My Mornings During The COVID-19 VIRUS



     7 a.m. I try to be out of bed and downstairs by 7 to watch the top of a CNN broadcast from a sitting position in a room where important business is conducted several times a day. (The older you are, the broader the definition of the word “several.”)

     7:15 a.m. After sipping from a bottle of Gatorade Zero (a product that is a true zero in taste, sugar and color), I apply a prescribed gel to my left IT Band. No, this is not a befuddled ancient citizen rubbing Vasoline willy-nilly on his router or modem. Nor is it an old guy fiddling with his willy-nilly. The iliotibial band is one of those parts of the body that was never taught in health classes at my high school in Indiana.  There are a number of possibilities why our teachers never mentioned it: they had never heard of it; it hadn’t been discovered yet; a largely Anglo-Saxon teaching corps didn’t think any word with six vowels in it was worth learning. (While we’re on this subject, one website says the IT Band can be aggravated by “frequently wearing high heels.” That must be it. I have to stop!)

     7:20 a.m. I get dressed, take another swig of Gatorade, watch a few more minutes of TV, grab a tangerine and, depending on what day of the week it is, I may take out the garbage or the newspapers and cardboard. 

     7:45 a.m. Eating my tangerine in the car, I arrive at Bay Park in East Rockaway, Long Island, about three miles from my house. It’s a park on the water that was destroyed along with a neighboring sanitation plant during Superstorm Sandy. Both have now been rebuilt. I go for a walk.

     8:15 a.m. I’m back in the car. While the park is pretty, there are no spectacular views and the walk itself is pretty boring. All the ball fields and courts are closed as is the dog run. There are usually only one or two other souls in the park, and they keep their distance. The other morning a car drove by with a driver who looked like Harpo Marx. The dog in the passenger seat had the same hairdo, so I’m guessing the driver and dog share a hair dresser. That was the most excitement yet in about three weeks of walking there. If I could count on the Harpo Marxs being regulars, that would brighten my days. 

     8:20 a.m. If we need groceries, I stop at the King Kullen supermarket where I can buy a copy of Newsday, a paper hard to find these days. (Before the crisis. I would buy a Newsday and a $1 scratch off lottery ticket at a convenience store and then go to a coffee shop around the corner for a black decaf and chatter with a counterman and the owner. The conversation year-round was frequently about baseball interspersed with occasionally brilliant observations concerning what I will simply describe as the vacancy at the White House.)

     8:30 a.m. I get on the floor at home and do 20-30 minutes of stretching. Many of the exercises call for holding the same position for 30 seconds. During normal times at the gym, I can cheat, but there’s a loud, ticking clock in the room with me now so I have to do the full 30 seconds. 

     9:00-9:10 a.m. Shower and shave. Every morning I tell myself I should bend down and open a low cabinet door to tighten a doohickey that keeps water from draining out of the sink. Every morning I don’t.

     9:15 a.m. Breakfast, Usually cereal, OJ and toast with way too much jam on it, but some mornings its scrambled eggs, OJ and a roll with way too much jam on it. 

     9:15-11:15 a.m. Media time. That includes turning on the TV to check the stock market and the lead story at the top of the hour (many mornings the lead story is approximately 456 hours old) and reading The New York Times front page, the letters to the editor, the op/ed page columns, any book review written by Dwight Garner and doing the mini crossword puzzle.

     11:20 a.m. I leave the breakfast nook and go into the front room where there is a woman in a rocker who says her name is Irene. I ask her if she has finished Jumble, one of our mutual intellectual challenges of the day.

     11:25-11:55 a.m. I check email and Facebook on my mini iPad. There may be a conversation with the lady in the rocker about what movie we might watch at 8 p.m., hoping to preserve a few remaining strands of sanity. 

     11:55 a.m. I head upstairs, telling myself that essay I’ve been working on for the last two days is a genuine gem.

     12:00-12:10 p.m. After again checking email and Facebook plus a quick look at the obits in the Frankfort, Indiana, paper, I open the essay, shocked to find it is illogical, unfocused and that I have used the same word six times in one page.

     12:15 p.m. I’m falling asleep. My essays will do that to you. I decide to go downstairs, have an early lunch and an early nap.  

     The outlook for tomorrow? More of the same.


(Posted April 9, 2020)


                                        Letter to My Doctor 

 March 31, 2020


    Dear Dr. ______________

    Don’t worry. I’m keeping my weight up during this pandemic. That statement is on the up-and-up in every meaning of that expression. 

    I remember you saying that dark chocolate was good for you, so assuming you meant it was good for me too I’ve been treating it like one of my medicines. I’m taking one dark chocolate 100g bar twice a day. If you think I should be taking three or four bars a day, please let me know.  (My favorite brand of dark chocolate is pretty darn expensive, but I’m keeping track and putting the receipts in my medical expenses file for this tax year.)

    With the gym closed, I’m still getting my exercise. I go for a half hour walk in a park and then, after a stop nearly every morning at the supermarket, I come home and do my stretching. On a very hard floor, mind you. Without a gym exercise ball at home, you might think my routine would be shorter, but it isn’t. There’s a clock with a loud tick in the room where I stretch and the methodical tick, tick, tick makes it harder for me to cheat in counting to 30 on every rep. And yes, to be honest, I have thought of using a different room or moving the clock.

    Besides the dark chocolate, I’m watching my sugar consumption in other ways. Most mornings I drink a large glass of orange juice and usually have toast or a roll with a generous dollop of Austrian jam. I’m careful about reading the labels on sugar content. The jam jar says 12%, but that was the sugar content when it left the plant in Austria. It probably loses some of that as it makes its way across the Atlantic to my supermarket on Long Island, right?

    I’m being careful about hydrating. Aren’t you proud of me? I have a bottle of water on the cabinet behind me as I’m writing this. A Google search the other day said that 90 to 95% of beer is water, so after around four in the afternoon (some days three p.m.) I switch to beer. My math may be a little off, but I figure that most days by the time I go to bed at 11:15 I’ve had the equivalent of 540-570% of water. Pretty good, if I do say so.

    To be honest, once things get back to normal, it will be interesting to see what I weigh. Normally, I got on the scale at the gym. A few days ago a relative came and took the scale we keep in our bathroom (why she needed it so urgently I don’t know). The way I see it, Doc, if I’ve put on two or three pounds or more by my next appointment it will be her fault, not mine. I hope you agree.

    Best wishes. My next appointment isn’t until just before Labor Day, Labor Day 2020, I hope.

    Larry McCoy