Local yes, Native no Quarantine Part 2 | Syd Nichols Returns

Hello Friends! It’s Syd again. I promised to reintroduce myself a little bit with each post, so I will now honor that. You may or may not be familiar with some of my previous work in which I wrote under the tongue in cheek moniker of “Shorebilly”. The humorous irony to this title is that I am the absolute antithesis of a “shorebilly”. For starters, I’m not originally from here. And though I have lived and worked in the area for well over thirty years, own my home, and have four children in the local school system I still have a stock answer for the loaded question; “are you a local?” Depending on who is asking, it’s almost a trick question. The answer to which you will in fact be judged. So I always have the same simple reply; “local yes, native no.” Though I ceased giving a damn about what other people thought of me around the same time as my own potty training, I do still love giving answers that leave some befuddled. 

There are several other manners in which I am the antithesis of the prototypical “shorebilly”. There are no dirt roads in the county that share my last name. I don’t own a boat, never have, and never care to. The closest I’ve ever come to hunting at all, was hitting a four-point buck with my minivan going 55 on route 90 in the middle of a sunny afternoon. He wasn’t even courteous enough to die. He did over $8,000.00 worth of damage to my car, slowly stood up, looked at me like I was the asshole, and trotted back into the woods. If you’re going to raise my premiums and leave me driving a silver Volkswagen Beetle with New Jersey tags for three weeks, at least have the decency to leave me with a freezer full of venison to get through the offseason. And that was more than just a rental car, it was an identity. When you’re just shy of 6 feet tall and driving around town in an ATM on wheels, you can only crouch down so low. 

I’m really kind of the indoorsy type. The only thing I’ve ever owned in my life with camouflage print was a velcro Levi’s wallet that my next-door neighbor gave me as a tenth birthday gift. A gift I promptly lost. At least I think I lost it. It’s entirely possible that it’s been sitting on my dresser for 40 years and I just can’t see it. The only 4-wheel drive vehicle I’ve ever owned or operated is a remote control monster truck that Santa brought my 4-year-old son last year. And it has yet to leave the comforts of my back yard and culdesac on which I live. I’ve fished a handful of times and while I enjoy the actual boating of and consumption of sea creatures most of the preparation and process grosses me out. I’m the guy who will show up at the boat with a 12 pack of beer in one hand and a 12 pack of hand sanitizer in the other. Though that was back in the days when obtaining sanitizer was easier to obtain than a mint condition Babe Ruth rookie card. 

I can cite several more examples of why it’s laughable to label me “shorebilly”, but I think that’s enough. OK, just one more. I can properly use the word; “antithesis” in a sentence. 

So there’s a little more insight into my writing background. Now for some more of my current quarantine experiences. I’ve been compiling notes since day one of this lockdown. It just took me 6 weeks to be comfortable enough to ignore my children and write them down in the proper format and share them. We’re all friends here. I don’t think anyone is going to call social services on me. I’ll be honest, it’s kind of like Lord of The Flies in my house now sans the conch shell. I stopped micromanaging around late March. Once I accepted the possibility that this pandemic could go on long enough that we might have to start eating each other to survive I implemented a Thunderdomeesque approach to domestic problem-solving. Now, if I hear a child crying in another part of my house, I require much more information before I react. Don’t judge me too quickly though. My children have collectively decided that since I’m the fattest and have only one fully functional leg that I will be the first one on the serving platter with an apple in my mouth. In the meantime, I will continue to rub them down with bbq sauce and make them watch nature videos. It’s the only way I can stave off full-scale anarchy. 

Much to the dismay of my family, I was not amongst the front line hoarders of toilet paper. Be it my lack of preparedness, my selflessness, or another reason altogether. I failed to stockpile like so many others. I did not purchase enough turd tickets to mummify my entire family in the event the quarantine carried on indefinitely. Subsequently, there are families of 1, 2, or 3 people across the country sitting on enough bales of Charmin to build an impenetrable fortress. While my family of 6 at least one of whom has some pretty serious GI issues have been cheek swiping with coffee filters for 3 weeks. I’m pretty sure Mr. Whipple is spinning in his grave right now. If I’m really lucky and time it just right, I can occasionally score a four-pack of Scott. Which is approximately one micron north of cheesecloth. It will do in (or after) a pinch though. I can only assume that under the current circumstances they’ve rerouted their supply normally allocated for Guantanamo Bay. I find it fascinating that printed on the packaging they boast 4,000 sheets per roll. Like that’s a freakin selling point. Yet they are the exact same dimensions as rolls from other brands. If you want to find your product on the spindle next to my crap-a-lounger, tell me there are only 200 sheets per roll. Play to my sensitivities. I’m too old to be frugal when it pertains to butt comfort. But as you front liners have been taking weekly inventory of your sh@t scrolls, I am not completely without foresight. I’m nothing if not adaptable. If, Heaven forbid there comes a second wave, I have been loading up on improvisational dookie dockets. So don’t bother searching for baby wipes, paper towels, or coffee filters as I’ve cornered the market. And the day corn on the cob comes into season, I will fill the recently constructed silo in my back yard. 

I think that’s about enough for today. I’ll be back again soon. Thanks for playing along. 

Syd Nichols