Humor in the Time of Covid-19

As recorded in my war-scarred journal

Dear Diary,

I just returned from the battlefield of Wegmans where I attempted with Ma and Pa to stock up on provisions sorely needed. It was a mission not for the faint-hearted, but we persevered.

Ma’s resolve nearly gave way when we first caught sight of the Mediterranean Bar, their gleaming stainless steel containers reflecting the emptiness of our hearts. Only the hottest marinated peppers and olives remained in that artisanal outpost.

When we made our way through the detritus of flattened cardboard boxes on otherwise empty pallets, a grizzled bearded man approached. He carried a ripped UNESCO shopping bag and muttered over and over “flatten the curve,” which we later learned was the battle cry of his family as they fought in the First Siege of the Ultra-Soft, Four-Ply Charmin Mega-rolls. It left many scarred and nothing left, we hear tell, but the Second Siege was far worse, by all accounts.

It’s hard to describe the barrenness of the hand-sanitizer section. To this moment, I shudder at the memory of stories told in that antiseptic wasteland. “One man,” a sad youngster related, “reached out for a bottle just as a woman swooped in something fierce, her metallic Gucci bag a-swingin’ so hard that it. . .” He couldn’t finish, just shook his head slowly. “He won’t be needin’ anything for his hands no more.”

But ‘twas the meat department that shook our souls. There we heard a mother sob that she’d been in the Grass-Fed Organic Ground Beef War and thought they’d prevailed, just to return and face the taunting ignominious defeat of empty shelves, the only things left being Lamb for Stew and Mike’s Gourmet Chicken Curry Sauce. “How can I make chicken curry,” she wailed, “without organic air-dried chicken?” How, indeed.

Over in dairy, nary a container of soy or almond milk was to found. Only the white devil liquid itself was on the shelves, whole milk and heavy cream, a veritable cliff of containers behind misted chilled doors.

The bakery was little better. Though they had their crusty Tuscan bread boules on display, not a one was sliced, and we couldn’t bring ourselves to bother the beleaguered workers. Besides, they had sharp knives and a gleam in their eyes.

Ma’s heart nearly broke and she suppressed a sob herself when we came upon the empty hot bar. No Asian delights, no chicken wings, no arancini or truffled mac ’n cheese. Just darkness. As dark as our souls.

Until Pa reminded us that the hot bar doesn’t open for an hour.

Our spirits thus revived, we made our way to the frozen foods. Ice cream. Shelves of it. We sank to our knees in gratitude. Thus renewed, we rose and ambled toward checkout.

Waiting to fight another day,


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