It was March 19 when I started working from the home office and have been on essentially necessity-only excursions, which means trips to the grocery and booze stores. I walk around sometimes, and I try to get the car around the block once in a while to make sure it still goes. That’s 84 days between now and then.
The first week of June was paid time off for me. Had to take it, it’s use-before-July-1-or-lose time. The normal plan would be to drive three hours west of here and enjoy the small, spring-fed lake that is my life’s touchstone. Such a trip would mean trusting the state of New York to manage its rest areas reasonably enough so I could stop to pee without contracting the SARS-CoV-2, this risk taken for a few measly days away. I opted to stay in Rochester.
It was a good staycation. Aspects of the apartment have not been working, and I worked to improve some of this. I watched some good movies, most specifically a six-hour block of Marx Brothers movies on Friday.
The first line of Monkey Business is what struck me most hilarious this time around. It’s always something new with a Marx Brothers film. The line:
Officer: Sorry to report there are four stowaways in the forward hatch!
Captain: Stowaways! How do you know there are four of ’em?
Officer: Why, they were singing “Sweet Adeline.”
Be careful when you wear novelty comic mustache glasses. They can leave Groucho marks.
I attended an online panel discussion proctored by Sinbad … wait, easier to copy and paste: “Featuring Brent Fischer, Dr. Clare Fischer’s son and Grammy award winning Producer; St. Paul Peterson of The Family/ Fdeluxe; #1 Hit Song Producer David Z; and Arne Frager, owner of the legendary @ThePlantStudio that produced over 50 #1 hit songs during his tenure.” Five bucks was admission. For that I guess I could not have expected to get to ask a question, which would have been that I notice that Jill Jones’ album benefits from a few Clare Fischer tracks, and did any other ingenue projects get the same benefit?
It was a fine presentation, and Brent has many stories.
I think I fell asleep.
So I started doing an Internet radio station again. That’s how bored I’ve been. I felt the need again to make a vanity radio station nobody will ever listen to for a blog nobody reads. It’s at 8wkradio.me , by the way. I am still learning the software and building the playlists. It is currently weighted toward 80s tunes, but that is likely to change.
I went on an Obama nostalgia tour on YouTube. That can sure be devastating.
I sorted through old newspaper clips and memories and also had days where I just sat for an hour. I dreamed and plotted my increasingly feckless, long-standing dream to move closer to that little lake, and turned up to the fact that even if I had the means, the logistics, the will to try to finally claim a placid lake life, I could not. It took me some time to translate that to the actual reality in front of me.
I am doing the best that I can. And I mean that quite in every sense of the word, to the extent that every word in that sentence buckles out and shines. I am doing the best that I can. I have maintained my income and my health. So far for 84 days. I don’t think I’ve ever typed “I am doing the best that I can” and ever meant it so nakedly.
This is Mike Birbiglia. He tells a pretty good story.
Among his many credits, Birbiglia is a frequent contributor to This American Life. Within that framework, Birbiglia had a contest to select his “understudy.” This is a hilarious premise in and of itself as one would be understudying for his one-man show. Here he explains the contest to Jimmy Fallon.
As you may notice, this blogger has become comically besotted with a comic named Maria DeCotis, due to her presentations of outtakes from our Governor Andrew Cuomo. Before she started with the Cuomo stuff, she entered the Birbiglia understudy competition, choosing to do one of his most favored bits, “Scrambler.”
But she did it in Italian.
This performance made the cut, and she ended up performing for an audience and Ira Glass. It is hilarious.
Hey. Lorne Michaels. Are you watching this performer? Yinz should be.