Journal of the Plague Year 2020: It’s Better to Be Lucky Than Good

There’s not much to report here.

I write every day, laboring to bring you, the reader, a thrice-weekly helping of Hot Elf.

I toil most days in the salt mines of National Critical Infrastructure. Because of me and geeks like me, this great land of ours can launch a jet off an aircraft carrier and hit a mouse from 70 miles out. [Bows gracefully.]

I recently decided to confine the day job to 32 hours a week, not because the world needs more tales of chain-smoking, dual-wielding, half-breed elvish spies, but because I’d like to get more done around the house. I’d like to eat, sleep and goof off. Maybe work out. Definitely smell perfume, lounge around in silk PJs, and watch Adam Ant videos on YouTube. I have needs, Reader.

My health has suffered. Dreary, but true.

Plus, I still don’t have a sewer connection for my kitchen sink or a washing machine; my yard is overgrown with weeds, and the passenger side of my car is piled high with empty espresso cans and packaging for OTC migraine and allergy medication. Now that I sometimes work from home, these realities cannot be ignored.

Things are rough out there. I wish my tax dollars were helping people in a more focused and consistent way. I loathe American inequality because I know damn well there but for the grace of God go I. Yeah, I work hard. We all do, the poor more than the rich, immigrants more than citizens, brown and black more than white, women more than men.

Turns out it really is better to be lucky than good.

I work like a galley slave, and I make damn good money doing it. I can ease up a bit. I hope. In any case, I intend to try.

I keep thinking of poor Inglorion, making his living off combat and espionage, while dreaming of higher things. I think of Tereus, who can’t conceive of anything more gratifying than battle. These are warnings to myself, and to you, Dear Reader.

I would like you to do a few things for me tonight and tomorrow. First, indulge in a pure, childlike pleasure. For me, it was watching this performance of “Physical (You’re So)” at a Record Store Day in London a few years back.

Second, spend an hour or so watching yourself with a loving eye, and try to see what you really want and need. Done right, this is a shocking exercise.

Third, turn towards the light. See the beauty around you. Tell people they’re awesome. Thank them, even if what they’re doing is frivolous and non-critical. We need music and art and home-cooked food now.

Every single person we’ve lost or will lose in this pandemic is magical, precious and unique. Hold them in your heart, and allow yourself to feel grief.

I wish I could do more. As my strength returns, I will.


J.A. Thompson

Confirmed Covid-19 cases in Arizona as of 4/19: 5,064

Currently hospitalized: 637

Currently in ICU: 285

Deaths: 187

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