Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Office Space: Coronavirus Home Edition

1 clever quips
Office Space: Coronavirus Home Edition Milton Stephen Root

Back in those halcyon days of, oh, four weeks ago, a friend shared a jokey tweet from Sam Adams, a senior editor with Slate. Adams wrote that the most frightening aspect of a pandemic that forced people to stay in their homes for 90 days would be that “the only ones to survive will be freelance writers.”

It’s now Day Numbersomethingorother of The Big Sequester, folks. It’s the end of the world as you know it, but I feel fine.

This “new normal” the coronavirus created is generally not much different than any ol’ normal day I’ve had for the past 16 years as a work-at-home writer, a socially distant profession well before it became de rigueur. The commute to my office remains congestion-free, provided the dog doesn’t cut me off in his haste to attend to his own business outside. My three-martini lunches still consist of a seltzer and leftovers with Jim Rockford, P.I. I’m always home in time for dinner because I’m always home and someone needs to cook.

Except now those nighttime meals are no longer made for me and my family. They’re for me and my three new full-time office mates.

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Love in the Time of Coronavirus

2 clever quips

My extreme couponing doesn’t seem so insane anymore, does it, Helen?

“Insane.” That was the word you used, wasn’t it? Let’s see if I remember your exact words.

“Nobody needs a hundred cases of pinto beans, Henry. I don’t care if you got them by preying on an acne-scarred cashier who mistakenly honored four competitor’s Sunday inserts and a rebate slip with an illegible expiration date,” you said. “Pallets of tuna fish cans! Pallets! Up to the ceiling. It’s insane, Henry, insane!”

I remember it clearly even though it was years ago. It was an oddly humid winter afternoon when I found you there, rooting around my stacks of Barilla rotini and Jif in search of an exit to the cozy fortification I created to be our apocalyptic escape home. You let out a little victory cry as you squeezed one last time out the steel door, obscured as it was by my towers of Ivory and Charmin.

Well, who wants some soap and TP now, Helen, hmm?

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Man Trains Dog, or Vice Versa

2 clever quips
dinger does snoopy imitation
If it was good enough for Snoopy ...
Training dogs for years essentially boiled down to whapping a disobedient pooch with a rolled-up newspaper. For several reasons, this is no longer true:
  • Most people today get their news online rather than on newsprint.
  • No one wants to do hurt their pooch let alone their expensive digital devices.
  • Modern theories on “positive” dog training insist there are no bad pups only lazy and inconsistent owners.
I know this because I’ve been up to my eye teeth for weeks in books, videos and Pup-peroni trying to mold our latest family member into a model canine citizen.

Tuesday, March 3, 2020

The Murphinator at Rest

5 clever quips
murphy's last beach day

My daughter, Li'l Diva, refuses to watch any non-animated movie with a dog as a main character. After seeing one too many of these in her lifetime, she has concluded man’s best friend “always dies in the end.”

This, of course, isn’t true. Critics and parents alike nauseated by Beethoven and the Air Buddies couldn’t kill off those canines in multiple sequels and, yes, while it’s been a few years since those series have been in production – trust me – they are just cat napping.

But in real life, all dogs do eventually die. The many joys that spunky puppy brings us on arrival eventually ends in a painful moment when a faithful, furry family member leaves forever. This is what happened to us several months ago.

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

This man's treasure is most likely trash

6 clever quips

A rare collectible that pays for a mansion and a yacht may be waiting in a dusty corner of your parents’ basement. However, not in mine. What I found there barely covers the latest increase in my cable bill.

This tale of discovery, or rather lack thereof one, started in North Dakota. A man there recently learned that a Rolex watch he had tucked away for half a century was worth up to $700,000, according to a story I saw last week on the evening news. This made me wonder if I too might have hidden away somewhere a precious antique, a conclusion based mainly on the logic that I am so old I still watch the evening news.

Tuesday, February 4, 2020

Trashing those decluttering fads

3 clever quips

Is there anything quite so American as the drive to accumulate stuff? The “he who has the most toys when he dies, win” mentality isn’t a modern phenomenon. Our forefathers had Manifest Destiny; your grandmother had those creepy Hummel figurines.
It comes as no surprise our national obsession to have more, more, more sporadically battles the reality that our homes only have room for less, less, less. This revelation originated with 19th century philosopher Henry David Thoreau, who mused, “Simplify, simplify, simplify! Start with your cable TV package.” The brilliant backwoodsman was ahead of his time but, alas, lousy with marketing and body odor.


My Uncool Past