There’s a lot going on in the world right now, amigos. The mask wars. The president of the U.S. of A., who is either languishing on his death bed or hosting lavish COVID parties in the east wing of the White House, depending on whose Twitter feed you’re following that day. 

You got your slap fights over matters of the Supreme Court, you’ve got your eye-gouging over voting shenanigans, and you’ve got fires — figurative and literal — raging in various corners of the nation. These are historic times, chums. Dark times, if you asked me. 

So, given this is the responsible, thoughtful, timely column you’ve been using to line your kitty litter boxes with for two decades, do you know what I chose to write about today? 

Not that. ANYTHING but that. Just thinking about the act of writing about the politics of the day triggered a gag reflex so powerful, it nearly made me throw up on my cat. 

No, man. If you want politics today, flip to the next page of the paper, turn on a TV, sit in a classroom or strike up a conversation with any random person on the street and chances are, you’ll get it. You’ll get it plenty. 

So, eschewing all the global horrors for the day, what to write about? 

As I’ve done so many times when I have a column due but I don’t really feel like working, I turned to Facebook for spiritual guidance. What shall my column be about this week, I asked these social media oracles? 

The answers came at once. 

“Write about why face masks aren’t important,” advised one man. 

“Write about why face masks ARE important,” a woman shot back. 

“The president has COVID,” came another reply. 

“Write about why kids can’t have Halloween but political parties can knock door-to-door handing out crap?” 

And more about Trump. And more about masks.

This was horribly deflating to me. So saturated are our minds with the thick funk of political offal, our response to even silly questions becomes almost Pavlovian. 

“Nice day, isn’t it?” 

“Hmph! Won’t be nice for long if Trump doesn’t do something about climate change!” 

Fortunately, Facebookers gonna Facebook, and once they got the agenda-driven stuff off their chests, these twisted souls became merry (if slightly demented) again, and more florid suggestions began to flow in. 

“Write about the reasons why koalas have chlamydia?” wrote a fellow named Christopher, who has clearly been getting hammered while watching Animal Planet. 

But it was an intriguing idea, so I looked it up and BAM! The very first search result I got was a piece in a science magazine titled “Why the Heck Do So Many Koalas Have Chlamydia?” which just made my day. I’m thinking of having that question printed on a bumper sticker.

Apparently the problem with chlamydia among koala populations is so bad, experts of some kind have had to step in to administer antibiotics. It’s all very sordid. It kind of reminds me of those stories you hear about sexually transmitted diseases running rampant in old folks homes and frankly, that makes me not want to write about this topic anymore. Next! 

“Houses of ill repute, a local history,” suggests a fellow named Paul, who has clearly been getting hammered while watching the History Channel. 

It’s an intriguing concept, though, so I asked one of the older editors at the paper what he could tell me about local brothels and the like. 

“You can’t prove anything about that!” he thundered. “And I’ll sue you if you try!” 

And so we’re moving on. 

“Does anybody really know what time it is?” is what a fellow named David wanted to know. So I Googled that very thing and all I got were links to that really terrible Chicago song, which stuck in my head and just fouled my mood for the next hour.  

“Write about the 50 ways to leave your lover,” suggested Brian, who has clearly been getting hammered and watching VH1. 

I actually thought of 57 really good ways to leave a lover (“fake your death, Seth; tell her you’re sick, Nick . . .) but I couldn’t make any of them rhyme with “Brian” so I shan’t offer them here. 

“Write about opossums,” suggested Jerry, who has clearly been — do I have to say it? — getting plastered and watching Animal Planet. “I love their little faces, and though people are afraid of them because of their many little sharp teeth they are not vicious creatures.” 

Sadly, just 15 minutes after posting this idea, Jerry was hideously mauled by an opossum that had been living in his liquor cabinet. Probably. 

Next idea, please. 

“Pumpkin-flavored everything,” wrote Wendy, echoing Faith who suggested I write about “Pumpkin spice and everything nice.” 

Clearly this is a conspiracy to get me to join the sadists who are out to destroy the world by making EVERYTHING pumpkin flavored. But I won’t be a part of it, do you hear? I will fight this ghastly pumpkin takeover with everything I’ve got. Because the very idea of pumpkin-flavored coffee alone is enough to make me throw up on my cat again. You people are sick! 

“I would like to know who the guy is that drives around dressed as Batman,” demanded Pamela, who then went on to describe the guy in great detail, including an inventory of his equipment and very specific information about his travels. 

Do I have to spell this out for any of you? Pamela is Batman! 

On the heels of this stunning revelation, I got a solid column suggestion from a man named Dean, a nice fellow who wants his package of Gouda cheese RIGHT [email protected]#@[email protected] NOW! 

“How to stop the person in front of you at any Shaw’s or Hannaford deli from ordering several weird amounts of deli meats, i.e. ¼ lb. of bologna sliced on a 1.2, 1/2 lb of chicken breast sliced on a 2.12, 3.2 lbs of American cheese sliced on a 2.5, and then 4.3 lbs of turkey breast sliced on a .78 . . .” 

It’s an interesting concept, so with that in mind, I went down to the local Hannaford deli to investigate the … 

Ha ha! No, I didn’t. Hello! Don’t feel like working! 

In the end, I got more than 100 responses to my humble query, some of them even lucid, and only a handful pertained to politics and related grave and gloomy matters. It gives me hope that one day we will launch odious politics out of our lives and become our true selves again. It gives me hope that even in the hearts of declared enemies there exists traces of compassion, love and a powerful desire for camaraderie. 

It gives me hope that one day, if I work real hard and keep my soul pure, I may find the perfect rhyme for “Brian” that works in a song lyric.

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