What’s everybody up to on this glorious Palm Sunday, or, on our more secular calendar, Day 21 of self-imposed lockdown? The ceiling of our backyard Barn is thatched with past Palm Sunday fronds, but the churches are quiet today and we won’t be adding anything to the roofbeams this season.

By now, everyone but essential workers and crackpot deniers are fairly well hunkered down with no end date in sight. And, since I’ve been continually haranguing readers to share their stories, I would be remiss if I didn’t pass a few along to offer tips, suggestions, inspiration or just a few laughs.

Family first. My cousin, Edward Lee Lamoureux, with whom I spent much of my childhood, is a professor at Bradley University in Peoria, Illinois. A few locals will recall him from his days playing ball at St. Anthony High School. He is, like many of us, planning on doing lots of things, like “the guitar playing and painting I’d like to do…. Add in the never-ending yard work and all of the home improvement projects that I’ll never get to in this 100 year-old house. It’s a wonder I don’t pass out just from the planning.

“Oh,” continues Cousin Eddie, “and we have offspring, now adults, who need our help. Some need financial help, some need child care help, some need our company and patience and others need us to be there for them just because ya want your parents to still be there.

“And yet, I’m SO damned blessed that I wake up most mornings willing to spend the entire rest of the day working up a good sweat smacking myself on the forehead over my general good fortune.”

Ah, once again comes the staggering weight of the guilt of the privileged.

Ed continues, or concludes: “I can say this without doubt: This whole situation has put an entirely new set of lenses across my eyes. The world not only looks different, it IS, literally, different. Right now, certainly not for the better in many ways. Yet, I’m going to learn to be a better person as a result of this stuff. Not sure I can ask for more than that. Maybe better olives for the gin. But otherwise, nope, just personal improvement.”

Tom Brayton, who has been spending his lunch hours eating take-out lunches with his wife in their car at the various local beaches, reacted to our column about #FilmYourHospital and other conspiracy wackos on Twitter:

“One thing I have noticed about conspiracy theorists is they are always, always, the smartest people in the room,” writes Brayton. “Of course, one reason for this is they are usually the only person in the room. Little competition. And, should he or she be in a room with other people, usually the room clears out pretty quickly leaving the conspiracy theorist alone once again with his or her theories, and that smarter-than-everybody-else intelligence, as company.

“One of my favorite conspiracy theorists (is there a better phrase? Must be.) was a fellow I met who dropped out of college in his first semester because he realized he was smarter than all his professors. He realized, he told me, he had nothing else to learn.  Hard to argue with that. More than hard. Impossible.”

Reader Loreen Saldaña wrote a long letter about her first week-and-change in isolation, which began by “purchasing the party size pack of peanut M&M’s and thinking that it would last me more than a week; of which it did not.”

But, as Saldaña writes, “Let’s talk toilet paper.”

Yes. Everyone else is. Here’s her TP yarn.

“Last August my boyfriend and I went to a concert in Rancho Cucamonga and stayed at a local hotel there. We both thought the toilet paper at this establishment was particularly wonderful, which we never agree on; although, this time, we did.

“When I returned home, I got online and found said toilet paper and ordered a case of it.

“Now some may say that I’m lying, but I don’t consider myself to be a seasoned online shopper.

“So when my ‘case’ of toilet paper showed up in September and was the size of a refrigerator box, I realized I probably hadn’t really read the fine print.

“96 rolls.


“96 rolls.

“Six months later I still have a remaining 28 rolls in my garage; and that’s after giving my mom four rolls, and giving my sister four rolls; for some reason I feel like I’m rationing it out…”

Finally, reader Tom Richey is, like many of us, finding solace in music.

Richey writes, “I’ve been looking at YouTube videos of songs. Most are live versions, which I prefer. Music soothes my soul. We lost a good one in Bill Withers, but not to the virus. I’m worried about John Prine right now as he is sick from it.

“So I decided to post one song a day on Facebook that makes me happy, or thoughtful or ramped up. It’s not a mind builder, but it’s fun nonetheless. Plus, I’ve already read, ‘I’m Dyin’ Here.’

“And, it beats solitaire…”

Tim Grobaty is a columnist and the Opinions Editor for the Long Beach Post. You can reach him at 562-714-2116, email [email protected], @grobaty on Twitter and Grobaty on Facebook.