A lot of small events happened this week, so I’ll just give a rundown of each day. All I can say is that after being laid up with Covid for nearly three weeks, I was surprised at how many things had changed in the outside world during that time.
MONDAY: My friend Bobby, who’s 83, calls me every day. This day was no exception. But for some reason, he sounded as if he were talking through a megaphone…on Mars.
“You sound a million miles away,” I said to him.
“Yeah, I dropped my phone in the toilet.”
“Well, put it in some rice. It will help get the moisture out.”
“Cooked rice or raw rice?”
“Raw rice, straight out of the box.”
“I don’t have any rice. I hate rice.”
TUESDAY: Decided that if I didn’t want to starve to death, I had to go grocery shopping. Trouble was, I hadn’t been out in 17 days, thanks to being knocked off my feet by Covid. Even though I felt good and my at-home test came back negative, I still didn’t want to set foot in the “big city” again – the place where I’d originally met and brought home a nasty hitchhiker called Omicron.
But I put on my face mask and strapped my tank of sanitizer onto my back, then climbed into something I vaguely remembered was a car, and drove off. I was surprised at how nervous I felt.
At the end of my long, winding, country road I discovered something new – a traffic light. But not at the corner of the road – no, about 50 feet to the right of it. This meant the cars stopped at that light were backed up in front of my road, so I couldn’t pull out onto the highway. Finally, one kind soul motioned me to pull out.
So I did, and I nearly got broadsided by a car coming from the other direction.
I figured the guy who’d motioned to me that it was okay to pull out was frustrated by the new light and decided he’d like to see someone die because of it.
My first stop in the “big city” was Agway, where I often buy my dogs’ extra-large biscuits…only to be told the company wasn’t making them any more. The clerk showed me a dog biscuit, which she described as “large” instead.
“That’s large?” I asked. “That wouldn’t even be an hors d'oeuvre for my dogs!”
So I left there biscuit-less.
I then proceeded to spend the next three hours searching for chicken tenders, which are a key ingredient in the pot of soup I make every day.
“There’s a shortage of chicken,” one employee told me, “because of the avian flu.”
A clerk in another store said, “There’s a shortage of chicken because we can’t get the trucks here to deliver any. There’s a shortage of drivers because diesel fuel’s so expensive.”
I finally found two packages of chicken tenders at, of all places, Walmart. I grabbed them so fast, I caused a breeze.
By the time I drove into my garage four hours later, unloaded everything from my car and put it away, I felt as if I’d run a marathon. I also was suffering from sticker shock. The same groceries that had cost me $129 before I got Covid, had just cost me $169.
There was a message on my machine from Bobby. At least his voice sounded a little closer than during his last phone call. He said to call him. I did. There was no answer.
WEDNESDAY: I was craving brownies, so I baked a batch from scratch. I ended up with more chocolate on the counter and myself than in the mixing bowl.
The brownies came out like cardboard bricks. Even worse, my taste buds still are having problems, thanks to Covid, so the brownies also tasted like cardboard bricks. I figured I always could save a few of them to use as weapons.
At sunset, I went for a walk on the trails on my land. I was looking down, as I always do because the trails have rocks and small stumps on them, and I don't want to trip and end up doing a face-plant. Suddenly I heard a snort. When I looked up, there was “Dierdra,” the young doe that follows me around on my walks. We stared at each other for a few seconds, and she gave me a look that said, “So, what’s new? Got any food on you?” then she walked off. I don’t know why, but as I watched her walking away, I noticed how pure white her tail was, and I wondered how she kept it so clean (I honestly think I’m suffering from something they refer to as “Covid brain”).
That night, I was eager to watch the finale of one of my favorite TV shows, “Domino Masters.” Talk about a tense competition! I mean, teams of domino professionals setting up thousands of dominoes made to fall in precisely calculated ways to trigger things such as mini-avalanches, fires that burned through strings to launch balloons or turn on water, and even mini-vehicles that went flying over a washed-out bridge. One team had an accidental “topple” as the members were setting up their dominoes, and they lost hundreds of dominoes and countless hours of work.
It really was tough to see grown men cry.
The victors turned out to be the team called “The Domi-nerds,” from Massachusetts, who now are $100K richer.
I called Bobby again. Still no answer.
THURSDAY: Before I even got out of bed, Bobby had called four times and left four messages, asking me why I hadn’t returned his calls. He said he was worried I might have had a relapse of Covid and he was wondering if he should call someone to do a wellness check on me. I called him back. No answer. So I left a voice mail, telling him I HAD been calling him and I was fine.
Found out that a comment I’d made on Facebook had gone viral – over 6,000 “likes” in an hour. It was a photo of a supposed vegan burger, and without a doubt, it was one of the most disgusting-looking things I’d ever seen. I mean, here is the photo.
