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Lockdown’s Made Men Younger

This one’s mostly for the ladies, because, there’s something you should know, whether you’re dating a guy, maybe living with a guy, or even married to a guy, especially in this ‘time of lockdown’. And, it’s this—if a guy grabs a tee shirt out of the dryer three weeks after it went in? It’s still clean. It’s fine. Nothing changed cosmically in the dryer in between the time it was loaded, the time it finished running, and the time we reopened it.

My Mom is freaking out right now. Some gals I dated in the past are cringing. They’re thinking: Wrinkles! Or, Dryer Fuzz! They’re getting hives because things didn’t go on a hanger! Th-th-things didn’t get folded!!!

Listen. Money needs to be folded. Sheets only need to be rolled into a ball and fit on the closet shelf where they go. That’s it. Towels? Same deal. They’re gonna come out of the same closet in most places, be used to dry your balls after getting out of the shower, and return to the hamper en route to another trip through the laundry. Or, maybe just get hung back on the towel rod for another use or eight. 

You gals don’t understand this, but the life clock got turned back for men when stay-at-home orders went into effect. It didn’t happen instantly, so that might be why you missed it. But…by the first weekend? It was bachelor life again, whether you were home or not. It was dorm life revisited, (especially for single guys), but even you gals living with your man probably noticed. He didn’t volunteer to go to the supermarket out of the kindness of his heart, sorry. He went because he heard: 30 Days of Lockdown, and his Neandrethal survival instinct kicked in. He didn’t buy a case of Mac and Cheese because he was afraid the world was coming to an end like in a disaster flick, no. He didn’t do it to save money. No, he did it because it was an excuse to buy a fv@k!ng case of Mac & Cheese! The cheap crap, not the stuff that takes more than 2 minutes to microwave. Not just that, ramen. Did you think you needed the 96 count of ramen to get through 30 days when every governor in America promised that grocery stores would not close down? Of course you didn’t. 

But we took advantage. The 5 lb brick of sharp cheddar? The wholesale club sized triple-box of Captain Crunch? 3 80-count boxes of Mini Pizza Bagels???

Young guy eating junk food in disheveled clothes. Chips are crushed all over the floor.

We got younger. If it wasn’t for social distancing, there’d be a keg in the yard and a buddy with some aquarium knowledge running a hose from the tap into a friend’s nostril while that guy was doing a handstand. That would ab-so-lute-ly be going on. But, since keggers are currently frowned upon? Doing laundry once a month, only two days after you ran out of underwear? Yup, all good. That concert tee with the hole in the armpit he said he would stitch up but never did? Yeah, baby, that is back in rotation! Because, you know, COVID-19.  The sweatpants with the mustard stain on the knee from the hot dog BBQ four nights ago? No, stop kidding yourself. He didn’t clean them, he turned them inside out. 

This is like parents going on a milestone anniversary vacation when he was in high school. Two weeks without maternal oversight. Two weeks of, “I left you salad, and there’s some fruit in the bowl on the table,” and the fruit being tossed into the neighbor’s yard with the salad because a bowl that big was made for Doritos. Real food!

And so, if you’re wondering where that shirt came from that you’ve never seen before, given that he hasn’t gone clothes shopping  except at a football or hockey game since you’ve known him? It’s a time capsule. He’s traveled back, and that tee from a band you’ve never heard of with the screaming lead singer covered in blood and the slogan: If The Party’s In Your Mouth, I’m Coming! in 3 inch high lettering?

Y’know, COVID. 

You gals? You don’t get it because usually, men don’t give a shit. You spend decades paying attention to face cream and supplements and nail guck and hair revitalizer and all this stay-young stuff. Men? We got a pandemic, baby. Means all the rules go out the window. That sock on the floor by the bed. Did I wear that one already? Ehh, who cares, the dog hasn’t been chewing on it. 


Ladies, I would suggest you chill, ignore it all, and try to get a bowl of Captain Crunch before it’s all gone. In case you weren’t aware? The first two boxes are still on the shelf, but they’re empty, and the third one is iffy at best. You’re welcome.


