I want to swallow all the days ahead at once right now

I want to come out the other side

A nurse named Celia Yap Banago who had worked for forty years at Research Medical Center in Kansas City and recently expressed concern about the lack of proper protective equipment at the facility has died after treating a patient that was positive for COVID-19.

Banago was planning on retiring this week.

“I just feel like things may have gone differently had we had the proper protective equipment that we needed to care for our patient that night,” her colleague Charlene Carter said.

“No nurse, no health care worker, should have to put their lives, their health, and their safety at risk for the failure of hospitals and our elected leaders to provide the protection they need to safely care for patients,” said Bonnie Castillo of National Nurses United.

A phlebotomist named Deborah Gatewood has also died from the virus two years before she herself was set to retire from Beaumont Hospital in Farmington Hills Michigan.

Gatewood’s daughter Kaila Corrothers said her mother brought herself to the hospital where she worked for over thirty years on four separate occasions throughout March but was denied a test each time and sent home on one occasion with cough medicine. Eventually she was admitted to another hospital where she died on April 20.

“This did not have to happen this way,” Corrothers said.

It took twenty years for over 58,000 Americans to die during the Vietnam War as the Intercept points out here. In just a few months we’re approaching that number of deaths from the pandemic. Aside from that there aren’t too many parallels between the two events besides how cheaply our leaders view human life and how they’ll spare no expense to defeat even the faintest sniff of communism or socialism from catching on.

A New York Times analysis of everything the president has said at his press conferences since March 9 found that Trump has mentioned the toll this has taken on the country “only fleetingly.”

“By far the most recurring utterances from Mr. Trump in the briefings are self-congratulations, roughly 600 of them, which are often predicated on exaggerations and falsehoods. He does credit others (more than 360 times) for their work, but he also blames others (more than 110 times) for inadequacies in the state and federal response.”

Trump has occasionally attempted to display empathy which is notable in the way that watching a chimp in a hat and vest smoke a pack of cigarettes is notable but more often than not he’s been focused on the harm done to his own reputation and the bank accounts of his rich donors.

“His laments about the virus’s economic toll — the damage it has caused ‘probably the best economy in the history of the world’ — are far more common than remarks about the human toll,” they write.

“‘It’s the things that are not there, the things he isn’t doing,’ said Roderick P. Hart, a professor at the University of Texas at Austin who is an expert in political speech. ‘It’s what’s not there — that sense of, ‘I’m part of the human condition,’ the ability to empathize with the downtrodden and the afflicted — that’s what’s so important.’”

Elsewhere Senegal has developed a $1 testing kit and they are testing every single person who comes in to health centers not just those who are showing symptoms.


I’m finding it harder than usual to transition from grim shit to complaining about my own comparatively mundane problems. I’m still going to mind you but I’m finding it hard. I’m finding it harder than usual to get off any jokes in here to release some of the tension too. I’m still going to mind you but I’m finding it hard.

I’ve been absurdly fortunate in that as of yet I’ve suffered no personal loss throughout all of this. My sister who is a nurse who works with the elderly contracted the virus and was sick and exhausted and run down for a couple of weeks but seems to have  recovered. My close friend’s father died in New York City and he talked to me about the ghastly absurdity of the nurse placing a phone up to his ear because of course they couldn’t go and say goodbye in person.

I’ve been listening to a lot of R.E.M. again lately and tried to make a top twenty five list because what the fuck else does a person do right now.

Man On the Moon was so good it made me think a comedian from before my time I was vaguely aware of dying was the most tragic thing that ever happened in history.

I woke up with in my brain this morning it feels appropriate of late.

Oh, lonely deep sit hollow
I'm half a world
Half the world away
My shoes are gone
My life spent
I had too much to drink
I didn't think
And I didn't think of you
I guess that's all I needed
To go it alone
And hold it along
Haul it along
And hold it
Blackbirds, backwards, forwards and fall and hold, hold

Oh, this lonely world is wasted
Pathetic eyes high alive
Blind to the tide that turns the sea
This storm it came up strong
It shook the trees
And blew away our fear
I couldn't even hear

It is really baffling to me that about a week ago a man in Canada dressed as a police officer murdered over twenty people on a wide-ranging rampage — the deadliest in their history — and for the most part Americans and American media have ignored it or moved on from it very quickly. If you yourself didn’t really pay attention to it this video will do a good job of getting you to give at least half a fuck. I wept like a goddamn baby watching it.

The other day I sent out to paid-subscribers this interview I did with Rep. Mike Connolly a Democratic Socialist from Massachusetts who was instrumental in getting the recent eviction and foreclosure moratorium into law.

I spoke with Connolly about what the law actually does for people and the process of shepherding it along to passage with the help of various activists groups and what he thinks of the job governor Charlie Baker has done on the whole and what sort of pushback he’s gotten from opposing interests around the state like landlords. Unsurprisingly groups representing landlords don’t like the idea of an eviction and foreclosure moratorium.

