Thanks for being here. Tell a friend.
I can’t remember anymore how many Americans I had assumed would die from this at any given point during the past year. I don’t remember if I thought it would be 500,000 which it will certainly be very shortly or if I ever thought it would be a million which also seems like a lock. Instead each new grim milestone of death overwrites whatever I had previously held in my brain.
As far as milestones go grim ones are among the worst kind. One would prefer to avoid those.
Wretched milestones are bad too. I gotta stop using the word milestone. If you didn’t read that excerpt of the book mentioned in the tweet above you can find it here in the appropriately named End of the World Review.
It took twenty years for over 58,000 Americans to die during the Vietnam War. Millions of non-Americans were killed too but we rarely count those when we’re doing comparisons like this because they don’t matter as much right? In any case in just a few months we easily cruised by that wretched milestone of dead Americans. Aside from that there aren’t too many parallels between the war and the pandemic save from 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 lest people start getting any ideas about how things could improve somewhat.
Here’s another related bit from in here in May:
I briefly convinced myself that there is some number of deaths some horrific massive number with real gravity to it that demands attention and action a tipping point type of number that we might reach whereby Republicans and “open the economy” types might stop acting like they are now. Is it 500,000 I wondered is it a million but if we’re being honest no such number likely exists. Instead what will happen is we will come to accept thousands dead every single day as another voice in the churning ambient chorus of suffering we do our best to tune out already much like with gun violence or unnecessary deaths due to the cost of healthcare or the thousands our military kills around the world. Many of us even the “good ones” like me and you already have started to do that in a way right or else how would we manage to function on a daily basis? How do you get up and measure out the coffee and heat up the water and poke your stupid face into the fridge for a nice piece of fruit every morning without pretending if at least for a while that no one is dying outside your walls?
I was gonna include some examples of states loosening restrictions for restaurants and businesses and such as we speak but there’s too many of them so picking just a few seems unfair. In any case the point is we’re fucked. Catch me still sitting inside my home every day for twenty three hours though. Shovelling bowl after bowl of dread into my face.
This passage mentioned below is quoted from Joe Keohane’s Last Normal Day entry which aside from in my new book you can also find here.
This is gonna be one of those Hell Worlds where I quote from a lot of previous things I’ve written. I imagine that’s annoying for people who’ve read all of them you absolute sickos but new people are showing up all the time so that’s just kind of how things have to go sometimes. Even the best TV programs did clip shows every now and again. In that vein if you didn’t watch this episode of Seinfeld: The Return done in the style of David Lynch you should.
Do you ever feel like you’re just waiting to die? That’s distinct from wanting to die by the way so you don’t have to like check in on me or whatever. In fact it’s the exact opposite. I’m scared shitless of dying. Being dead is real fucking stupid. Among the worst things a person could be. What I mean is like you’re just sitting in a waiting room every day paging through the old issues of Cosmopolitan and they’ve got the TV on up there in the corner and Mario Lopez is yelling at you and a door keeps opening and you expect it’s going to be your turn to go inside next but it’s not they take someone else in but eventually it is going to be you and then surprise your insurance doesn’t even cover it.
I guess I always sort of thought if someone killed me in America it would be with a gun or a car the two most famous American products besides dickheads but now it’s more likely it will be with their mouth. It’s like everyone is in the fucking X-Men now but we’ve all only got the same one power of shooting poison out of our holes.
At the same time do you also sort of suspect besides knowing it’s ridiculous that you’re not really going to die because I think that too. I hold both of those things inside of me at once imminent disposability and assured immortality. We are a superlatively idiotic species.
I’m very bad at making predictions either way like this one I made a little under a year ago in the Washington Post.
Speaking of wanting to die.
"My guess is it will not be in it," Biden said. But he said he remains committed to trying to negotiate an increase to the minimum wage, even if it's a gradual rise from the current level of $7.25 per hour.
