian

When the time came for my group, I signed up everywhere there was a whisper of getting a vaccine appointment. Rumor had it that my doctor’s office might have 300 slots if I got there fast enough and kept calling and nagging them. (“Nope. Nada. No can do,” they said.) Two hospitals were rumored to have the shots but none that were affiliated with my doctors. (I was beginning to think this was a race thing because no Black person I knew had been able to procure a shot in my area.) I signed up on my county health website. (Eleanor, who?—don’t call us, ‘cause we ain’t gonna call you!) I heard about an obscure pharmacy in my town that uses the cutesy old English spelling of double p’s to describe its establishment—all I had to do was send a text to get on their list for a vaccine appointment, but apparently, they ran out of shots the day before I signed up. (They ghosted me like a Dickens specter, but never bothered to tell me that I didn’t have a snowball’s chance in Hell of getting vaccinated).  National news said one of the largest pharmacies in the land would offer millions of shots, and all I had to do was go online and sign up, but every time I logged on (day after day after day after day) every single appointment was booked.  (“W of the T of the F,” I thought, “I escaped the ghetto, certainly I can outsmart a stupid pharmacy website!”)

Cartoon used by permission: 249092_RGB_1290.png Losing It by Steve Sack The Minneapolis Star Tribune MN

With my laptop in hand and my phone by my side, I stayed up through the night one evening mainlining caffeine, pinching myself to stay awake, and watching the sequel to the Gilmore Girls. (The revisit with the girls left something to be desired, BTW.)  At exactly two minutes after midnight, I logged onto the big pharmacy website, and Eureka! There were open appointments…although it took me a lifetime jumping through all the pages of questions they demanded like, “of these gazillion addresses listed, which one do you remember as a place you might have lived thirty years ago?” (Are you shittin’ me, giant pharmacy store? I can’t even remember what I had for dinner last week!)  By the time I finally escaped their Indiana Jones death traps and clicked on “submit,” and received two dates (one for each 2-shot vaccine), I thought I had won the lottery.  (Hallelujah, praise the Lord! Thank you, Jesus!)

I bragged to everyone I knew that I had done the impossible and had gotten an appointment on the giant pharmacy website. I had done what other mere mortals could not do. My friends were so jealous.  I gave tutorials on how to go fishing for a vaccine appointment at two minutes after midnight when the pharmacy uploaded the new slots.  I was flying high!  (Note to self: pride goeth before the fall.)  Until…until the nation-wide pharmacy sent me an email three weeks later that my first appointment had been rescheduled.  (Same time—different date.)  Okay, okay…just keep breathing, I told myself—stay calm.  You’ve got your foot in the door.  They can’t abandon you now.  (Oy, I am so naive!)  Two days before my first shot, I got an email which announced that my rescheduled appointment had been cancelled and they had no idea when it would be rescheduled.  (“We’ll call you and reschedule promise.” Liars! They never did.) 

I finally did get my first vaccine (still waiting on the booster), but not through any of the multitudinous sites where I’m waitlisted.  I had to go through a backdoor channel because the sites that were supposed to do their job never got their shit together in my town.  (What a fuster cluck!)  I’m absolutely exhausted over this hunt to keep me alive.  I felt as if I were an addict trying to get a hookup.  I don’t want to hear any more news reports about Black people being reluctant to get the vaccine, because this is one Black person who had to move Heaven and Earth to get a needle shoved into my arm, and I’m still waiting for the repeat.

Covid-19 Vaccine ET: Photo Credit E. Tomczyk

Now I’m contemplating a world where I have more freedom.  I’m trying to wrap my head around reentering that world.  Apparently, that concept causes extreme anxiety too when a pandemic is winding down, if Dr. Gail Saltz is to be believed.  Where do I go first?  How far afield should I go?  Should I trust airplanes?  Should I go by car? How do I proceed?  Where will I be safe?  What should I wear?  Will any of my dress-up clothes still fit?  Should I wear one mask or two?  Will I be safe around the unvaccinated? Apparently, 50% of Trump supporters are anti-vaxxers and won’t wear masks—what do I do if I run into these Neanderthals other than beat the crap out of them for being so selfish?  What if I get sick from the booster shot?  What if…? It hurts my head.

