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Try these tips for passing COVID-19 downtime

Try these tips for passing COVID-19 downtime Try these tips for passing COVID-19 downtime

OK, so here you sit, you can't go out for a fish fry 'cuz the governor has just closed down your favorite corner pub, you can't watch college basketball on TV 'cuz this coronavirus thing has everybody panicked like their in-laws are comin' over for the week, and now -- this is where it really hurts -- you can't even play a good old fashioned game of musical chairs 'cuz there's no possible way to maintain 6-foot 'social distancing' when there's eight people and seven chairs and the song stops. Just one invisible virus molecule is all it takes, and now you've got a rancid Wuhan exotic meat market all over again.

As a public service -- yeah, I really am nicer than you'd think just by lookin' at me -- I'm going to provide this week a list of activities in which you may partake during this period of social isolation we all face while the COVID-19 pandemic passes by like a sauerkraut fart in an elevator. What? Too crude? Sorry, this all stinks. If it ain't a flower, don't call it a rose, if you catch my drift.

That's right. I know you do.

Anyway, feel free to try any of these ideas in the comfort and privacy of your own home. If you go outside, well, just remember, I never said you might not be arrested. And don't call me to bail you out. I'm in self-quarantine until baseball season starts.

1.) Give your significant other at least three times more sleeping pills than the package directions indicate, give her/him an hour or so, and then rifle through her/his personal belongings like you were a vice squad detective looking for clues that could nail a serial killer. Be thorough, leave no drawer underside unchecked, and remember, the most common place to stash letters from a clandestine lover is in an underwear drawer (although I've never figured out why). Of course, be emotionally prepared for what you might find, but if you uncover nothing of interest, you've at least killed a few hours. Hey, this pandemic thing could drag on for months. Either way, you'll thank me later.

2.) Find your old DVD of 'The Wizard of Oz' and watch it again, but this time without the snotnose naivete of the 10-year-old that you were when you couldn't wait each year for this 'classic' to come on your vertical hold-challenged black and white TV set with the crooked rabbit ears. With what you know now about human nature and gender variations, you'll realize Dorothy was actually the nice witch's life partner, Tin Man was transgender, Scarecrow was a cross-dresser, and the Cowardly Lion was gender neutral but afraid to confront it. Oh, c'mon, Toto? He was just an ankle-biter. Don't get carried away here.

3.) Call that ex-boyfriend/girlfriend that you haven't talked to in 15 years and see if he/she might care to take a stroll down memory lane. If he/she brings up that old restraining order and the money you still owe him/her, well, just say you're really calling to tell him/her that his/her auto warranty is expiring and hang up. Oh, and then flush your phone and get a new number. Again, you can't do anything else. You have time.

4.) Update that list you started years ago of every insect you've ever killed. Start with the flies, then the mosquitoes, then the spiders, and finish with the big stuff, your grasshoppers, crickets, walking sticks, etc. .... What's that? You never started one? Like, wow, I'll bet you feel stupid about now.

5.) Learn how to make a dish you've always wanted to try, but just never quite got around to. Myself, I'm gonna' take my extra time to make a pan of lasagna, which, for whatever reason, I've never done (probably because it's more complicated than boiling hot dogs). You know, go wild. Broast an eggplant. Make veal shish-ka-bobs on the grill. Bake a chocolate pizza. Try dill pickle scrambled eggs. No, I said you try 'em.

6.) Take your weekly copy of this newspaper after you've finished reading every article for the third time -- c'mon, you know you do -- and then lightly mark it in pencil with light grid lines. Start at the page top and make a series of vertical lines all the way to the bottom edge -- about 2 inches apart, give or take -- then turn it sideways and repeat the process. Now, bend the paper along those grid lines, and gently tear into long strips. This process will serve two purposes: 1.) It will help you retain your manual dexterity during this long period of inactivity, and 2.) It will solve that toilet paper shortage about which you've been so concerned. Oh, and by the way, the colored pages may stain. Best leave those for your wife. Tell her they're the softest.

7.) Go down into your basement or dig into the back of your closet to find your old family photo albums. Get 'em out and page through them slowly, making special note of all the photos of yourself, from the time you were a sweet little child, through your virile youth and teen years, and into early adulthood. When you're done, go find the largest mirror in your house, and step up real close so you can see the wrinkled, haggard skinbag that you've become. And now that you'll wish coronavirus might find you, your wait for a lengthy upper respiratory death might not seem so bad. 8.) Turn on your TV, find the FOX News network, and watch it for two straight hours. Next, dig out your complete DVD set of all 'The Muppet Shows' and watch it for an equal length of time. Now try to decide which are the brainless sock puppets and which ones were created by Jim Henson. (Hint: It'll be easier than you expect).

9.) Take up some new hobby that you've always thought you'd never enjoy. It might be cross-stitch, or chess, maybe macrame or map-making, yodeling or yoga. After you've practiced for a period of at least 18 months -- oh, yes, this pandemic thing ain't going anywhere soon -- make a video of yourself working with your new skills. As you watch it, whatever it is, you'll realize it's nowhere near as pointless as all the hours you've wasted on Facebook.

10.) Right a wrong. I don't care what it is, just do it. It could be something as menial as looking up your old third-grade buddy to finally apologize to him for swiping his snazzy 4-color ink pen (dang, he knew all along it was you) back in 1971, or a gesture as large as petitioning the attorney general to convene a grand jury to indict you for that federal mail fraud scam thing you concocted just before your extended 'business trip' to the Cayman Islands. Whatever it is, believe me, if you take this rare downtime to fix it, you'll feel so much better about yourself.

Again, I never said you might not be arrested.