The Senate late Thursday approved a measure prohibiting an increase of the federal minimum wage during the global pandemic. Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, said a $15 minimum would be "devastating" for small businesses already hurt by the pandemic.
It has been almost twelve years since we raised the minimum wage to $7.25 which is the longest stretch without an increase. Two thirds of Americans support increasing the minimum wage to $15 as Pew found in 2019. That includes 86% of Democrats 59% of whom strongly support it. 57% of Republicans are against it with 29% strongly so.
$7.25 for 40 hours a week amounts to $15,080 a year. I guess we can’t abide the devastation increasing that would wreak on our noble small business owners whose right to operate a small business is more important than their employees’ right to survive.
I mentioned this in a paid-only Hell World the other day but four years ago this weekend I was at the greatest Super Bowl comeback of all time. It kind of sucked even though I recognize that it was one of the more amazing and unique experiences of my life and that I was lucky to have gotten to see it. Both things can be true.
Ok now I’m thinking about football and dying hmm what else what else. Here’s a good one I did for Esquire a few years back about worrying about what playing football when I was young might have done to my brain.
Everything turned yellow on Thanksgiving. I don’t remember much else from that day, now over 20 years ago, but a shift in the world's color palette tends to stay with you. The frozen dirt of the football field, the sky dusted with snowflakes. It was the final game of yet another woeful season for our team against a much larger nearby city. I don’t remember the score, but I know we lost, because we always lost. And yet, even in playing football in futility, knowing you are likely to lose, there are victories to be snatched from defeat. A ferocious tackle. A shuddering block. You can hit people so hard that long after they beat you, they remember you were there. You can hit so hard that you knock yourself out and wake up confused and distraught on the sideline, seeing yellow, and no one thinks to check if it was anything serious. I remember crying on the bench as the hitting continued on without me. For years, I thought they were only tears of frustration.
And then there’s this old Hell World about wanting to die and finding out the coach that sent me out to smash my brain around all those years later got arrested for being an alleged sex offender.
The electrician found the body that morning but I guess it took a little while for the news to spread. It had been waiting there for three days but we didn’t know that yet we just knew all of a sudden that a person was a body now and that was that. It would have been early evening when I found out about it. April. My football coach broke the news to me in a football coach voice because that was how you found out about things back then. You’d walk around not knowing some shit until someone would tell you and then you had to wait to bump into someone else and go ahead and tell them. I don’t remember exactly what he said but it was something like ay your boyfriend Kurt Cobain killed himself. Football coaches don’t like it when you care about anything other than football such as music for example which is for homosexuals. Kurt was twenty-seven years old which everyone remembers as the famous age to be dead at. I remember my coach mispronounced his name as Co-burn which is something a football coach would do on purpose to fuck with you and then we had to go and lift weights. I don’t remember if we listened to Nirvana while we lifted the weights but I hope we did not.
Like fifteen years later a friend of mine was at the state fair in New Hampshire and he took a video of an Army guy at a recruiting tent doing pushups while “Smells Like Teen Spirit” was blasting out of his truck speakers and I sometimes wish he hadn’t shown me that shit.
My football coach would have been around thirty-three back then which is insane to me because that is how old a little tiny baby is. I’m gonna picture him in my mind right now. He’s got a blue shirt on and it’s really tight and he’s got really big arms and they’re folded across his chest and he’s yelling about some football business that isn’t my problem anymore except for sometimes when I dream about it and I never can find my helmet in the dream and everyone is pissed off at me vis-à-vis the helmet’s whereabouts. The only reason I know how old he was by the way is I just saw his name in a police report. He’s a teacher at a different school now and the police charged him with indecently touching a child under fourteen and then touching her again when she was over fourteen and that is very surprising to me because he was a hard ass but I wouldn’t have thought he would go and do something like that. I asked a lot of my friends from high school and some who worked with him as teachers later on and they said they weren’t that surprised about it to be honest and they would know better than me because I am awful at remembering things.