I think I’m going to pull a Scarlett O’Hara and deal with it tomorrow—maybe sleep for a few more months.  Maybe catch up on the old Gossip Girl series while munching on a box of chocolates and Chinese take-out. YA literature pablum at 72 years old, wrapped in chocolate, accompanied by baby steps to reenter the world is all I can handle right now.  Just trying to get vaccinated wore me out for at least another year.

Cartoon used by permission: 249634_RGB_1290.jpg Post Pandemic Stress by Dave Whamond Canada PoliticalCartoons com

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: 248908_RGB_1290.jpg Tomb of the Unknown 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.

 
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Posted by on March 19, 2021 in Uncategorized

 

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ALL I WANT FOR CHRISTMAS IS . . .

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: In case you haven’t noticed 2020 has been a real shit show.  I’m so traumatized that I’ve got God on speed dial, and I’m harassing White Santa Claus every hour on the hour for what I want for Christmas.  Below are a few of my petitions sent directly to the North Pole. 

Cartoon used by permission: 246820_RGB_1290.jpg Stuck at home for Christmas by John Cole The Scranton Times Tribune PA

DEAR WHITE SANTA:  All I want for Christmas is my brain back.  A 72-year-old brain is not supposed to handle a pandemic, a lunatic, racist President who is destroying our country, people dying by the thousands per week—including personal friends—families being evicted on a daily basis, me unable to see friends from out-of-town and family for almost a year, threat of a civil war over to mask-or-not-to-mask, and the curse of possibly getting COVID-19 and dying from it due to my age and comorbidities.  I wrestle with insomnia and my brain is threatening to leave home and not return until Jesus comes back or you show yourself to be real.  I’ve never seen evidence of you in my life, you know.  Remember how you never bought me one toy when I was a poor Black child—not one fuckin’ toy?  I admit I wasn’t the best kid, but I wasn’t the worst either.  You try growing up in foster homes and an orphanage, and see how you manage. Do I sound bitter?  Maybe just a little.  Well, now is the time for you to make it up to me. I want you to start giving me presents.  Let’s start with my brain: I want my brain back!

Before I entered 2020, my brain was superb! I played “Hand, Knee, Foot, Canasta” every Monday with a bunch of ladies, wrote three books, and hundreds of stories and essays.  Now my brain has turned to mush, and I’m sure it is due to stress.  This morning, I lined up behind a man in the grocery store who looked like someone I know very well, but since I’ve never had to pick him out of a lineup by recognizing his ass, I wasn’t quite sure if it was my friend or not since we were six-feet apart.  However, I prepared to shout, “Hi—Merry Christmas!” to his back through my two super-duper Israeli masks (I take no chances at the grocery store), but when I opened my mouth, I couldn’t remember his name.  WTF! White Santa Claus, I panicked!  I know this man very well—I know his wife even better, but all I could bring to the forefront of my brain was the first initial of his name: “B.”  Any minute I knew the guy would turn around, and I’d have to address him by name.  Was it Bob, Bill, Ben, Barry, Bryson, Bennett, Brandon, Beau, Blake…? As beads of sweat formed on my forehead and dripped beneath my four-ply masks, he turned around, recognized me, and I went for broke: “Hi, Brody—Merry Christmas, my friend!” My friend didn’t recoil in horror so I must have gotten his name correct.  He greeted me by name (clearly his brain is still intact), and we yelled our commiserations back and forth about how we are both soooooo over 2020.  Whew!

Cartoon used by permission: 246243_RGB_1290.jpg Christmas List by Rick McKee CagleCartoons com

DEAR WHITE SANTA:  The second thing I want for Christmas is for you to capture Donald Trump and take him back to the North Pole with you.  Put him on a strict diet of no cell phone, no social media, no fast food, no sex, no sycophants, no friends, no relatives, no money, no visitors, and no red caps.  In other words, put him in prison.  Keep him there until he repents for the 40,000-plus lies he’s uttered, asks forgiveness to all the women he’s sexually abused, and confesses to all the crimes he’s committed.  Please throw away the key.

Cartoon used by permission: 246467_RGB_1290.jpg My favorite gift by John Darkow Columbia Missourian

DEAR WHITE SANTA:  Another thing I could use for Christmas is for you to end 2020 the day after Christmas.  Just skip to 2021.  We’ve all had it with this year. This isn’t a deal breaker, but it sure would be nice.

