Lessons I Learned at the End of the World

By Marc Dion

August 7, 2020 4 min read

If it felt at all safe, I would finish this column and go out for a beer.

How incredibly old-fashioned it sounds to talk about going out for a beer.

"Honey, I'm going to go out for a beer," I'd say. "I'll be back by 10."

My father said that to his wife, and my grandfather said that to his wife, and I have said it to my wife. Though, in these modern times, she sometimes comes with me when I go out for a beer, although she drinks wine — merlot to be exact.

But we are pandemic-ed. There will be no going out for a beer.

Oh, yes, the bars are open where I live. Though they don't let you sit at the bar, only at a table. But I do not intend to die of anything so boring as a bad flu, so I stay home.

They say I'm "living in fear," but I don't feel scared. I feel like I'm cutting the odds a little by staying home and by wearing a mask when I go out.

And, no, I don't think doing those things guarantees that I won't get the virus. I wear the mask the way I shovel my walk when it snows. I don't think shoveling guarantees no one will fall, but I think it narrows the odds a little. If you could go into a casino and narrow the blackjack odds by 1%, then you could walk out rich.

I've learned a couple things between beers here at the end of the world. Pull up that couch you've been living on, and I'll share.

Spending time home alone with your wife will not tell you if she loves you, but it will tell you how much she likes you, which is nearly as important. I've always said that having a girlfriend is like boxing amateur, but having a wife is like boxing professionally. It's all fighting, but there's more at stake if you're a pro — and you're far more likely to be killed. After months of being very close in a very small marital boxing ring, my wife still seems to like me, and I like her.

Your cats sleep a LOT. I mean, you knew they did, but it didn't really sink in until you spent several months at home with the furry little moochers. Our two cats, Maggie and Jack, are averaging a steady 17 hours a day. Of course, we've been at home a lot more, and they're probably bored with our cute antics.

Facebook is bad, always and forever. One thing I've learned is that public education in this country must be doing a wonderful job because almost everyone who graduates from high school is an epidemiologist. Facebook allows them to share their YouTube-aided research with all of us.

YouTube is bad, or it is unless you have a real need to hear zydeco legend Boozoo Chavis sing, "You're Gonna Look Like a Monkey When You Get Old." I have that need, and it's one of the reasons why my wife almost didn't like me for a couple days.

Amazon is not bad. Just today, I ordered an album of Boozoo Chavis' greatest hits, so I can listen to him in my car.

Creamsicle-colored Pres. Donald Trump isn't deliberately screwing up the response to the pandemic, either. I learned that after just a few months. Trump isn't doing better because he can't.

He doesn't know how. He can't be taught. And he doesn't want to learn. I had the same experience with high school calculus, so I avoided all careers involving calculus. Trump wasn't smart enough to avoid his weaknesses. In short, he throws the big right hand when he ought to jab.

That's why he's been married so many times; he's not good enough for the pros.

To find out more about Marc Munroe Dion and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit www.creators.com. Dion's latest book, "Devil's Elbow: Dancing in the Ashes of America," is a collection of his best columns. It is available in paperback from Amazon.com, and for Nook, Kindle, GooglePlay and iBooks.

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