Day 32 – Stories of COVID-19 and Sheltering-In-Place

Thursday, April 16, 2020 – Live to Blog from Delirium


The Confrontation

#alonetogether

I was working peacefully in my office early this morning when I heard someone make one of those sounds you know is supposed to get your attention even though they try to make it sound like they aren’t trying to get you attention. It usually sounds like a little cough or a fake clearing of the throat. Writers typically portray it as “Ahem!”

So I turned around and they were standing in doorway to my office: Bert (Left), Ernie (Right), Beto, Enrique, and Matt Damon. Bert, always the mouthy one, started it off:

  • Bert (ever so rudely): Hey, bonehead, we need to talk.
  • Me: What? Who needs to talk?
  • Ernie: We do…all of us!
  • Beto and Enrique (together): Si! Nosotros nececitamos hablar!
  • Matt Damon: Definitely! What they said!
  • Me (puzzled): Why? What’s going on? (Then to Matt Damon) And, what are you doing here, Matt Damon?
  • Matt Damon: I’m not Matt Damon. I’m Winthrop Dijkstra-Baum. I only look like Matt Damon because you think you look like Matt Damon.

Okay, as an aside, Matt Damon did have a point. I sometimes introduce myself as Matt Damon because Matt Damon played a character in The Informant who was a dead ringer for me in the 1980’s, which was also the time period of the movie. See for yourself.

Not wanting to make too much of the similarity, I have carefully clarified to people, when they seem a bit taken back by my introduction as Matt Damon, that I can pass myself off as Matt Damon now because, when he is my current age (almost 66), he will look like me anyway. Seems logical, right?

Is it Tom or Matt? Ha! Gottcha! Was I right?
  • Me: Well, I do look like you, Matt, not right now…but when you are older…but, WAIT, what? You said you’re Winthrop Dijkstra-Baum? Why do you look like Matt Damon?
  • Matt/Winthrop: First, because I’m a handsome investigative news reporter. Second, because this is how you imagine me.
  • Me: Okay, that makes sense. Now, what’s this all about?
  • Ernie: Look, bonehead, we’re all getting fed up with how you are treating us.
  • Bert: Yeah, bonehead, we’re fed up. We don’t like it!
  • Me: What do you mean? What don’t you like?
  • Bert: What about us? Here we are hanging out with you and we don’t have any PPE. You’re an old coot. How do we know you aren’t infecting us?
  • Enrique: Si, bonehead! Lo que da?
  • Matt/Winthrop: What he said! We are essential employees and we deserve the PPE!
  • Me: First of all, you are not employees. You are volunteers.
  • Bert: What! We are not, bonehead! You think we are, but wait till you hear from our lawyers…and our union!
  • Me: You have a union?!? Oh, come on! You do not!
  • Beto: Si! Tenemos!
  • Ernie: Look, bucko bonehead, you are messing with the wrong people here!
  • Me: You know, this is ridiculous and you are ridiculous…well, maybe not Matt Damon…but the rest of you are. I’m going to get Clemencia to get you out of my office. (Calling out.) Clemencia! Clemencia! Clemencia!

Suddenly I felt a sharp pain in my left side.

  • Me: Ow! What’s that for? What are you doing?
  • Clemencia: Tom, wake up! Roll over. You’re yelling in your sleep…and snoring.
  • Me: Well, I’m sorry about that but, geez, that hurt. I was just having a nightmare and I needed your help.
  • Clemencia (softly and sympathetically): Mi cielo, lo siento. I’m so sorry. What was your nightmare about?

So I told her everything, except that Bert and Ernie were unwashed socks. I also didn’t mention that Winthrop was a dead ringer for Matt Damon and me (in the 1980s). She listened patiently and quietly to my story. Looking lovingly into my eyes she said, “Que gueva!” and then rolled over and went back to sleep.

The alarm was going to go off in 10 minutes anyway, so I got up. Besides, I didn’t want to have to deal with those gueva and their union reps.


The Adventures of Chickman

We need a hero today and I can’t think of anyone better than Chickenman – who was a radio superhero to me as a teenager. Chickenman had the super powers of distraction. He was born in the midst of the Vietnam War and was featured on stations across the country and in Vietnam on Armed Forces Radio. Chickenman always made me laugh, or at least smile. Today we need more smiles and less stupidity…unless it is intentional stupidity (like Chickenman) and it makes us smile.

Chickenman is Benton Harbor, mild mannered shoe salesman in a downtown Midland City. Please enjoy Episode 1, the 1 minute 33 second origin story of Chickenman and how he got his unique look and name.


Gotta Dance!

Here’s a video of a New Orleans performer I got to see live in the Fall before Katrina took it’s toll on the city. Bruce “Sunpie” Barnes and the Louisiana Sunspots. (Sunpie is the guy on the accordion.) I was attending a conference in the city and my friend (and CDC Project Officer) Kim Nolte was there. She had, if I remember the story correctly, been in college with Sunpie. She learned that his band was playing not far from the conference hotel. She convinced me and few other folks to go with her to see him perform and try some zydeco dancing. It was much fun and I fell in love with Sunpie’s music. It’s hard to keep your feet from moving when you hear this…as the little guy in the yellow shirt learned! Enjoy because sometimes we just gotta dance!


Stay safe, be well, keep calm, keep washing your hands, keep wearing your mask, and keep smiling and dancing…even when you don’t feel like it!

Tom

2 thoughts on “Day 32 – Stories of COVID-19 and Sheltering-In-Place”

  1. It is actually. Who’d of thunk it? Coincidentally, I worked on a couple of project’s with Matt Damon’s aunt who was a former health reporter and is film producer in the Boston area. Even weirder huh?

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