Cartoon used by permission: 246623_RGB_1290 (1).jpg Peace on Earth by David Fitzsimmons The Arizona Star Tucson AZ

DEAR WHITE SANTA:  One more thing I’d like for Christmas: please lobotomize the MAGA people.  While doing so, please clean the wax out their ears and soften their hearts to hear the true message of Christmas.  (It wouldn’t hurt to glue their mouths shut!) I’m sure you’ve noticed that they have been very bad little boys and girls for the past four years and are still misbehaving to the point of trying to engage in a civil war.  Ain’t nobody got time for that, White Santa.  They don’t believe the pandemic is real, they won’t wear masks and social distance, they’re saying that they won’t take the vaccine for the COVID-19, and they think the election was stolen from he-whose-name-I-hope-will-never-be-spoken-after-2020.  I know you tend to have a soft spot for White people, but they gotta go, Dude!

Cartoon used by permission: 246111_RGB_1290 (1).jpg All I want for Christmas by Dave Whamond Canada PoliticalCartoons com

DEAR WHITE SANTA:  All I REALLY want for Christmas is to hug my kids, grandson, and sister.  But since I can’t, please bless our Zoom times together, and grant us much joy and laughter.  I’d like to put in my “ask” for next Christmas though:  May my family and I all be together in person on Christmas 2021. Amen!

Cartoon used by permission: 246784_RGB_1290.jpg Christmas Wish by Bill Day Tallahassee FL

DEAR WHITE SANTA:  All I want for Christmas is my two vaccines.  I’m following all the rules and doing all that is necessary to keep others safe as well as myself.  These vaccines are my ability to see family and to travel.  Maybe I’ll even come visit you, Chubby Dude—assuming you’ve received your shots.

Cartoon used by permission: 204440_RGB_1290.png HAPPY BIRTHDAY by Milt Priggee Kitsap Sun

DEAR WHITE SANTA:  What I really, really want for Christmas, I don’t think you’re capable of giving me. In fact, I think even with all your good intentions, you obfuscate the real meaning of Christmas.  The real hope of Christmas is not an obese White man (no offense) who sneaks into houses via chimneys, devours cookies and milk at EACH HOUSE (Seriously? you probably have diabetes something fierce), and uses reindeer-power instead of gas or electricity to get here and there.  No offense, Dude, but I want the true promise of what the birth of Jesus means to all mankind:  peace on the Earth, goodwill to all people, no more hunger, no more strife, love and grace to everyone, no more sadness, no more sorrow, and joy to all!  If you see Jesus in your travels, please let him know that his character and name have been hijacked in 2020 to mean something other than what Christmas should be all about, and we could use a refresher course.

Cartoon used by permission: 246732_RGB_1440.png Bedtime Prayer by Ed Wexler CagleCartoonscom

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!

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.

 
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Posted by on December 23, 2020 in Uncategorized

 

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I’M IN LOVE WITH A NASTY, ANGRY, HORRIBLE, DISRESPECTFUL MADWOMAN

Cartoon used by permission: 242362_RGB_1290.png Running mate Harris by Bart van Leeuwen PoliticalCartoons com

“We need more than a victory on November 3rd, we need a mandate that proves that the past three years do not represent who we are or who we aspire to be.”—Kamala Harris, The Future VP of the United States

Needless to say, I am in love!  I didn’t think it was going to matter to me which qualified woman Vice President Biden picked to be his running mate until he picked Kamala Harris.  Granted it was the unveiling of an historical moment, which caused even my very White husband to choke up with tears at the possibilities, but it was also the power and hope I felt rising up in me, my daughters, and my friends as Kamala spoke when she accepted the call to action from Joe Biden. The power with which she so excellently and urgently prosecuted the zeitgeist of corruption, racism, and death against Donald Trump that he has unleashed into the lives of the people in the United States made me stand up and shout “hallelujah!”  As she declared, “The case against Donald Trump and Mike Pence is open and shut,” for the first time I could see a future without Trump, and I felt sure Vice President Kamala Harris was going to help get us there. Maybe even become our first woman president.