Quarrantine may mean you can’t get out much, but we didn’t have to shooting our downtown New York vid, during which we busted out a little Creedence. And, good thing I’m not leaning against The Cube. Yup, that baby moves!

COVID & Who Deserves It

I work in entertainment, so while I’ll often comment on various political stories, I can’t stand the two-party system and so, while some folks will seek to try and label me X or Y, my spectrum of positions is usually enough to  negate such efforts. 

In December, when the first videos leaked about what was happening in Wuhan, a number of folks were posting on various social media platforms about it, and a good chunk of us were for efforts to be undertaken to contain whatever this new illness was—In China. It made sense, especially to those of us who remembered H1N1 and other China-centric flus/illnesses that the country had downplayed (at best) and lied about (at worst). Having had multiple videos described to me, it was pretty clear that China was all kinds of concerned. Roads in/out of Wuhan closed. Soldiers on patrol. People being sealed in their buildings. An entire city using masks. You didn’t have to be a conspiracy theorist to understand something very serious was going on over there. Unfortunately, what would eventually be recognized as the best, and ‘most effective strategy’ (CDC & WHO in late-February) was automatically targeted as ‘racism’ and ‘bigotry’. The backlash was swift and brutal. Very quickly, it stopped making sense to comment any more, or even LIKE or SHARE posts. 

As someone who despises how politics works and supports candidates from any party who seem to have the best ideas, to be trying to pitch screenplays to people who would automatically label you a xenophobe just because you espouse common sense is a zero sum game. You can’t win, even if you’re proven correct later—as many of us were. In those early days, 2 politicians fanned these flames, and eventually, many were silenced, but, not only that—were turned-on by people we had known for years. All because to suggest containing what would become COVID-19 in China? They saw that as unacceptable. They saw a travel ban as unacceptable. They saw the mere notion of stopping shipping from China as politically motivated. Didn’t matter if you hate the guy, you were suddenly a “Trumpster” if you backed what China themselves were doing. People said things like, “Duh! You can’t build a wall across the ocean, Trumptard,” and so on. Discussion was crushed.

Well, we see how that worked out, eh? Italy, which had allowed cruise ships to remain in port instead of resupplying them and sending them back out into international waters, was one of the countries hardest-hit. When Italy locked down, shutting its borders and enacting travel bans and implementing quarrantine? They were cheered by the media and WHO/CDC. They were “being proactive”. They were “responding sensibly.”

How quickly the tide and attitudes changed, eh? Suddenly, since it was the Italians, it wasn’t racism and bigotry, it was proactive. The same American political factions who weaponized the mere suggestion of locking down China had fallen silent, even as Dr. Fauci became their rallying point. Meanwhile, as we discovered later…Fauci should have been behind a travel ban from the moment that first vid leaked. When he saw what was going on in Wuhan—where the lab he approved sending millions of dollars for studying corona viruses is located. He should have put two and two together. We may never know if he did, but he certainly knew what was being handled at that lab, and how 2 years prior to this outbreak, state dept. cables warned about safety issues there, concerns he was made aware of (WA Post, April 14). So, to see a city with a population exceeding that of Manhattan being locked down by the military? Can you say ‘Red flags’?

Yesterday, the San Antonio Express published an article confirming what many of us have feared since the beginning: C19 has indeed mutated, and researchers at Los Alamos National Laboratory studying the new strain has confirmed it’s even more contagious.

I’m not going to deny it. I’m embarrassed now that I stopped posting about this so early. The thought that I’d get a reputation for being in any way aligned with Trump is the least of my worries. Losing contact with some people I’d known for years who suddenly believed me a racist (concerning Asians, of all things)? Pretty sure those folks weren’t going to get me a meeting at Blumhouse anyway. I may be blind, but I could tell something was going down half a world away and it sounded scary. Boy, was that an underestimation. 

