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This Pandemic Has Been Like Time Traveling, The Boring Old Fashioned Way

News For Dudes & Friends — March 19th, 2021

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Good-ish News: A study from Denmark found that COVID-19 reinfection is rare and that most people who have had the virus are protected from catching it again for at least six months. [Reuters]

Jab News: The CDC says the vaccinated should still wear masks and socially distance, to be safe. But they can enjoy small gatherings! Anyway, stay frosty. [AP]

Mask Up: The tongue-in-cheek sign reads: “$50 — If I have to explain why masks are mandatory.” It hangs on the door of Legends Diner in Dallas and the owner is also fining customers $75 if he has to hear why they disagree. It’s a joke! Or is it? [DallasNews]

Air Fail: The Pentagon wants a jetpack and is willing to pay for it. Do you have a “portable personal air mobility system” idea? It could be worth $1.5 million. [Humungus]

Maggot Cheese: I’m not going to lie, I’d 100% eat this rare Italian pecorino cheese that is softened by hungry maggots. The creamy formaggio is a delicacy that some call dangerous — what if you eat a maggot? But I’d risk it! [CNN]

Nifty NFT: Beatific Tiktok star Dogface is selling his beloved viral video of him skateboarding to Fleetwood Mac’s ‘Dreams’ for half-a-million dollars. Sadly, the video does not include the hit song. [TMZ]

Space Bugs: I think the discovery of alien bacteria is the plot of a sci-fi movie I’ve seen before. Anyway, it’s time to blow up the International Space Station. [BusinessInsider]

General Neutral: According to a study of Special Forces services members, only 33% of men surveyed would feel comfortable sharing a unisex bathroom with a member of the opposite sex. The rest would have pee fear. Sixty-one percent of women wouldn’t care. [Stripes]

Murder Pants: The horror streaming service Shudder is the most bang for my entertainment buck with a stacked library of classic and brand-new scary movies and splatter flicks. A few of the platform’s originals are just plain bonkers, and entertaining as all hell. I recommend Slaxx, which just dropped on the service. It’s a horror-comedy about a pair of demonic denim pants methodically murdering the staff of a trendy retail clothing store. The movie is cheap, short, and full of beautiful, young people dying in horrible ways. It’s tongue-in-cheek but doesn’t skimp on the blood. [Shudder]

Slow Forward: My couch is a time machine. I sat on it and time traveled from 2020 to 2021, very slowly. In the movies, time travel is exciting. You blast forward and backward in time. Maybe there are bolts of electricity or other trippy special effects signifying momentum. The device itself is high-tech, a car, a box of some sort, a special suit. My time machine is six cushions, some pillows. When you sit on it, time hurtles into the future at the speed of a ticking clock.

I have traveled to the future and it’s mostly like the past. I’m still ordering Thai food that I spray down with chemicals, out of habit. I’m paranoid. If I pass someone on the street, my eyes narrow over my mask, suspiciously. Some things changed. There’s a vaccine. Multiple ones! And a different president. Usually, time travelers from the past stay young. But that’s not the case with my time machine. I moved forward in time, waiting, watching TV, freaking out, never going out, never seeing anyone, for hours and months and I aged. It was boring. Decaying is a drag.

If 2020 me met 2021 me, I’d comment on my new wrinkles. Time travelers usually have to worry about meeting themselves, and avoiding paradoxes that will destroy the universe, unless it’s not that kind of movie, in which case, it's usually awkward when loopers meet. I am older and greyer than I was last year when I first retreated into my apartment. I went into quarantine, like millions of others, as a way of protecting myself, and my loved ones, and total strangers from a deadly virus last March. Look at me now, I sat on my couch today for four hours — soared four hours into the future! — staring at a TV series I’ve watched before.

Twelve months later, I have a few new aches and new anxieties, like will my friends recognize me when they finally see me? My fellow time travelers who, like me, counted days until the days all blurred into one endless, waking moment of consciousness.

Obviously, they will. They’ll say, “Hi, John!” and then we’ll stand across from each other, not too close though. But it’s still a fear, one of those quiet ones that slip into the mind as you nod off to sleep at night. I mean, I still feel like I’m 2020 years old. That last time I saw my loved ones I was younger. They were younger. I don’t know what’s going to happen next but I can find out. I have the technology. All I have to do is sit on my couch and wait. I will find out soon enough, even if it takes the rest of my life.

Writer/editor. NYPost, CONAN, Sirius XM. 2X James Beard Award winner. I created Humungus, a blog about movies, tv & feelings.

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