I tried to imagine how this chapter of America’s story might be told to our children in 100 years.  I wondered what kind of children’s books would be written about Kamala as future generations looked back on the dystopian country that “nasty” women like her helped save from the very brink of destruction.

A 2120 CHILDREN’S BOOK FOR VERY, VERY SMART CHILDREN

THE MARVELOUS, FANTASTIC, NASTY, ANGRY, HORRIBLE, DISRESPECTFUL, MADWOMEN WHO DESTROYED A LYING KING AND SAVED A KINGDOM by E. Tomczyk

Once upon a time, in a nation that existed a hundred years ago, there lived a people of many ethnicities and races.  It was a vast land that had often see-sawed from murderously grotesque (a misshapen monster of its actual self) to outrageously sublime (the best it could be) in trying to fulfill its pledge of “…one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.” 

After hundreds of years of fits and starts after it was born, the majority of the people enthusiastically elected a chocolate leader who seemed to embody the promise and the hope of that great land. Unfortunately, a significant part of the vanilla people who existed within the kingdom and who considered themselves to be the most righteous and loved by God were very, very angry and plotted to make him a one-term leader. They could not see beyond his race and ethnicity and worked night and day to try to destroy him. But no matter what his enemies did, the chocolate leader was greatly loved, admired, and adored by many and led the nation to a better place for eight years.

But as in far too many stories about humans, an evil being arose on the horizon and captured the hearts and imaginations of a majority of the vanilla people (including a few of the chocolate people—I’m not going to lie), and let them establish him as King. He was a bright orange color (similar to a Cheeto), and he came to be known as “The Lying Toddler King.”

Immediately, The Lying Toddler King got on most people’s nerves—worldwide.  He was crude and rude, and he lied when telling the truth would have been so much easier.  Lying was his modus operandi.  There are those who say he averaged 30 lies a day.  Because he had never progressed beyond toddlerhood, he didn’t read, he refused to share, and he demanded to have his own way all the time.

If more knowledgeable adults and court advisors tried to correct The Lying Toddler King, he would shoot nasty words of 280 characters at them and make them very, very afraid.  Most of them would tremble in terror.  Whenever the Lying Toddler King threw nasty blue birds at them, reputations would be shot down, jobs would be lost, and the wounded recipients would crawl back home and hide under their beds. Once Toddler King actually hurled 200 tweets at his kingdom peeps in one day!

“Why in the ‘cuss word’* do you treat the peeps so badly?” a couple of The Lying Toddler King’s sycophants asked at the beginning of his reign.  “Can’t you see that many of them love you; we just don’t think you should say racist, misogynist, perverse things to your subjects or they will become disappointed and vote you out of your toddler kingdom.  Best to keep those things inside your tiny little head or you will scare people.”

“NO! NO! NOOOOO!  I do what I want, you ‘cuss word’ lapdogs.  Don’t you know that my people are so loyal that I can shoot anyone on 5th Avenue and no one would stop me?” boasted The Lying Toddler King.

Three years went by and The Lying Toddler King ruled with impunity (that means he never got put in a “time-out” corner for anything he did that was bad, boys and girls).  But a lot of bad things began to happen on his watch.  Sickness and death.  Injustice and brutality.  Murder and mayhem.  Racism and cruelty.  Destruction and pollution. It got so bad that chocolate and vanilla people joined together to remove the bad king. The women—especially the chocolate ones—had had enough! They picked a grownup vanilla man by the name of Joe Biden who, in turn, picked a chocolate running mate by the name of Kamala Devi Harris to fight The Lying Toddler King and his sycophantic side-kick whose name was Mike Pence (also a man-baby of the pasty white variety).

Kamala Devi—isn’t that an unusual name, boys and girls?  It literally means: “Lotus—goddess of prosperity, good luck, and beauty, which manifests as protective womanhood that is fierce—strong enough to create new worlds but able to destroy those worlds…”  Kamala was the first African-American, Asian-American woman on a major-party presidential ticket in the vast land of our story.  Her mother was born in India and her father was born in Jamaica.  They immigrated to America and Kamala was born in that great land.

