The Public Eye

printed 04/03/2020

Weekly column checklist in the time of covid-19.

1. Don’t be maudlin and write about how things used to be — check.

2. Don’t go on a tirade about how things should be — check.

3. Don’t be alarming and write about how things could be — check.

4. Wear pants when writing — check.

That’s the thing about writing at home during this bizarre period. Because no one can see me, I could follow the example of legendary cook and cookbook author James Beard, who often cooked naked, and type away in my altogether and no one would ever know.

Not that it would make my writing better, although I do suspect there’s less of a downside to typing in that fashion, or lack of it, than there is with cooking that way.

The fact is, I always did wonder how James Beard dealt with frying a grease-spitting freshly plucked chicken when he was dressed like one.

“Hey, James, is that fried chicken I smell?”

“Ow!, Oo!, Yowee! Yip! Aaagghh!”

Enough of that nonsense, because the truth is I’ve been taking better care of myself at home, sartorially speaking, than I did at the office.

I concluded it would be too easy for me to fall prey to what scholars refer to as the Law of Diminishing Give-A-Damns, or something very close to that, when I spend my entire working day in a small box of an upstairs room, where even Crazy Eddie the dog isn’t crazy enough to enter.

“I am trying to work here, Ed!”

“Grrrrr.”

And that’s another side effect of working at home — I talk to the dog a lot more.

It could be, unlike every person I know, that he has no opinions to offer in rebuttal to my own.

Furthermore, he is willing to hear me out for however long it takes, providing he gets a belly rub in the process.

Obviously, that approach would not be acceptable at the office, where I hope to return some day, although I did once say, “If you’d just listen to me for a moment, I’ll give you a snack.”

It’s been my experience, however, that people aren’t inspired by the idea that a piece of chicken gizzard is a worthy reward for listening to me go on and on.

Not so the Magnificent Ed, who will sit motionless for hours as I expound on the state of things, while he focuses on whatever little nugget of something I’m holding in front of him.

“So, Eddie, have I ever explained my thoughts on self-isolation, working at home, the need to dress appropriately, and maintain certain personal grooming standards even though no one will see me until I pop out of this cocoon-like existence and re-enter the natural world?

Drool.

“That’s my boy. So listen to this …”

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