[I’m as confused as you are about why some states are “reopening”—whatever that means—when the USA is still on the upslope with new COVID-19 infections and deaths. We continue to lead the world in both, as the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus website sadly depicts. I’m as bored with this stay-at-homing as anyone, but this is so clearly a moment for communal interest taking precedence over individual desires. Even if your state has “reopened,” remember that stupid is as stupid does—make healthy choices. And as always, thanks for reading.]

Sunday, 19 April

Kay-Kay and I find ourselves in the lucky position of not needing the $1,200 the Government is sending us… someday. It’s easy to make the decision to donate this windfall to help people who aren’t as fortunate. I send my half to Burnell’s, the last remaining grocery in New Orleans’s Lower Ninth Ward. This was the poor part of the city most devastated by Hurricane Katrina. Burnell Cotlon, the owner, started running tabs for the first time ever for people that lost jobs downtown. Since Burnell doesn’t have it in him to turn away hungry families, he wasn’t sure how long he could keep the store open with this huge hit to his cash flow. Somebody started a GoFundMe with a goal of $5,000 to help offset Burnell’s money-draining generosity. They’ve raised the goal several times and when I check it’s at $135,000. Looks like a lot of people love the city—my second hometown—as much as I do. KayKay saves her half for local organizations, although she indulges my abiding affection for Nyah’luns.

Monday, 20 April

It’s now spring mating season for the Four Squirrels in Our Backyard. This ought to liven things up.

Kay-Kay decides “Jeffrey K. Walker, Author”—my superhero alter ego—will become a sponsor of our local Here for the Girls’ 2021 calendar. I love this charity because it provides amazing support for younger women diagnosed with breast cancer and because their fun name sounds exactly like something me and my 15-year-old friends would’ve made up in my parents’ basement, c. 1975. Awesome cause + cheeky branding? Yep, they get some of my royalties!

Tuesday, 21 April

A Canadian novelist friend just posted on The FaceBook that she’s received a blackmail message stating that if she doesn’t deposit a Rather Large Amount of bitcoin within 24 hours, naked pictures and videos of her will be unleashed upon the unsuspecting WorldWide Interweb of Things & Porny Stuff. She asks her FB Friends for advice on what to do.

I instantly regret my reply beginning, “Assuming there are, in fact, no nude photos and/or videos of you available…” I mean, she’s Canadian.

Wednesday, 22 April

In springtime, Virginia is stunning. Everything—and I mean everything—blooms. On the flip side, this means everything—and I mean everything—produces prodigious amounts of pollen. Although I never had allergies in my younger days, I surely have developed them here in the Old Dominion. Small problem. Some symptoms of seasonal allergies are the same as, ummm, COVID-19. Dry cough in particular, which I get regularly this time of year.

I put WebMD’s “Allergy Symptoms vs. Coronavirus (COVID-19)” page on speed Google…

Barkley, our local arborist, comes over to inspect our Very Many Trees, since Kay-Kay is convinced our oaks have Dutch Elm Disease or whatnot. Also, our hollies are dropping lots of yellow leaves and that’s just not in the Christmas palette. Barkley can identify any tree in North America on sight, which makes him both impressive and able to win free drinks everywhere he goes. He doesn’t appear to be in any hurry, so at pandemic-friendly six-foot intervals, the three of us wander the yard and he tells us that in addition to a couple dozen white oaks and red maples, we have a willow oak, a black tupelo, two sourwoods, and something called a musclewood. Also, our oaks are not elms and so just fine, plus the hollies are supposed to drop some of their leaves now, but will be a Very Jolly Green again by December.

We stop pondering the trees and go back to watching the squirrels. It’s about PG-13 with them now. Ahh, young love!

Thursday, 23 April

I walk into the kitchen and find an empty mailing box on the counter labeled EXEMPT HUMAN SPECIMEN. It is exactly the right shape and size for a human head. Kay-Kay is nowhere to be found and doesn’t answer when I call out for her. I count the Big Kitchen Knives, then check for each saw in the garage. Please note, you’re not paranoid if your wife actually is planning to decapitate you and mail your head somewhere. Also possible I’ve been quarantined +41 days…

Friday, 24 April

Kay-Kay was just out pulling weeds in a flower bed yesterday, so I have not in fact married a murder. This comes as a huge relief and enabled me to shut my eyes last night.

On the other hand, not sure what to make of waking up to learn the President of the United States has speculated on the efficacy of ingesting Clorox and/or Lysol to cure COVID-19. I don’t watch any Trump TV or video for Personal Mental Hygiene reasons, but I have to see this firsthand. Yep, he said it. Looks like he’s asking Dr. Debbie “Woman with Many Scarves” Birx to look into this immediately. I then watch the video again, this time with a tight shot on Dr. Birx while Trump is talking. She is ready for the Texas Hold ’Em World Series with that poker face. You can see every one of the 43 individual muscles in her face straining to stay immobile. I hope she stretched before that briefing. I wouldn’t want her pulling anything.

I then read about Trump’s 36th and current White House Press Secretary telling us the President actually didn’t say what I just watched him say—twice—and that we should always consult with our own physicians. Presumably before ingesting bleach or bathroom disinfectant, because we want to make sure we get just the right dosage. Later, Trump testily tells a Very Nosy Reporter in the Oval Office that he said all that bleachy stuff sarcastically, just to punk you Very Nosy Reporters and see if you get the joke. A briefing on a pandemic that’s killed 50,000 Americans being, as we all appreciate, the ideal forum for jokes about treating the pandemic disease.

I profoundly wish I was making this up.

The Labor Department announces 2,642 American comedians applied this morning for unemployment, each one dejectedly stating, “What’s the use?”

Saturday, 25 April

There’s been a steady stream of media about people staging virtual proms for their kids. Also there’s a nascent draft movement underway to get Barack Obama to be keynote speaker for a nationwide virtual graduation ceremony. Of course, everyone is all over The Zoom doing meetups and such. But I read this morning about a group of students in Texas who do PowerPoint Parties. I’m stunned by this, since PowerPoint seems to me the ultimate Old Fogey Thing. [Full disclosure: I have my “10,000 Hour PowerPoint” patch from my years at The Pentagon.]

Here’s the thing. These kids found that just meeting up for a video chat results in hours of rambling, disjointed, emotional—well, teenagey—conversation. These Texas kids wanted Something More Meaningful, so at each of their sessions, everybody has to show up with a PowerPoint presentation on whatever topic they choose. It just needs to be something they really care about. One boy did a presentation on some Big Astronomical Idea about which I can’t even understand the summary description. His friends found it riveting and they saw a whole new side to his science geekiness. At the polar extreme to Bill Nye, the Science Guy, Jr, a young lady creates a very elaborate deck of PowerPoints surveying and grading Every Single Disney Princess Ever. She thereby proves that the only possible Best Ever Disney Princess is… Mulan?

I find this PowerPoint Party story both a little sad and strangely hopeful.

And of course, the correct answer is Ariel. Kids these days…

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