The people who deserve a new, hyper-contagious strain of COVID-19? The liars and finger-pointers. Those who put their agenda ahead of the safety of millions. You folks deserve this. Those of you who shut anyone down you disagreed with by playing the race card, even when you knew there was no truth to it. If you were shrieking about a travel ban back in December when many folks like me were in support of it, you helped delay what emerged as the best weapon we had in combatting this plague. You let your personal politics blind you to a sensible approach, because your own bias and hatred were more important to you. This disease should wind up affecting you, not the millions of people who didn’t effort to fight against common sense. The sad thing? It isn’t selective. It’s a crap-shoot. Maybe it’ll impact you, maybe not. Just as likely it’ll impact your mom, or a grandparent. A cousin, or a fellow industry professional. Even so, I can only hope the ripple makes you reluctant to start making baseless accusations about fellow professionals in the future because of bias. At the end of the day, you helped bring this to our shores, and helped it spread, because you were so eager to label  anyone—even your own friends—racists. Fingers crossed, some genius somewhere comes up with a polio-beating kind of discovery leading to a vaccine or cure.  I just hope it’s someone who’s never said anything you folks find objectionable in any way, lest you try and fight against that, as well.

Creepypasta? Really???

Couple years back, came across the term ‘creepypasta’ concerning the Slender Man stabbing case, and took an immediate dislike to it. After looking it up, I liked it even less. Coined—and that’s a term I’m using loosely here—from the original ‘copypasta’ slang that emerged on 4chan, it just screamed (to me, anyway) ‘cell user who can’t be bothered to take their finger off the keyboard between words’. IMO, flat out lazy.

Slender Man illustration
Version of Slender Man

Flash FWD to the last few years, and the term’s not only hung around, it’s sorta stuck. Through a writer friend, I connected with someone who runs a podcast site centered around creepypastas, and if there’s one good thing, it’s that the stories have evolved beyond the moniker. It isn’t just rehashings (re-Paste-ings?) of the same tales with slight variations. There’s a much more proprietary nature to the storytelling, and while some of the tropes are the same, that goes for any genre.

Last weekend, I was reading my friend Terry West’s latest, The Devil’s List, and mentioned a recent release of his that’s been getting good reviews, Transfer. He sent me a copy, clued me in that it, too, had a creepypasta angle, and so I gave that a shot. (Recommend both, BTW, if you know Terry’s work you’ll enjoy it and if you aren’t familiar with his fiction, don’t be concerned about getting to the party late).

Me personally, I prefer ‘Urban Legend’. I think that term works great, while creepypasta sounds ridiculous, and conjures up the same fear element as the phrase ‘Disney Horror.’ It reminds me of when fans of goth music grew so tired of being pigeonholed, they evolved Darkwave just to try and separate themselves… from the rest of themselves. Now time’s passed, the ‘old-school’ Darkwavers have become the stereotype, so there are NeoGoth playlists and forums and, once again, the same core crowd is trying to distance themselves… from the rest of themselves.

With time winding down on the FL stay-at-home order, and having a concept in mind that’d fit into the niche, I cranked out a tale that I’d’ve marketed (prior to this past week) as an Urban Legend story. Only… I couldn’t make it through. Not without breaking from the mold just a little bit. So, the story is centered around a creepypasta trope, but also includes some surprises I hope you’ll find fun, if you choose to snag a copy. I was—I was ready to just wrap this thing like a SlenderMan tale, or story in which some kid is told “Don’t play that video game to level 66, that’s when players start committing suicide!!!” Yeah, I could have. But I wasn’t satisfied with that sort of ending, and so… 1,200 words later, and then it felt like one of my stories. You know, kinda like having tortilla chips for dinner. You can survive on ‘em, but if you add a little taco meat and melted cheese? Refried beans? Suddenly it’s a Nacho Supreme platter. Much more satisfying.

So, keep an eye out. I’ll be posting about a pair of upcoming releases once the covers are ready. For you creepypastafiles (creepypastafarians?) you’ll have something to entertain yourselves with if you’re in a state that still wants you to stay at home/remains locked down. For all you guys, stay safe, and stay well.