| I don't know
about you, but the next time I hear someone refer to the "new normal,"
I think I might scream into my middle daughter's unacceptable new
bikini bottoms that I plan to confiscate and turn into a coronavirus
face mask. If adjusting my daily activities according to COVID-19
protocol is now the norm, I'm ready to declare myself an official
freakazoid, which is how most people (especially my family members)
see me, anyway.
I just can't accept this way of life, and I'm not gonna take it anymore-unless
the government, medical professionals, the local Walmart manager and
my wife tell me to. I now invite you to commiserate with me about
various aspects of life that have gotten on my first, middle and last
Speaking of the Walmart manager, I'm not sure I can tolerate another
shopping trip for my three daughters' nutritional requirements-like
tater tots, cocktail wieners and Reddi-wip. I've been to the local
Walmart so many times over the past two months that I recently dreamed
I had to fight off an attempt by the manager to fit me with one of
those "Proud Associate" vests.
Now, don't get me wrong. I truly appreciate all of my local grocery
stores and their employees standing in the gap for us during this
pandemic. I've actually wandered the aisles (in the wrong direction)
with tears of gratitude in my eyes while embracing an 18-pack of Angel
Soft Mega Rolls. It's just that I don't think I can stand any more
humiliation when my ration of ramen noodles won't scan properly at
the self-checkout counter and the "customer needs assistance" light
of shame starts blinking again.
When I'm not instigating mass eye rolling among my fellow Walmart
peeps, I'm usually going wackadoodle-in-place at home. I'm tired of
my house, and I'm worried that I'm wearing it out, especially the
plumbing. I'm not sure my home ever intended for me to occupy it this
much. We now have a permanent hiking trail in the flooring from my
bed, to the refrigerator, to my recliner, and to the bathroom. You'd
think with all of that exercise, I would've lost weight by now. Instead,
I'm blaming my added pounds on uncontrolled hair growth, which has
transformed my formerly stylish coiffure into one of those Russian
ushanka-hats. (If you read my previous column, Hank says, "Hi!")
I guess I can be thankful that I'm not spending all of this time in
my house alone, but I'm pretty sure our pets wish they were. It's
a sad day when your dogs treat you like you're intruding on their
"me time." Yes, these same creatures used to greet me at the door
as if my wardrobe was made entirely of Oscar Mayer products. Now they
treat me like that distant relative with bad breath your parents used
to force you to hug when you were little. Maybe the pets are acting
this way because I've spent part of quarantine practicing my dog-grooming
skills. But despite their poor attitudes, I'm happy to say they still
have most of their appendages.
Finally, (and I can't believe I'm saying this) I'm tired of dressing
like I'm always taking a short break between naps-which I am. I'm
not even sure I can operate a zipper correctly anymore, and a button
fly is completely out of the question. I remember when I used to savor
every moment lounging in a pair of sweatpants, pajamas, or Nike shorts.
Now, I'm just praying for the day when I'll have to squeeze into my
khakis, navigate a complex network of belt loops, and wear a nipple-chafing
dress shirt again. Ah, the good ol' days of uncomfortable office attire!
With America starting to open up, I'm hopeful that life will soon
return to its pre-corona monotony-and we can resume being terrified
of other global threats like climate change, vaping, and cauliflower
Until then, I guess we'll all have to deal with the "new normal,"
and so will my two dogs-if I can get them to hold still.