Go figurean immigrant and a chocolate woman as well!  This was the Lying Toddler King’s worst nightmare. He immediately became frightened and confused. It was well known that his kryptonite was strong women—especially strong chocolate women.  He sensed that they had the power to eat his lunch. The Lying Toddler King had a giant hissy-fit and pulled a bunch of mean and racist building blocks out of his toy chest to throw at Kamala. “She’s such a nasty woman, I tell you.  NASTY, NASTY, NASTY!” wailed The Lying Toddler King.  “She’s angry and horrible!  I think she’s a madwoman. Did you see how disrespectful she was to Sleepy Joe?  I’m surprised he even picked her as a play-date buddy.  Besides, I heard she doesn’t even belong here among our vanilla people, and the rules forbid her to be one of its leaders.  I heard her parents were born in ‘cuss word’-hole countries.  Somebody better check that out!  Where the ‘cuss word’ is my nukkie?”

The more the Lying Toddler King screamed and yelled, the more women of both chocolate and vanilla colors came together to declare their allegiance to the Biden/Kamala team because for the first time in years, they could see a better world ahead.  Eighty-year-old vanilla women were sending emails to seventy-year-old chocolate women that read: “I’d almost lost hope until I heard Joe Biden picked Kamala Harris as his running mate.  We just might survive, after all!”  Grown chocolate and vanilla men who didn’t fear strong women were high-fiving each other. Chocolate little and big girls burst into tears because for the first time they saw someone who looked like them who was prepared to help bring down The Lying Toddler King and potentially break the most powerful glass ceiling in the land. They made T-shirts that declared: I’M A NASTY, ANGRY, HORRIBLE, DISRESPECTFUL MADWOMAN!  HEAR ME ROAR, MOTHER “CUSS WORD”! The more these women roared, the more The Lying Toddler King became frightened and unglued.  They became known as the NAHDMs throughout the land, and no matter how much The Lying Toddler King tried to cheat, steal, or destroy the election, in the end all the NAHDM women—chocolate and vanilla—stood united and they crushed him and removed him from the throne!

The citizens of that great nation learned their lesson and never elected a baby king to lead them again.  You’ll have to read the sequel to find out whether or not they ever reached their ancestors’ vision to be an ethical and just nation, thus leaving their children a better world.  In the meantime, the moral of this story, boys and girls, is never, ever underestimate a woman—especially a chocolate one.  THE END

(*The use of the word “cuss” instead of actual swear words is a shameless rip-off from the director Wes Anderson, who used this brilliant mode of communication for his animated characters when filming the children’s book “Fantastic Mr. Fox” by Roald Dahl.)

Cartoon used by permission: 242301_RGB_1290.jpg Trump Reacts To Kamala by Bob Englehart PoliticalCartoons com

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!

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.

 
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Posted by on August 16, 2020 in Uncategorized

 

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ARE YOU YOUR BROTHER’S KEEPER—YOU BET YOUR SORRY ASS, YOU ARE!

Cartoon used by permission: Mask mandate by Bruce Plante, Tulsa World

My pandemic body and mind are messing with my dreams.  In most of my dreams, I’m trying to escape from a frighteningly amorphous “unidentifiable something,” but at other times I have alternate-world movie-dreams that are crystal clear in which I wish would come true (like I’m 30 years old, look like Halle Berry, have the voice of Audra McDonald, and can eat anything I want).  I think these dreams or nightmares have a lot to do with the news I’ve consumed during the day mixed with what I’ve eaten for dinner and how soon I fall asleep after said consumption.

Last night I made the most amazing Keto lasagna sans pasta with extra, extra cheese (keep in mind that I’m lactose intolerant), hot Italian sausage, eggplant slices, and the perfect marinara sauce.  It was the kind of ooey-gooey pleasure that you just know will create demons of indigestion exploding from your butt at the pitch and rhythm of Army taps while setting your esophagus on fire straight up from your tummy to your hair follicles, as visions of cheese balls dance in your head.

I went to bed much too early following my sumptuous repast, but a massive thunderstorm (keep in mind that I am deathly afraid of thunderstorms) settled over my house and rather than pace the floor in terror like a traumatized puppy, I plugged in my sound machine and my iPod featuring endless Barbra Streisand songs, and promptly fell asleep. So it was that I dreamt of a land where the MAGA Christians suddenly woke up as if from a nightmare and all simultaneously burned their red hats in massive bonfires across the land in exchange for bracelets that bore the initials WWJD: What Would Jesus Do?