My comment was: “Maybe if they’d made it look more like a burger instead of like a pile of dog crap, it would be more appealing. As they say, people eat with their eyes first!”
The comments poured in, “Bravo! You said exactly what I was thinking!” or “Glad someone had the guts to say this!”
By the end of the night, my comment had been “liked” over 12,000 times. I’d always wanted to become a media sensation and go viral, but I never would have imagined it would be for saying that a vegan burger looked like dog crap! I’m just sorry that I also didn’t mention what a “nice touch” the pieces of corn in the “burger” were.
FRIDAY: I belong to two neighborhood/town groups on Facebook, and one of them reported that up near my area, two “homeless-looking” guys carrying hatchets had been knocking on doors after 10 PM and asking if anyone needed brush or trees cleared.
Um, I’m all for people trying to make a living, but if I looked out my window at 10:00 at night and saw two guys carrying hatchets and walking up my driveway, I don’t think, “Oh, I’ve been meaning to have my rhododendron bush trimmed,” would be the first thing that came to mind.
Anyway, most of the comments were, “Call the police if you see them!” to which one guy responded, “Oh, sure, just because these poor guys are homeless, you all want to make the situation worse for them by calling the police! Read the Bible, will you?”
Another person responded to him with, “Fine – then when they come knocking at your door at midnight, why don’t you invite them to come in and stay overnight? And then you also can feed them three square meals the next day!”
The first guy never responded back to that one.
When I prepared my cup of tea later that night and grabbed a sugar cookie to go with it, I noticed that the cookie had what looked like poppy seeds on it.
The "seeds" turned out to be ants – teeny-tiny, itty-bitty ants. I looked down at the counter. They were gathered in a circle, and I’m not certain, but I think they were square-dancing.
I really hate bug season.
SATURDAY: I decided to venture to Hooksett in search of extra-large dog biscuits and sure enough, dealing with the light at the end of my road once again resulted in seeing my life flash before me.
Not long ago, at Tractor Supply in Hooksett, I’d purchased a 15-lb. box of XL dog biscuits for around $13, so I prayed they still had some. To my delight, they did. I grabbed a box and lugged it up to the counter, then pulled a $5 bill and a $10 bill out of my wallet.
The clerk scanned the box. “That will be $16.99.”
If I hadn’t been so desperate for dog biscuits by then, I might have told her what she could do with them, but then she offered me a free bag of a new gourmet dog food. I figured free was good, so I paid the $16.99.
She then handed me the free dog food, which she said normally was priced at $17.99 for a 5-lb. bag. For that price, I expected to read that the kibble was coated with 24-karat gold.
My dogs were raised on Purina Dog Chow, which costs about $13 for 18 lbs. So I knew right then that even if they fell in the love with that gourmet food and threatened to rip out my jugular if I didn’t buy another bag of it for them, they’d never see it again after the free bag was gone. After all, they're just good ol' country dogs, not the Rockefellers.
Before I headed home, I dashed into Shaw’s to see if they might have any chicken tenders. Apparently the avian flu that had affected the chicken supply at Shaw’s in Concord hadn’t affected the supply in Hooksett. They had plenty of chicken tenders – and even better, they were on sale. I bought three pounds for about $8. So that made me feel much better about the extra money I’d paid for the XL dog biscuits.
While in Shaw’s, I also searched for ant traps or ant bait. Every product I read said not to use it near food preparation areas. Well, the reason why the ants are drawn to food-preparation areas is because that’s where the FOOD is!
So I didn’t buy any.
And the ants still are square-dancing on my counter.
That night, I watched a movie on Netflix – the sequel to Eddie Murphy’s “Coming to America,” which took 30 years after the original to finally be made.
I guess when they were making the movie they figured that because it had been so many years since the first one, most of the people who’d seen the original probably were so old and senile by now, they wouldn’t remember the jokes and one-liners from that movie…so the writers recycled most of them. They also added quite a few rap-song numbers to fill up space.
I dozed off about halfway through the movie, and when I woke up about 20 minutes later, I realized I hadn’t missed anything.
Oh, and at last count, the “likes” on my Facebook comment about the vegan burger had increased to over 18,000. At this rate, I just might be invited to appear as a guest on “Good Morning America” to discuss it.
And now it’s a brand new week and I have no idea what it will bring…except, judging from this morning already…more calls from Bobby asking yet again why I haven’t returned his calls.
So I guess I’ll try to call him, and if I still can’t reach him, I’ll buy him a box of rice and take it over to him.
Unless, that is, the price of rice is now up to $25 a box.
Heck, it might be cheaper for him to just go buy a new phone.
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Sally Breslin is an award-winning syndicated humor columnist who has written regularly for newspapers and magazines all of her adult life. She is the author of several novels in a variety of genres, from humor and romance to science fiction. Contact her at: email@example.com