I have become so bored during the lockdown that I find myself doing really stupid things because I think they are interesting even though (as you will read below) they clearly are not. For example, I will stare at the lawn and think to myself – “Wow! The grass looks so good this year. It’s really lush and green. Can’t wait for the landscaper to cut it this week.” Then I remember how my father used to stare at his lawn while shaking his head and I would wonder what he could have possibly been thinking – “Wow! I wish my lazy ass son would cut the lawn without being asked instead of looking at me staring at the lawn”.
I also stare from my front porch at the neighbors who walk up and down our street. I’ll stare at them, even scowl and then they smile at me, wave and say hello as they pass by, and then I’ll smile at them, wave back and say hello . . . then I go right back to staring and scowling just to keep them on their toes. I trust nobody in the pandemic. Nobody. I even scowl at the neighbors’ cats that traverse my lawn (even more so than my neighbors). I don’t like cats and they know it and don’t like me. But I am not alone in my disdain for cats . . .
Johannes Brahms was a vehement cat hater who acted upon his dislike. Through an open window, he used his bow and arrow to try to kill neighborhood cats.
Look up “Noah Webster” in the dictionary and you’ll find a vehement cat hater. Webster called the cat a “deceitful animal and when enraged, extremely spiteful.”
Mussolini was also a noted cat hater, as observed by American journalist John Gunter: “The things that Mussolini hates most are Hitler, aristocrats, money, cats, and old age.”
When Dwight Eisenhower left office and retired to his farm in Gettysburg, PA, he gave his staff orders to shoot any cat they saw on his property.
Adapted from a pethelpful article “Cat Haters: Famous People in History Who Disliked Cats” (https://pethelpful.com/cats/Cat-Haters-Famous-People-In-History-Who-Disliked-Cats)
The other stupid thing I do is stare at my firewood pile. There’s nothing like looking at evenly split, well-seasoned, and neatly stacked firewood in half cord racks to calm your nerves. Again, why I am doing this? The other day I was so bored I actually re-stacked some of my firewood because I thought it looked better. And then I sat back and admired my work . . . and the grass . . . and the cat laying on my grass scowling at me. But apparently, I am not the only one who obsesses about his woodpile . . .
“You can tell a lot about a person from his — or her — woodpile,” said writer and journalist Lars Mytting.
He would know. Mytting, who lives in southern Norway’s heavily wooded snow forest, is the author of last year’s (sic., 2015) runaway, European best-seller, “Norwegian Wood: Chopping, Stacking and Drying Wood the Scandinavian Way.” It’s a lyrical compendium of practical advice on a subject that has obsessed Scandinavians for centuries.
In “Norwegian Wood,” he offers the following guidelines:
Upright and solid pile: Upright and solid man
Low pile: Cautious man, could be shy or weak
Tall pile: Big ambitions, but watch out for sagging and collapse
Flamboyant pile, widely visible: Extroverted, but possibly a bluffer
Unfinished pile, some logs lying on the ground: Unstable, lazy, prone to drunkenness
Old and new wood piled together: Be suspicious: might be stolen wood added to his own
Pedantic pile: Perfectionist with too much time on his hands (or perhaps waiting for the right woman?)
Adapted from a Wisconsin Public Radio article “Author Explains How Norwegians Can Measure A Man By His Woodpile” (www.wpr.org/author-explains-how-norwegians-can-measure-man-his-woodpile)
Isn’t it good Norwegian wood? I guess the Beatles were right. I wonder what type of wood piler Lars would classify me as since I purchase all of my split, seasoned firewood and pay to have it stacked neatly in my backyard?
I have also been receiving a lot of emails from the airlines and hotel chains notifying me about their new “enhanced” cleaning and disinfection protocols. For example, United Airlines has partnered with Clorox and now advertises “. . . enhanced aircraft cleaning procedures including wiping down tray tables, seatback screens, arm rest, lavatories, window shades and seat belts are conducted after each flight as we prepare for the next leg of your journey”. Should I be impressed or horrified . . . how were planes being cleaned before the pandemic?
Hilton has announced their CleanStay program with Lysol protection. Among other things, the disinfection program is focused on the most frequently touched guests room areas – light switches, door handles, TV remotes, thermostats and more. OK great, but again should I be impressed or horrified? Did Hilton and United not know about Lysol and Clorox cleaning products before the pandemic? And how are they getting Lysol and Clorox products when most people can’t get these yet? Maybe I’ll just keep cleaning my house and stay there instead.
I think the airlines and hotel chains should offer a special discount or extra member reward points based on the level of cleanliness you are willing to accept on your flight or in your hotel room. For example,
Common Cold/Strep Throat Level – some half-ass level of typical ineffective cleaning that ensures that anything you touch will result in you getting annoyingly sick. I’m sure my Airborne regiment and Purell will adequately protect me.
Dysentery/Stomach Virus Level – why worry about food safety or any basic culinary cleanliness; you have a strong gut. Isn’t that lukewarm entrée individually prepared by a professionally trained chef? That’s OK, I’ll just double-up on my alcohol consumption to keep my stomach properly disinfected.
COVID-19/SARS Level – hey, no need to disinfect or sanitize anything; I’ll take my chances. Just give me the Super Platinum President’s Circle level of membership and a ventilator. I’m sure I will be just fine now that the “enhanced” cleaning procedures are in place.
Perhaps I should put an end to my lockdown misery by jumping out of the basement window. Problem is I don’t fit through the basement window because I have gained weight during the pandemic.
Copyright 2020 “The Welcome Matt”