Day 49 – Stories of COVID-19 and Sheltering-In-Place

The experiment that came to mind was: How long can I wear the same clothes without laundering them? Clemencia didn’t think that was an appropriate home experment…except for a junior high boy who was a gueva.

Sunday, May 3, 2020 – Live to Blog in the Midst of a Rebellion


When you least expect it those closest to you suddenly turn on you. Isn’t that the way it goes? You prioritize them, you love them, and you care for them (okay, maybe you don’t launder them). One day you turn around and there they are – Bert Left and Ernie Right – staging a rebellion.

The Sock Rebellion

On March 16th I put Bert Left and Ernie Right on when I got dressed in the morning. I had returned the night before from Mississippi, my last work related trip to date. Governor Larry Hogan had issued a state of emergency order on March 5th and by the 16th he was strongly advising people at highest risk (like Clemencia and me) to stay at home for 14 days. We were compliant and believed it would only be those two weeks. Seemed like a great time for a homegrown experiment to me!

The experiment that came to mind was: How long can I wear the same clothes without laundering them? Clemencia didn’t think that was an appropriate home experment…except for a junior high boy who was a gueva. After we discussed it for a while, I did what I knew I was destined to do: give in…and then find another way to do it. The answer appeared on my feet.

Bert and Ernie are wool socks. Bert resides on my left foot; Ernie on my right. After 49 days it is almost challenging to confuse them now. They remain unlaundered but, that’s okay, they hang out all night on the deck, pinned to the back of my Amish Made Poly Adirondack chair.

Over the past 49 days, the personalities of Bert and Ernie have begun to emerge. Honestly, it’s been a contentious relationship from the beginning. At first, they tried to keep everything secret from me by mumbling to each other so I couldn’t understand them. Eventually they began to speak to me and even argue with me. Now, it seems, everything is an argument.

  • Bert: Hey, bonehead!
  • Me: Are you talkin’ to me?
  • Ernie: Who else around here is a bonehead…besides, you answered didn’t you…bonehead?
  • Me: What do you want?
  • Ernie: We got rights, you know.
  • Bert: Yeah, rights! We got those!
  • Me: I’m not sure I understand. You are wool socks. You shouldn’t be alive and you definitely should not be speaking.
  • Bert: That’s what you think, bonehead. We’ve picked up enough of your DNA that we could reconstitute it and, guess what, now we’re alive…and we can talk!
  • Ernie: Yeah, we can talk! Tell him, Bert!
  • Bert: We can talk, we can think, “cogito ergo sum,” as Descartes would say.
  • Me: Really? You’re going to quote René Descartes at me?
  • Ernie: Yeah, bonehead! You’re not the only one that studied philosophy. “We think, therefore we are.”
  • Me: Well, I don’t think YOU think very clearly.
  • Bert: US? What about you, bonehead? You’re the stable genius that came up with the idea of wearing us without washing us for 49 days. See, we can even count!
  • Me: Well, it’s worked hasn’t it? Not only are you doing fine but, look at you, you’re alive…or at least you “think” you are alive.
  • Bert: That’s right…and that’s the issue. We are alive and, you know what, we can’t get COVID-19 so we want to get out. We’re tired of walking the same trail and the same sidewalk. We’re tired of being confined to the deck at night. We’re tired of living in your smelly shoes. We want to see a movie, go out for dinner, and even go dancing. We can’t get sick, why should we be made to suffer?
  • Me: Wow! You two sound like some Stupid People and Ignorant People I see in the news these days!
  • Ernie: Watch it, bonehead! Don’t call us Stupid or Ignorant.
  • Me: ME? What about you? You’re always calling me “bonehead.”
  • Bert: We’re only speaking truth, man. You’re name calling!
  • Me: Oh, brother!…Look, let’s get back to your demand to go out. I’ve got a simple answer: No.
  • Bert: What do you mean, bonehead? It’s our constitutional right!
  • Me: Wait a minute…you don’t have any constitutional right when it puts me and other people at risk.
  • Ernie: Yes, we do! We’re alive. We live in the United States. We have constitutional rights. USA! USA!
  • Me: Okay, let’s “say” our constitutional rights allow us to do any stupid thing we want to do. And, let’s say that I want to put you two on and walk on burning coals. Does that work for you?
  • Ernie and Bert: No way, bonehead!
  • Bert: That could kill us!
  • Me: Exactly! My rights end when they infringe upon your rights…and vice versa. When I have more to lose than you, then you need to consider whether it is in the greater good to assert your rights. Likewise, when you have more to lose than me, I need to reconsider asserting my rights.
  • Ernie: What a crock!
  • Bert: A crock of crap! My rights are my rights, not yours! USA! USA!
  • Me: Fine. Go out. Take in a movie, get a pizza, have fun! I’m not going to stop you. But…how are you going to get there? You need my feet to move you.
  • Bert and Ernie (silence, as they stare at each other and search for words, then): We’ll get back to you on that.
  • Me: I’m sure you will.

The Doodles & Art of Jeff Logan

I met Jeff Logan in September 2009 attending our first class in the PhD in Organizational Leadership program at Eastern University. The first small group I was assigned to in the first class included Jeff and me. In that small group I learned a fascinating fact from him about Ghengis Khan but that story is for another time. More importantly, I learned I was in the presence of an amazing, diversely talented person. He is an academic, a linguist, a minister, a humorist, and an artist. His medium is pen and ink cartoons which he shares on his Instagram site. Through the Eastern University program we became, and remain, friends and colleagues. Jeff has given me permission to post some of his cartoons here. This week I’m going to feature two of them, but I’m also going to try to share one a day going forward. Some will be related to COVID-19 and some will just relate to life in general. Jeff tells me he is a regular reader of this blog, which embarrases me a bit because I think my humor pales in comparison to his. Thank you, Jeff! Stay safe, be well, and keep drawing please!

Jeff writes: I have always enjoyed the diversity of my local Walmart – seeing the different takes on masks has been inspiring for stepping up my own mask game!!
Jeff writes: Quick evening doodle while making some notes for a video in my anthropology classes.

The Adventures of Chickenman – Episode 17

Benton Harbor (our Fantastic Fearless Feathered Fighter) appears at a “father and son” banquet in Midland City…with his mother. What could go wrong?

Sharing a Guilty Pleasure

Local news bloopers are a guilty pleasure of mine. Each month a number of different YouTube sites post the best of previous month’s outtakes and bloopers from local television news from around the world. The April 2020 bloopers were particularly good because so many local news reporters and anchors were trying to do their reports and programs from home because of the sheltering-in-place orders. As a result, there is a treasure trove of very funny bloopers and outtakes that will help us remember…more fondly…the otherwise horrific month that April 2020 was. Here is my favorite:

Stay safe, be well, keep calm, keep washing your hands, keep wearing your mask, and keep your socks in the house, please.


Author: The Driveler

Tom Klaus is the Driveler. On March 16, 2020, the first day of the Novel Coronavirus shelter-in-place order for his state, he started writing a daily blog to keep himself from stressing too much about the pandemic situation. He thought the daily blogging would last for only a couple of week but it stretched on to 77 consecutive days. Then he continued writing daily for a while after that as well. At some point the blog became The Daily Drivel...mostly because he was mostly writing the stream of consciousness drivel that was pouring out of his head, running down his face, and, sometimes, out of his mouth. In November 2020 he launched The Daily Drivel as a free-standing website/blog.

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