Cartoon used by permission: 240874  Masks a miracle cure by Dave Whamond Canada PoliticalCartoons com

“Ooh, ooh, ooh, I know,” said one very White Evangelical Christian. “Jesus would wear a mask during these times, even as he preached, and be a leader who set an example of the right thing to do for the good of all the people. After all, it was Jesus who said: ‘The second most important command is this: Love your neighbor the same as you love yourself.’”

Another White Evangelical WWJD bracelet wearer chimed in with a Bible verse of love that she seemed to have learned long ago but had forgotten until her head was set free from the tyranny of the MAGA hat—”I am positive that Jesus would wear a mask at all times and encourage all his followers to do so because he said: ‘I can guarantee this truth: Whatever you did for one of my brothers or sisters, no matter how unimportant they seemed, you did for me.'”

“Jiminy-Crickets, why don’t we show America how it should be done?” said a White Evangelical grandma.  “Sugar, we should all wear masks to protect our fellow human beings—our neighbors—our countrymen because wasn’t it Jesus who said: ‘So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.’”

The dream was so sweet and hopeful. Just when I was feeling all kumbaya in my alternate world, a thunder clap woke me at 3:00 a.m. and slammed me back into the real world. It sounded as if the Earth split in half.  Unable to get back to my happy place dream, I got out of bed, made myself a cup of tea, and checked the news feed on my phone:

“The one area where white evangelicals fall far behind? Mask wearing. A white evangelical under the age of 35 is 13 percentage points less likely to wear a mask in public than the same age group in the general population (58.7% vs. 71.8%).”—Christianity Today.

“…in America, not wearing a mask has become a political statement — and it’s a statement increasingly being made by avowedly devout Christians.”—Anthea Butler/Think

Cartoon used by permission: 241088 Maskless Bob by Monte Wolverton Battle Ground WA

Unable to go back to sleep, I googled what MAGA folks (80% of them Evangelical Christians) were doing to save the most vulnerable among us. Maybe my dream was prophetic.  Maybe they would ignore their toddler king and do the right thing—once and for all.  But what I found of their reported actions was not WWJD but WWSD: What Would Satan Do?

“I got every fuckin’ right to not wear a mask,” said a Costco customer who was asked to leave the store for not obeying their rule of “no entry without a face mask.”

Security guard (father of eight) at a Michigan Dollar Store was killed after he asked a woman to leave the store for not wearing a mask.  She left and then returned with her husband and her son and shot him dead.

Old man in a Dollar Store rubbed his snotty nose and rheumy face on the shirt of a store employee just for spite after she asked him to put on a face mask.

The Utah County Commission postponed a meeting on masks after scores of protesters packed the room—wall to wall—without wearing masks as a massive human “FU” to the commission’s mere discussion of wearing masks to protect their neighbors (isn’t this Mormon country?).

A female clerk was punched in the face three times when she told a male customer she couldn’t sell him cigarettes unless he put on a mask.

Georgia governor (anti-mask Trump sycophant) started a mask war against Atlanta’s mayor (pro-mask wearing Covid-19 survivor) by suing the mayor and the city council when the mayor requested all citizens of Atlanta wear masks to protect their family, friends, and neighbors.

Cartoon used by permission: 239371 Face Masks by Pat Bagley The Salt Lake Tribune UT

“What a world!  What a world! What a world!” I groaned.  Before I knew it, the sun had risen and my husband strolled into the kitchen for breakfast.  After kissing me good morning, he asked, “So how’s your ass?”

“What? How’s my ass? That’s a weird question,” I replied. 

“No, it isn’t.  I’ve been awake since 3:00 a.m. because you let off the loudest fart I’ve ever heard.  Not only was it loud but it seemed endless. (Don’t even get me started on the smell.)  In fact, I didn’t know that such a powerful sound could come out of a human being’s butt. Isn’t your a-hole in excruciating pain? I am amazed you’re able to sit on your bottom.”

“That was not a fart at 3:00 a.m., that was a massive thunder clap from the heavens,” I said.

