Spooky season came to Milwaukee early this year as monsters descended upon the city for the Midwest Haunters Convention.
A group of young children raced down the dark street past my house last night on their bikes and scooters.
“Chloe’s got corona!” one boy teased.
“Nuh-uh!” Chloe shouted.
COVID-19: The new cooties.
Or a punishment from God “inflicted upon us for our presumptuous sins,” as Pennsylvania state representative Stephanie Borowicz claims in her plea to designate March 30 for atonement, “A State Day of Humiliation, Fasting, and Prayer.”
I suddenly find myself agreeing with President Trump for once that yes, we should definitely get all the churches opened and packed for Easter.
In the mid-14th century, as the bubonic plague decimated the population of Europe, groups of religious zealots would parade through the streets chanting and flogging themselves in penance to repel the Wrath of God.
When a group of 600 flagellants converged on London in 1349, historian Sir Robert of Avesbury wrote:
“Each had in his right hand a scourge with three tails. Each tail had a knot and through the middle of it there were sometimes sharp nails fixed. They marched naked in a file one behind the other and whipped themselves with these scourges on their naked and bleeding bodies.”
All this flagellating, of course, didn’t stop the Black Death from wiping out over half of the European population. Because Yersinia pestis just DGAF.
The Flagellants by Carl von Marr, 1889.
I’ve been gazing up at this massive painting in awe since my first school field trip when we walked down the block to the tiny art museum where it hung at the time. It was displayed at the 1893 Columbian Exposition World’s Fair in Chicago, where it won a gold medal. Today The Flagellants is part of the permanent collection at the Museum of Wisconsin Art.
Borowicz can relax, though, because I’m happy to announce the end of the world has been cancelled. I went out into the world today (don’t worry, I promptly returned home and scrubbed it off with soap and hot water) and discovered that herds of toilet paper are already beginning to return to their natural habitats on grocery store shelves. Crisis averted. Praise Jesus for our clean asses.
Now all we have to do is make it through quarantine without losing any limbs or organs while trying to learn how to make bread.
The “Safer at Home” order was issued here in Wisconsin on Wednesday, and will be in effect until April 24th. My kids began “distance learning” for school this week. I began distance parenting. All non-essential businesses were closed. Liquor stores remain open.
I mostly just sleep, stumble over to my laptop to get a few hours of work done, maintain at least a 6-foot distance from everyone at all times except the cat who thinks I’m just furniture (probably true), daydream about the things I could accomplish if not for the crushing ennui, then spend the rest of the day pining for all the things I didn’t even do before I was told I couldn’t.
So it’s pretty much life as usual around here.
What’s keeping me sane this week:
- Infecting my mind with Danger Slater’s bizarro horror
- Listening to horror actor Bill Oberst Jr. read Gothic literature
- Screaming into the abyss while Adam Hurst plays cello
- Longing for the good ol’ days when I was antisocial by choice
- Trolling you guys on Facebook