Is it uncommon to see such a broad coalition on something like this?

…This is a fundamental basic idea that, as we are telling people they have to say at home, it stands to reason we need to ensure housing stability. As I was advocating to House leadership, or to colleagues in the Senate, I would say, first and foremost, this is the right thing to do. The moral thing to do. Then I would say, even if there’s anyone out there who isn’t concerned about what the moral thing to do is, let’s remember in this situation we’re only as strong as the most vulnerable people in our community. It could be that someone somewhere is vulnerable to catching the virus, maybe they’re feeling the symptoms. They’re not sure if they should go out to work. If they get that notice to quit from their landlord, or they’re feeling their housing security is at risk…

Then they’re going to go to work.

They’re going to be tempted to go do that next Uber shift or food delivery shift or whatever it is, and potentially expose many more people to the virus. It was important to break down any notion that what we were doing here was somehow a gift or charity. It’s in everyone’s interest to promote housing stability. On top of that there’s really no way to do a housing search under these circumstances.

Despite what you might actually think, I know you can’t say “Landlords get the guillotine!” now that you’re a legislator, but was there any real fucking assholes in opposition to this, landlord groups or whoever?

…There was some advocacy from landlords groups. Skip Schloming, the Small Property Owners Association leader, who goes back to the days of rent control, one of the leaders against rent control in the state. He argued in public, I’m paraphrasing, he said maybe we need to have an eviction moratorium, but what we can’t do is take away the landlord’s ability to threaten a tenant. We have to preserve our ability to threaten, because if the tenant isn’t under threat of being evicted, then there’s nothing to compel them to pay their rent. So that’s where the landlords drew their line in the sand. Allow us to continue scaring tenants.

If you’d like to read the rest and don’t want to miss any editions of Hell World please feel free to subscribe and then go here.

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People seem to like this tweet of mine for some reason.

Every now and again I get a real hair across my ass about SNL not because it’s not funny which is something people have said about every season of SNL forever but because of the role they play in sanitizing our awful politicians under the guise of lampooning them. It’s a process that goes hand in hand with the way liberals think of every politician or public official they see on their TV as their personal friend who also deserves to be venerated as a celebrity and not the corrupt pieces of shit they actually are who deserve nothing but our scorn when they’re working against our interests which is pretty much always.

Even weirder is when it’s another celebrity doing shit like this!

To be clear we do not owe politicians anything they owe us so much more than we’re ever given or that most of them even bother to pretend we deserve.

Did you watch the Post Malone Nirvana covers set? It’s absurdly good and so much better than you are probably thinking if you are an old grump.

I wrote this shit in here a while ago it was March 21 and I had no fucking idea what I was talking about I was a child then.

The idea of being isolated and stuck at home and unable to see anyone for weeks more never mind months more seems so suffocating that if I let myself envision it I feel like I’m going to collapse. So instead what I’m trying to do is think about it one day at a time as the folks in the program say. You don’t have to survive and wait out the entirety of this thing all at once right now all you have to do is make it through today. Tomorrow will probably be the same shit and the day after that too but tomorrow isn’t your problem at the moment.

Over a month of the same shit every single day later I don’t know if I can take my own advice from back in March anymore. I want to swallow all the days ahead at once right now in one disgusting gulp like I’m trying to hide evidence from the police or some shit like I’m trying to smuggle the duration of the virus onto an airplane and then I take a nap on the plane and shit it out after and hand it off to someone else so it’s not my problem anymore. I want to come out the other side. I want to get to the part where we’re all like What the fuck was that? then we all go get Beyond Sausage sandwiches at Dunkins with egg and cheese on an English muffin and eat them silently and very fast.

I was thinking about that because a reader wrote to me about the idea of taking this all one day at a time and how it reminded him of his time in Iraq and how difficult this type of isolation has been with a new baby on top of everything else.

Here’s what he wrote me. It’s long but I think you’ll appreciate it like I did.

Last fall I was medically retired from the Air Force and instantly had to move to a new country where my wife got a job with the DoD. We love to travel and experience new places and cultures but we now have a toddler and I never realized how extremely difficult and stressful it would be to try and assimilate to a foreign country while attempting to raise and entertain an Energizer bunny all during shitty winter when you hardly want to go outside and your child hates to wear clothing.

Anyway, there were so many parts of your newsletter that hit home. I've dealt with major depression, recurrent for as long as I can remember and like I said, I've been stuck inside depressed all winter, so to see all these charismatic ultra motivated individuals complain about having to stay inside even though they have unlimited entertainment via internet is bizarre. It makes me feel more resilient than they, for once.