“It was a massive thunder clap all right—straight out of your ass. It woke me up.  I half expected to look up and see you floating at the top of the bedroom ceiling.  If that had been the case, I have no idea how I would have gotten you down.  You know it was that double-cheese, veggie Keto lasagna, in case anyone is in doubt, Ms. Lactose-intolerant Lady.  So for the sake of your ass and your fellow-man (a.k.a. your husband), you might want to put that recipe on the trash heap marked: ‘The end of ET’s love affair with cheese.’  After all, what did Jesus say: ‘So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them…’  Time to give up the cheese, Babe!”

Cartoon used by permission: 240662 The End Is Near by Rick McKee CagleCartoons com

“At long last, we have made a truly game-changing scientific breakthrough in preventing the spread of COVID-19.  We have found a disease-control tool that, when used properly, can reduce transmission by somewhere between 50% and 85%.  The tool is cheap and remarkably low-tech.  You can even make one at home.” —The Power of Masks by Gavin Yamey/Time magazine

Cartoon used by permission: 239295 Mask Hamlet by Steve Sack The Minneapolis Star Tribune MN

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!

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.

 
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Posted by on July 25, 2020 in Uncategorized

 

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SNAPSHOTS FROM THE CORONAVIRUS EDGE

“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 PoliticalCartoons.com

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

PANDEMIC POOPS

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.’”

(Shit!)

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

I AM SLOWLY GOING CRAZY, ONE TWO THREE FOUR GOING CRAZY…

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

I MISS MY BABIES AND MY BABY’S BABY

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 PoliticalCartoons.com

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.

 
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Posted by on May 6, 2020 in Uncategorized

 

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TOILET PAPER COULD GET A PERSON KILLED

Cartoon used by permission: 236338 Life as we know it by John Darkow Columbia Missourian

“In the year 2525, if man is still alive—if woman can survive, they may find…” NO TOILET PAPER!

I’m almost certain the song writer Richard Lee Evans wasn’t thinking about toilet paper when he wrote the first two lines of his apocalyptic song in 1964, but toilet paper sure is on my mind in these pandemic days of the coronavirus.  I’m convinced that the wipe-out of toilet paper is a sign…a sign that America is one sheet of TP away from a total moral meltdown.

And I even have some butt in the game.  I’ve got Celiac disease with an occasional side service of IBS (irritable bowel syndrome), and toilet paper is my best bud.

So for me, this coronavirus hoarding shit just got real.

It isn’t just that TP has taken the place of gold, but it is the losing of our minds over the anticipated lack of it.  I don’t know, maybe the entire country has IBS which makes sense given the President we have—just sayin’.   If that is the case, I suppose the hoarding could be forgiven.  But somehow, I don’t think so… I just heard that people got into fights at my local Costco over the last couple of packs of TP.  In the area where one of my friends lives, people were seen assessing whether they could outrun their fellow shoppers, then they snatched said toilet paper out of other people’s carts and made a mad dash for the checkout counter.

Know your meme.com
Cartoon used by permission:  236278 Martian TP by Gary McCoy Shiloh IL

To make matters worse, fighting over toilet paper is not the only sign that we Americans are not going to weather this end-time scenario very well.  (Remember:  This is just the beginning—we could be in this “sans toilet paper world” for months, maybe years.  BTW people: Can we all spell BIDET?)

BIDET MEME: Pin by Jonathan Friday on Custom Memes

The other day, I went to the grocery store.  Since I’m old, I decided to arrive as soon as the store opened to avoid the crowds.  When I pulled into the parking lot and couldn’t find a parking space, I knew I would be in for a bumpy ride.  This grocery store is rather high end and expensive.  I chose to shop there because it is small and I knew I’d encounter fewer people—thus less issue with potential contamination as I am one of those in the high risk category (over 60 with a compromised immune system).  But when I pulled up to the store, there were hordes of very old White people banging on the glass doors to be let in (not one minority in the midst of the maddening crowd).  (Did I mention that I live in a town where people go to die after having made a lot of money in their careers?  Consequently, we have scores of very old, conservative, White, educated, rich people who predominantly voted for Trump because they thought he increased their stock portfolios and/or they are Evangelical Christians.)  Anyway, the people who were banging on the store windows all rushed inside when the doors were unlocked and made a beeline to the meat counter at the back of the store.  (Who knew 70 and 80 year olds could move that fast while pushing a grocery cart?)  By the time I got my service ticket, I was number 30.  There were no whole chickens, no chicken thighs or drumsticks, there were ten chicken wings, very little hamburger, a few cartoons of eggs from some free range farm that cost a king’s ransom and no carrots. 

