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Throwing words against a wall
editor's notes

This is one of those exasperating columns which may or may not be worth your time, depending as always on your tolerance for hackery in general and my particular type in particular.

I liken it to that old spaghetti-against-the-wall- to-see-what-sticks approach to column writing. I.e., if that won’t stick, maybe this will. In whichever case, read it in good health, and if you happen to fall into a category that doesn’t hoard bath tissue, I’ll offer up page 5A for your use. Start with the national columnists.

Anyhow, like always, this is written in a far-flung sort of hurry because news, like Neil Young’s rust, never sleeps and every time I turn around somebody is making more of it.

Part 1.

A friend of mine known wide and far as Mark Bolton enlightened me some time back about the blog site Enki Research, which includes this appealing drophead of sorts: “We’re all doomed, here’s why.”

It’s the work of Savannah’s Chuck Watson, who manages to be both astute and a good read, and writes so even I can understand. From my recollection this Watson fellow usually blogs about weather disasters such as hurricanes and the occasional man-made messes, but is now offering observations on the coronavirus, and in doing uses his considerable powers of observation to make reasonable, humane and important points about all things COVID-19.

He also used “feckless,” in a column discussing major media reporting of the pandemic, which would make him cool in my book even if he turned around and called me a hobbit.

Truth is, TV news comes in handy when we’re dealing with the weather, traffic, crime and people up in arms about whatever there is to get up in arms about this week, but for depth (and sometimes the truth) you occasionally need to broaden your horizons and read. Sadly, as social media has eaten into newspaper budgets, it’s gotten harder for us print journalists to afford the depth and nuance we once did or at least tried to do, but we’re still in there swinging. Feebly at times, sure, but we continue to give it a whack.

Which is beside the point. Google Enki Research.

Part 2.

I did the 2020 census online the other day. Took all of five minutes, maybe. Logged on, answered some questions and was done before I even got warmed up to answer what I thought might be one of those Proust type questionnaires in which they asked me what I think about the Republicans – they’re an uptight bunch – and the Democrats, who are uptight in the other direction, or what book I’d take with me if I could only take one book with me somewhere.

Answer: “The Once and Future King” by T.H. White. I need to read that again. It’s been a while.

Anyway, it’s been 10 years since I took the last census and I had forgotten what it was like, and now that I’m done what I don’t get is the need for all the outreach efforts to make sure everyone gets counted. Why wouldn’t they?

Are we at the point where people think they shouldn’t take the Census? Are the cool kids of all ages today saying, “I’m too cool to be counted?,” just like the dimwits who think they’re too cool for coronavirus so they invade innocent sandbars to drink beer and scare the birds? If life’s a circus, the clowns are winning.

Part 3.

Finally, this. I am a fan of Agatha Christie and other good mystery writers, and I enjoy watching Masterpiece Mystery and Harry Bosch and so on. I like a good murder mystery as much as anyone. Which leads me to this.

Before the coronavirus hit, my wife and I found out we needed a new concrete lid section for our septic tank – an old chunk having broken.

What’s more, we’ve learned it has to be specially made because they don’t make septic tank lid sections like they used to 50 years ago, and we’re waiting on it to be constructed and delivered and lowered into place by a boom or crane or derrick of some kind which will no doubt cost money than it ordinarily would.

In the meantime, there remains that section of our septic tank covered with a temporary cover – also known as a tarp – which, as I suggested to my wife, could be removed and then replaced with ease were we to decide to bump off one of the more annoying of our neighbors and needed a place to put them where nobody was likely to look.

And, I ventured further, if that wasn’t a good idea, we could advertise it on Craigslist to rent to somebody in need of a good spot to hide a stiff or two, but we’d have to do it before the new lid arrived or we’d miss the boat on the chance to be landlords, of sorts.

She said no.

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