Also, humor during dark times is something I learned in the military. You could literally be sprinting for cover from mortar or rocket fire and if there was opportunity to make a clever or witty remark you would dive head first into it just like nearest bunker. Some people did it to seem brave like they weren't afraid but I never felt like that. I felt that everything was so fucking stupid, that we were in Iraq for who knows what fucking reason, and every so often rockets or mortars would be fired in our direction from people we never saw and never would see, and we were like air traffic controllers and airfield managers, and then after a few minutes it would be over and we would get the all clear and go back to doing our relatively normal office jobs. And I hate to admit it but there was actually something funny about the possibility of getting blown up being an air traffic controller and being in Iraq because I was a poor kid from a small town that needed to have a job so here I am in Iraq.

And to tie it all together, like you were saying, you realize how completely shitty and horrible our country is, and when COVID-19 devastates the consumerism based economy, or when a young person dies in Iraq for no reason, you want go say, SEE! I told you how shitty and pointless this all is! But it doesn't feel good to gloat and no one cares anyways. You will think, like, unanimously Democrats or some good people will think the same as you and find a way to provide nationalized healthcare or stop illegal bullshit wars, but then they say something like “How will we pay for it?” or “Sometimes war is necessary” and you're just horrified.

Like you said in the newsletter, I take it day by day and don't focus on the end date, which is exactly how it was on my deployments to Iraq. Of course I was in what I guess you would call a support function and not a combat role. I did three tours in Iraq and only the final deployment had some legit heightened fear because my team was working with the Iraqi military at one of their airfields and we were secluded from the rest of the US troops, so there would have been no calvary coming in time for us if there would have been some sort of “active shooter” situation as they call them in the biz.

But my first two deployments were to the largest air base in Iraq, Balad Air Base. They were like any job you take because you need or want to earn and save some cash. It’s spooky at first being in Iraq and having occasional indirect mortar fire and seeing the explosive tracer rounds of a CRAM light up the star-filled (due to lack of light pollution) night sky. Counter Rocket, Artillery, and Mortar weapon systems is a Gatling style gun that fires 3000 rounds a minute or 50 per second so instead of being able to distinguish between each individual round discharge like with most automatic weapons we've seen in the movies it is just one continual, deafening roar. It’s terrifying. And the CRAMs track the projectile so if a CRAM is firing near you that means the projectile is near you.  

Once you get used to that kind of weird new part of life you fall into a routine of absolute monotony. Every day you trudge to the chow hall for breakfast, trudge to work, trudge back to the chow hall for lunch, trudge to work or work-related activity/meeting. Go to the gym and spend at least 2 hours there just to waste time. Go to chow hall for dinner, go to cyber cafe to surf the web or call friends and family back home for 30 minutes until the attendant comes and taps your shoulder and informs you that you have used your time and other people are waiting. Back to your quarters that you share with half a dozen other guys. If you can't sleep, trudge to the chow hall for midnight chow. Everyone tells you not to keep track of the days or count them down or whatever, but by the halfway mark everyone eventually ends up making one of these pie charts from a Microsoft office program that tells you how much time you have left until you return home or return to normal. Someone who is Microsoft savvy showed everyone how to put an image on the pie chart so people would put their family or souped-up car if that was their hobby, or a girl in a bikini, and with each passing day when you would check your chart more of the image would be revealed.

Since doing three of those tours, plus some other not fun assignments in the military, by the end you are so bored and so wanting to be done with what you are currently stuck in that it becomes a physical feeling. It's hard to explain but it actually felt like it was mentally fatiguing and would make me uncomfortable. I read dozens of books on each deployment but by the end of them I couldn't read anymore because my angst would build to the point that I could feel it in my chest and then my throat. I would have to run out of my bunk or bunker and find some friends or coworkers to talk to and it would subside. I've always been disgusted by consumerism and what it is to modern man but me and my buddies would just flip through the same stack of magazines and look at advertisements of anything from cologne to knives and fantasize about purchasing this and that when we returned to normal. Maybe it was building a garden in your backyard and planting peppers, you would make a catalog of each piece of wood, bag of soil, cages, trellis. It would start as a distraction and become an obsession.

Obviously our situation now is a little different because everyone is still able to online shop, as if the warehouse workers don’t have any risk of COVID. But anyways, my dad would always tell me to enjoy life and make the most of it because one day you wake up and you're 50 and most opportunities have passed you by. And I really took that to heart but 2 years ago when I turned 30 I had this angry epiphany that, yeah no shit dad, life goes by fast because so many things we do in life just downright suck and one has to zone out and become obsessed with building a garden, saving up to by a cool new car, or zone out until retirement when you can hopefully travel or do what you want.

So this quarantine with my adorable but utterly exhausting 20 month old does feel like doing a non combat deployment in a way. Getting through each day and not focusing on this romanticized, magical return to normal that hits you with a new set of problems you have to deal with because our regular life is stuffed full of bullshit like filing taxes and filling out paperwork and arguing with an insurance company. You didn't have to worry about health insurance in Iraq.

OK bye for now.

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