Oh, was I ever a good boy over the last two years in the Pandemic.
The government said to avoid being struck down by COVID 19 I had to get vaccinated, so I got two vaccination shots. The government said I also had to get a booster shot, so I got one. The government said a flu shot would help, so I went and got one of those, too. The government said I had to wear a mask and I did – everywhere and every day.
I did absolutely everything I needed to do stay safe.
So what happened? Last month, I came down with COVID.
It was the omicron variant and it was bad, really bad. The vaccines and booster did protect me in a sense that I was not hospitalized and am obviously still alive, but I felt like I was dying. I had an awful cough for three days. It was so bad that now, nearly a month later, my sides still hurt from it. I suffered from fatigue and complete exhaustion. I just did not want to do anything and fell asleep watching television. I still suffer from it.
I was supposed to quarantine myself for five days, but I did it for nine days just to be on the safe side.
Nine days. It was like nine years. I was bored out of my mind.
I was saved, though. I was not saved by Dr. Fauci, world famous hospitals or my doctors. No, I was saved by entertainment, that marvelous, magical mix if movies, television and oh yes, YouTube.
I got up at about 6 a.m. each day and went to sleep at 10:30 p.m. I could have worked on my writing projects, but the fatigue ended all interest in them.
So, I plopped down on my couch, or my bed, turned on television and became lost on a wonderful world of dramas, adventure movies, musicals and comedies – all at the flick on my fingers on my beloved remote.
Watching entertainment on television did not only make time go by, but gave me a new fascination with the arts.
What did I watch? What didn’t I watch?
First and foremost, Netflix. I was flicking the Netflix channels and found the fourth season of Ozark. For three years I have been enthralled by this sizzling drama of a family that works for a drug cartel (not really a good choice of jobs). I watched it, wallowed in it, for nearly ten hours. I flicked to numerous other Netflix shows, some good, some mediocre and some just dreadful. I watched Seinfeld, one of the all time great comic series, for hours, maybe days. I caught several hours of Outlander, the saga of the British woman who goes back and forth through time (sure…). I watched the Andy Griffith Show several times a day, every single day, and cheered on Sheriff Andy, Deputy Barney Fife, Aunt Bea and lovable little Opie.
I watched Law and Order. No, not Law and Order, but ALL of the Law and Orders, all 20 years of them. I watched the CBS Sunday morning, all of Jeopardy and all of Wheel of Fortune. I watched Criminal Minds – single Criminal Minds and marathon Criminal Minds. I watched every channel you could think of. I watched just about all of the 70 some movie channels I get on my FIOS system. Movies? I think I watched every movie ever made (and yes, the silents on TCM, too). I think I saw the Godfather ten times, but Godfather II just six. I saw every musical ever produced (oh, Judy Garland!)
I saw the Adventures of New Christine, Old Christine and every Christine ever born.
You are reading this and saying, well, why sit there like a bump on a log and watch TV when you could have spent nine days and all that time reading the great books? No, the fatigue killed all interest in reading. I did talk to friends on the phone, but the fatigue limited that, too. I had a lot of long conversations with my cat, but he does not enjoy sports.
Nope, It was just me and entertainment on TV, and it was glorious.
To sit there and watch Casablanca yet again, to glory in all the John Wayne movies and the cowboy stories (there are two cowboy networks on my cable system). Oh, for another 30 hours of Wagon Train, for 400 hours of The Lone Ranger!
I thought deeply about the shows I watched. I gritted my teeth yet again during Holocaust movies (oh, I saw Tom Cruise in Valkyrie at least ten times. I reveled in World War II movies, all 4 million of them, enjoying The Longest Day, The Shortest Day and Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.
On channel 13 and other cable channels I watched opera, some good, some bad and some really, really bad (Boris Godunov).
And love stories...
What does It mean to fall in love, this evening or in 1598? To fall in love in an almost perfect, innocent world (The Music Man) and falling in live in a war torn world (Casablanca). When you’re young (Last Picture Show) or old (Somethjng’s Gotta Give). To fall in love with your sweetheart? Your country?
Besides killing nine days of time, what did I get out of my entertainment nine day quarantine?
I enjoyed a renewed interest in the great films (Singin’ in the Rain), actors (George C. Scott and others), a much better sense if history (about one quarter of all movies were about history in some way. I enjoyed a renewed sense of the battles, all kinds of them, past and present, over race, class and gender, in America, and a satisfaction for how far we’ve come, and yet dissatisfaction at how far we still need to go.
I was able to spend a lot more time on the news and thought harder on the issues of the day whether foreign (Ukraine), or domestic (vaccine wars).
Overall, those nine days in front of the TV, screening all of those shows and watching all those movies gave me not only a better appreciation for movies and their greatness, but of not only how much entertainment fills up our lives, but how it gives them direction and meaning.
So, given that, wouldn’t I like to get COVID-19 again so I could spend nine more days of entertainment majesty?