“You know this is the only grocery store in town that has any meat left,” said the old lady with the nervous twitch who almost knocked over the bread cart as she tried to keep 6 feet of space between us. “That can’t be possible,” I gasped.  “We have four grocery stores within a two-mile radius!” 

Cartoon used by permission:  235885  COVID-19 and shortages by Dave Granlund PoliticalCartoons com

By the time I got to the butcher counter, the only meat and fish left were the cuts the Queen of England would serve for a fancy state dinner party.  “Is this all the meat you have today?  Isn’t there any chicken?” I asked the butcher. “Yep and nope,” he said, with a look of, “take it or leave it, lady—I been here since 6 a.m. butchering meat.  It’s not my fault that your greedy neighbors snatched up what little we had as if these rich old people would never eat again.  I got no whole chickens, no chicken thighs, no chicken legs, and the last of the chicken wings just got sold while answering your stupid questions.” 

As I quickly pointed to cuts of meat I’d either never cooked before (rack of lamb) or that cost me an arm and a leg (Prime Steaks) to purchase, I heard someone in the depleted egg section “Pssst!” me over his way.   The summons had come from a young African-American man who I’d never seen before.  There are not many of my peeps who shop in that store, so if you see one and you don’t know them, they either work there or they are tourists.   He was a new stock employee replenishing $5.00 a cup “Goat’s milk” yogurt made by Tibeto-Burman people from the eastern and central Himalayas. (All the Dannon, Chobani, and Stoneyfield yogurt had long gone the way of the chicken wings.)

The young man invaded my social distancing space to angrily complain about the racism in my town.  “Do you see that White woman over there?” said my new coronavirus friend.  “She coughed—COUGHED!—right in my face, didn’t apologize, didn’t even acknowledge me—just went on her merry way.  I’ve only been working here a week and I’ve never seen racism like this.  It’s the most racist town I’ve ever lived in!” 

Oh good grief, I thought.  All I wanted was some hamburger meat and a roast chicken.  Now I’m going to be involved in a race war.  “Listen, my millennial baby,” I said.  “I’ve lived here for a while.  Most of the people in the town are very lovely.  Do we have racists?  Yes, we do. But for every racist we have, there are ten more people who are not of that ilk.  If I were to take a guess, that woman is probably not a racist in the classic sense, she probably is just a self-absorbed bitch.  I would wager that we have more bitches than we do racists in this town.  Now go spray yourself down with some Lysol and think happy thoughts, for Christ’s sake, because things are going to get a hell of a lot crazier than this in the months to come.”

Cartoon used by permission:  235931 American Panic by Marian Kamensky Austria

All I could think of as I drove away (besides how I needed to call my friend Marilyn ASAP to ask her how to cook a rack of lamb) was that America may not survive COVID-19, not because of its deadly virus components, not because we don’t have the resources or the scientists to discover a cure, but because it hasn’t taken much to scratch the surface of our self-centeredness (“toilet paper for me and mine, I don’t give a shit about you and yours”), fears, suspicions, xenophobia, and meanness.  I heard a few days ago that gun sales were going through the roof.  Ammunition sales were unprecedented.  Looks like we’ll probably kill each other with guns long before the coronavirus does.

If I run into my new millennial grocery store friend again, I will share with him a secret that I learned from Viktor Frankl’s writing (survivor of four Nazi concentration camps); if the young man embraces this truth he will be able to live anywhere through anything with anyone at any time:

“Forces beyond your control can take away everything you possess except one thing, your freedom to choose how you will respond to the situation.  You cannot control what happens to you in life, but you can always control what you will feel and do about what happens to you.”

In the meantime, for all my fellow citizens who are refusing to isolate themselves and are engaging in careless behavior (Spring Break millennials and some mega churches) thus disregarding the health of their fellow citizens, a pox on you and all your houses!

Cartoon used by permission:  236414 Spring Break morons COVID 19 by Dave Granlund PoliticalCartoons com

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: 236377 TP Treasure by Steve Sack The Minneapolis Star Tribune MN

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.

 
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Posted by on March 19, 2020 in Uncategorized

 

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