Notes from a Pandemic

Drive like there is a shortage of parts
Travel like there are no rental cars
Eat like the store shelves are thin
Dine out like the staff has no insurance
Conserve as if the grid could fail
Share as if the neighbors have nothing
Exercise as though the ERs are infectious
Mask up as though the ICUs are full
Call like they can’t speak after tonight
Love like they are gone tomorrow

Parable of the Flood

A man and his home are under threat of a terrible flood. As the nearby river overflows its banks and fills his yard, the man’s neighbors come by on a tractor and ask if he would evacuate with them.

“No thanks,” he answers, “I believe God will save me.”

His neighbors nod and drive away to high ground.

The water surges and floods into his home. A rescue team powers up in a boat and tells him to evacuate with them.

“No,” he answers again, “I believe God will save me!”

The rescuers boat downriver to look for more evacuees.

The flood rages on to reach the ceiling, and the man climbs up onto his roof. A helicopter flies over and they lower a rope and a basket.

“God will save me!” he shouts as he pushes the basket away.

The helicopter lifts off to look for more stranded people.

Ultimately, the river crests over his roof and the man washes away and fatally drowns.

He gets to the gates of heaven and pleads, “God, why did you not save me? Am I not faithful? I believed you would save me!”

God raises his hands and tells the man, “I sent you a tractor, a boat, and a helicopter, but still you refused my help. Your boastful pride brought you here.”


As more of my friends and family fall to this terrible COVID-19 flood, I am reminded of this parable. Please, don’t decline the help; get vaccinated. With the mutations raging in the wild and washing over our homes, that vaccine makes all the difference between feeling ill for a few days — and death.

Please. Don’t be prideful.

21 Austin

On a warm and hazy Friday morning, July 28, 2000, I pulled in to Austin in my red ’94 Mitsubishi Mirage with my first carload of possessions, just in time for my first big-city rush hour, with a wild dream but completely bedraggled from the overnight drive.

Twenty-one years later, I’m still fuckin’ tired.

I’m not sure why I honor my own Austin anniversary, but it’s something we do here, I guess. Marking epochs of time. But my love for this town is still unrequited (after 21 years, it’ll come around, right?).

Yeah, I’ve learned a lot about myself in this time and place. I’ve found lots of things that I like, lots of dreams that I could still fulfill, but I still kinda drag along the same carload of possessions — literally, and emotionally.

And it’s tiring.

What’s the future? Who fucking knows.

Ethyldivinol

Alcohol is the catalyst which slows me down so that everything overwhelms me, by which the profane becomes profound, in which patterns emerge in the chaos, and for one brief moment I find god. Everything suddenly makes sense, because I am too incapacitated to hold all the infinite possibilities in my head.

Divinity by chemical Dunning-Kruger.

No wonder the Franciscan monks found god through beer. Take away all possibilities, and the obvious solution is the only path you can see.

God by divine chemistry.