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From the Editor's Desk

These are strange times, indeed

by Dennis Ernst • May 06, 2020

Editor's Desk

Dennis ernst against blue sky

Being told to stay home is not something I'm used to. Nor did I think anyone could do that to me at my age. Back when I was a kid it was called being grounded, and I didn't like it then, either. Fortunately, I love where I live, so being told to stay here isn't even close to punishment. In fact, it's a gift. But still, being told I can't leave my house seems just plain weird.

Weirder yet is being told that if I want to go to church, even when it's empty, I have to fill out a form from the government first. Until last week, if you had a vacation home you were not allowed to go there. Walk into Wal-Mart and you'd encounter aisle after aisle roped off preventing you from buying such "non-essential" items like mosquito repellent and folding chairs. Some poor guy went to Lowe's to buy mulch and got fined $1000 for going out to buy something the stated determined to be non-essential.

How did it come to this? It's not like I live in a Covid-19 hotspot; to date, my county has reported a grand total of 19 cases.

Here in the People's Republic of Michigan, it seems like we're living through some kind of social experiment. Maybe you feel the same way where you live. We didn't bring any of this on ourselves, you or I. We may not have chosen the situation we've found ourselves in, but we certainly can choose how we react to it. For me, I'm reacting by not reacting.

My daily routine remains largely unchanged from before all this came about. Because we consider our work essential, we still go to the office. We've yet to be challenged. I prefer my home office, which is far more comfortable and has a much better view. I have yet to be fined for going down stairs. Perhaps that's coming, but for now I'm working where I prefer to work, not where I'm mandated.

Walmart aisle shut down from Covid

There have only been two downsides to these crazy times. My 94-year-old mother is in assisted living in a county where the virus is thriving, 5789 cases as of today (up 52 from yesterday). At last count, there were 23 cases in her facility. None on her wing, but we all know it respects no boundary. (If you think I'm concerned, that's the understatement of the year.) To visit her, I'm limited to standing outside her window where we can see each other and talking by phone; hardly what I call visiting.

The other thing that unsettles me is the restriction against going to Sunday Mass. I spent 20 years avoiding church when I was consumed by a false sense of autonomy. Now that I got over myself, I have a lot of skipped Masses to make up for. I have a ways to go yet, and don't even know how much time I have left to catch up, which is why this government-imposed lockout is so troubling.

Other than that, life here is not much different from the norm. Sure, my hair is getting a bit longer than I like, but I'm convinced self-quarantined hair is better than self-hacked hair. You'll see what I mean the next time you check into our YouTube channel. Ever since we recovered it from the Internet hacker who stole it back in January, I've been freshening it up and adding new stuff. My locks may be longer than you're used to seeing me with, but trust me, it's temporary.
Oh, and by the way, I've created a new YouTube channel. For the last 23 years, everything I've written and produced has been about phlebotomy. I'm really not much fun at parties because that's all I know to talk about. Perhaps that's why my wife never takes me anywhere anymore. Not that I mind; phlebotomy is my favorite subject. But, lately, it occurred to me that I need to l turn my creative mind loose on something other than drawing blood. So I launched Studio E last month. It's my place to tinker with ideas that have been incubating in me all these years without an outlet. I hope it will be wildly diverse, always aesthetic, and safe for all ages and intellects. I've only completed one video so far, but others are percolating now that they know they'll see the light of day sometime soon. If you have a moment, and don't mind something spiritual every now and then, follow me.

If you are tired of obeying your stay-at-home order and need to demonstrate a little harmless civil disobedience, come up to Northern Michigan---the place coronavirus forgot and the land of plenty of executive orders. We'll sit out at the fire pit overlooking the lake and talk phlebotomy, insurrection, or whatever else comes to mind. I've got some brand new illegally-purchased folding chairs I can't wait to put to use, and some highly potent contraband mosquito repellent that I happen to think is essential.

Some regulations just beg to be defied.

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