Tom Clyde: Nevermind the apocalypse
It’s been a week now since the start of the apocalypse. Plague, financial collapse, societal disruption, and then just for the hell of it, let’s have an earthquake or two. What’s next? About the only things left are fire and flood.
It was all getting me down, to put it mildly, and I decided I had to crawl out from under the bed and get on with life. Face it with courage and determination.
The first night of the lockdown, I woke up in the middle of the night to crashing and banging downstairs. I immediately assumed that armed marauders were coming for the toilet paper. On closer examination, I figured out that the Roomba had not successfully transitioned to Daylight Saving Time, and had come on randomly in the middle of the night. The toilet paper was secure.
The next morning, I sheltered in place to take care of a lot of household tasks that had been ignored during the aborted ski season. I got all the checkbooks balanced, months of transactions posted in the business books and finished my tax returns. The house is spotless. It was a very productive morning. After an early lunch, there was a great nap and then the rest of the day to fill.
Watching the news was a terrible idea, and while I could have been watching any number of entertaining shows, I kept turning back to the business channel to watch the stock market implode. Trillions of dollars died and went to money heaven this week, and there’s no reason to think it will come back on Easter. Looking at a cat-food based retirement.
The news was weird. Not just the content, but the production. Corporate CEOs were giving interviews from the panic rooms of their Hamptons mansions. The cable companies are terrified of trying to be on the air without their anchors, so the usual teams are split up, appearing instead from their living rooms, with kids crying and dogs barking in the background. If the on-air team all gets sick, they still have 24 hours a day to fill with something. It all looks like public access cable channels from the ’80s. ESPN is playing reruns in the absence of any live sporting events. That’s harder to do with coverage of the financial collapse.
I couldn’t let it get to me. Rise and shine. Carry on. The dogs convinced me to put down the remote and go out.
I dusted off the cross-country skis that haven’t seen any action this winter and did a long loop. When I got home, there was a big sore on my foot. It’s probably just a blister. But it could be leprosy. You never know. I decided to watch it for a day or two to see if gangrene set in.
With my foot wounded, I went for a bike ride the next day. It was wonderful to get out. Spring is beginning to break through. After the ride, I coughed up a little stuff. That’s pretty typical, especially when clearing the winter’s crud out of the lungs for the first time. Nothing to worry about. But I Googled the symptoms for tuberculosis just in case.
A friend was excited to see the first marmot of spring. It’s a sure sign that the season is changing. The marmots aren’t out at my house yet. This one seems early. There may be something wrong with it. Probably carrying plague or something.
Despite trying to prepare for the apocalypse, there was nothing in the house I felt like cooking or eating, so I drove to Heber for a take-and-bake pizza. I figured that would be safe. While I’m eating it, I read the news that every high school kid in Wasatch County (including the three who made my pizza) is now in quarantine for 2 weeks because one of their classmates had a confirmed case of the virus, with no obvious source of contagion.
Would you like extra pepperoni on that?
I didn’t feel the earthquake. My phone melted down with messages from friends and family who did. I turned on the Salt Lake TV stations and there were some kind of lame remote stand-ups from reporters. One was breathless in front of something that was a combination of a construction site and a damaged building. It was hard to tell which was going up and what was falling down. And then the screen went black. The satellite uplink from Salt Lake was gone. So another round of texts to figure out if it was something with the satellite or if Salt Lake had just been swallowed into the earth. Fortunately, the city was still standing.
In the 1996 movie classic “Mars Attacks,” the world was saved when they accidentally discovered that playing Slim Whitman’s yodeling song, “Indian Love Call,” turned the invaders away. It’s worth a try.
Tom Clyde practiced law in Park City for many years. He lives on a working ranch in Woodland and has been writing this column since 1986.
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