Pandemic Poem

On the very long list of things I resent
is never giving my informed consent
to an actual, real, full-on pandemic,
a notion I’d thought was just academic!
I’d have done things differently if I’d known
that pretty soon I’d never be alone.

I used to have a great deal of fun
hanging out with myself one-on-one.
Now I’ve got two kids and a spouse
who are stuck with me inside this house.
And the sound of my husband’s chewing
is likely to be my undoing!

At first came the news and reportage
about various kinds of shortage.
To manage my increasing pessimism,
I used my preferred coping mechanism.
With getting supplies I became obsessed,
and Googled all day like a woman possessed.

My first priority was locating TP,
as thoughts of not having it made me quite weepy.
In lieu of Charmin I settled for Scott,
and now it hurts whenever I squat.
I might be becoming a bit paranoid
but I think I’m developing a hemorrhoid.

Next came my N95 phase.
I searched for these masks for hours and days,
determined to get the hospital a shipment
of various personal protective equipment.
While my sleuthing didn’t yield a final transaction,
it provided me with days of distraction.

Then came my new hobby of painting,
yet another form of sublimating.
Making art that was colorful and cheery
made me feel a lot less dreary.
So while channeling my mother’s artistic gene
I waited for someone to make a vaccine.

A month into the quarantine,
I bought myself a sewing machine.
I never could sew but felt up to the task
of learning to make my husband a mask.
Tangled threads and bad words flowing,
he said I wasn’t cut out for sewing.

Nevertheless, I became a quilter
making masks with a Filtrete filter.
Though intended for an HVAC,
this was going to be just the hack
to keep my doctor-husband alive
if his hospital ran out of N95’s.

We’ve managed to flatten the curve
and hopefully avoid a big surge.
But this long-term house arrest
is causing me much distress.
My husband’s chewing is so grating,
a point which bears reiterating!

The sound his tongue makes uncleaving from his palate
makes me wanna hit him over the head with a mallet!
I shout, “Stop chewing or the next mask I create
will be made in a way that it won’t ventilate!”
I am groggy and grouchy ‘cuz I stayed up too late
making a no-foggy-glasses mask to fit my soulmate.

For my next project, I’ll build us a time machine
so we can all go back to before Covid-19.

Have No Fear

There’s no need to be afraid,
says the man in the motorcade.
We have incredible medication,
Thanks to my own administration!
While you can’t get Remdesivir
unless your symptoms are severe,
I won’t provide this information;
Truth is not my motivation.
The well-being of the population
is secondary to my need for adulation.
With nominees to nominate,
human rights to eradicate,
lies and hate to propagate,
This virus cannot dominate!
If your confidence in me is eroded,
Believe me, I’m immune from Covid!
Who cares how many will be infected
as long as I am re-elected!

Homeschooling in the Corona Age

Whenever I hear the term “homeschool”, I think of some well-publicized cases of parents who murdered their homeschooled kids.  Homeschooling your kids doesn’t (necessarily) make you want to kill them, but you have to be nuts to want to do either of these things.  

Who in their right mind wants to stay home all day, everyday, with their kids, and be responsible for how educated they turn out?!  For me it’s enough to know I’ve already screwed up my kids by nature and by nurture. I don’t need to also eliminate all other sources of influence that may buffer them for complete idiocy as well.  In fact, I am willing to pay good money not to get blamed for their poor education on top of everything else a mother’s blamed for.

I did some semblance of “homeschooling” when my oldest was an infant.  To provide an enriching environment for his neurons to proliferate, I read books about games to play with your baby, which consisted of countless variations on peek-a-boo and pat-a-cake.  After the first five minutes, I could feel my own neurons dying. I’d supplement these mind-numbing games by reading equally brain-dulling books over and over, until I fantasized about hurling myself out the great green room window.  

Besides, if I were to homeschool my kids now, what exactly would I teach them?!  I gave up helping with math when my kid reminded me that I needed a common denominator to add two fractions together, and what I remember about biology is what got me into this whole mess in the first place!  

I get that with the coronavirus here, we are having to make do, but let’s think about this logically.  The SAT and ACT were cancelled. AP exams are going to consist of 45 minutes of testing on whatever was covered through the beginning of March.  Are universities going to give college credit for a course whose content wasn’t completed or mastered? If they did, how will the students fare in the next course that builds on the information from the previous one?  That’s a recipe for compounding the ignorance that began in high school through the college years, with students increasingly lost and confused as each concept is stacked higher and higher on an inadequate foundation.  

No, we need to flatten that curve now.  

More importantly, let’s stop to ask ourselves this:  In which AP class do students learn whether two Q-tips attached to each other with Scotch tape can substitute for a shortage of COVID-19 test kit swabs or what common household items can be used to make an N-95 respirator, such as a maxi pad or an HVAC filter?  If the answer is none, now would be a good time to dispense with this nonsense. All universities should become test-optional, and AP exams should be cancelled because no one this year will have mastered the last third of these irrelevant classes anyway.      

For those who can’t bear the thought of not having students tearing their hair out over standardized exams while a global pandemic is occurring around them, here’s the test that should be used to determine college admission to even the most prestigious universities–one that can be easily administered by even the most incompetent of parents:

Parents, use your College Board-approved smartphone or stopwatch to time this test.  Put a roll of duct tape, as well as the blunt-tip scissors you’ve kept for no apparent reason since your 11th-grader was in preschool, in front of your student.  Dump out your recycling bin in front of your student and say, “Make something.” Start timing and don’t stop until the kid has produced something useful or something beautiful… Because what else matters??  Send the elapsed time, as well as photos of the finished product, to the College Board, who will forward them to the test-optional institutions of your choice.  

If we do this, hopefully one day, our institutions of higher learning will be filled with people who can solve problems the likes of which are not on any AP exam — problems they’ve never encountered before — novel ones.

That is, if we don’t go crazy first.