Another thing I said back then in that piece a couple years ago was “You have eternity to be dead so just wait like everyone else there is no point in rushing to be dead.”
I guess I must still believe that it’s just the waiting is getting a bit tedious.
Jesus I found myself getting excited for the Large Game tonight just now. Of all the shameful shit I do continuing to love football is up there only making matters worse by being a Patriots fan.
Either the Chiefs are gonna win like 45-12 or the Bucs are gonna win by 1 on a last minute Tom Brady drive. That's Luke's Lock baby. And God have mercy on my soul I hope it’s the latter. I know. I know. I have a sickness of the soul. Here’s me on Brady basically:
“I am a sick man... I am a spiteful man. I am an unpleasant man. I think my liver is diseased. However, I don't know beans about my disease, and I am not sure what is bothering me. I don't treat it and never have, though I respect medicine and doctors. Besides, I am extremely superstitious, let's say sufficiently so to respect medicine. (I am educated enough not to be superstitious, but I am.) No, I refuse to treat it out of spite. You probably will not understand that. Well, but I understand it. Of course I can't explain to you just whom I am annoying in this case by my spite. I am perfectly well aware that I cannot "get even" with the doctors by not consulting them. I know better than anyone that I thereby injure only myself and no one else. But still, if I don't treat it, its is out of spite. My liver is bad, well then-- let it get even worse!”
That’s also pretty much me on my actual liver to be honest.
Here’s a fun book project I contributed to. Buy it here it’s for a good cause.
I might run a few others as excerpts in here sometime soon but here’s mine.
You know if someone had gotten pregnant on the last night before lockdown the baby would be born by now I said and by the way she didn’t react I could tell I shouldn’t have brought up any shit like that. She was bent over the bright blue recycling bin digging around for things that didn’t belong in there and I said what are you doing but she just kept holding up various bits of evidence like a lawyer on TV submitting them to the court’s attention. Somewhere in the neighborhood a drummer was practicing solid snare thwacks like a heartbeat. I’m innocent I said but I was lying and I wasn’t particularly sympathetic to the jury I could tell. How much money would you pay to go to a concert tonight I asked and she came back up for air and said who’s playing and I said the famous band we both used to like. Also there’s no Covid for one night only I said. How does that work she said and I said god floats down from the sky and says for the next four hours only Covid isn’t real and she said $5,000 with so much confidence I thought she must’ve already been thinking about a scenario like this. You can go out to dinner beforehand too I said. Then we both stood there watching two different versions of the imaginary concert in our minds for a minute drinking beer out of glasses with no poison in them. When this is all over they gotta make shows start at like 6 pm I said I can’t go back to late nights anymore and she said she agreed with that. What about a hotel for the night too she said and I said ok sure you can have whatever you want honey none of this is real.
This is a lovely song.
Here’s a good thread.
And here’s a disgusting one about a Colorado cancer patient in his seventies who was set to get his vaccine shot but was told by his medical provider he couldn’t until he paid an outstanding bill.
Maybe I don’t want to die and instead I just want all the people who insist that it’s natural that so many of us suffer like this to. The hospitals who treat human bodies as wealth extraction points and the rich senators who refuse to give us crumbs to pay the price it costs to keep these bodies alive. Or the people who do shit like this.
Are they even supposed to say that out loud? I mean we all know it but confirming seems strange.
Here’s what someone said on Twitter that I just read.
“The unfathomably evil part of the NYC Subway thing is it's not like the benches were there to help the homeless. They aren't ‘merely’ trying to keep the station clear of the homeless, they're actively taking away things that benefit everyone just because the homeless also benefit.”
I don’t know. At least Lou Dobbs lost his TV show lol. You’d be hard pressed to find a more vile piece of dog shit scumbag when it comes to our treatment of immigrants (besides Trump) than Lou Dobbs. I sincerely hope Hell is real just so he can have a taste of what the scared people he hates so much went through.
Ok well enjoy the Famous Game tonight. Try not to think about this too much though.
See you soon.