THE ULTIMATE TO-DO LIST
Watching Contagion, Pandemic and Tom Hanks movies forbidden
Things I have promised myself I will do once this is all over:
1 I will stop screaming “Get away from me! Do you have a death wish?” at complete strangers.
2 I will stop washing boxes of cereal.
3 I will walk down a narrow grocery aisle without wondering if another shopper will be coming in the opposite direction, and then having that weird moment of eye contact with them as if we were driving down a one-lane street and looking at each other through our windshields and wondering who was going to give way first.
4 I will stop giving way first.
5 I will never try to turn a doorknob while wearing mittens, because it’s like unscrewing a bottle top while your hands are wet with soap. Which is what I always have on my hands when I’m not wearing mittens.
6 I will stop triangulating the safest route down a street when there are more than two people walking down it, and will stop walking sideways down that street as if squeezing through a narrow cave opening.
7 I will stop looking at surfaces — any surface, really, like that banana, that piece of driftwood over there on the beach, my wife — and wondering, “Touch it, or not?”
8 I will pick my nose.
9 I will stop wondering, “Should I buy a gun?” Instead, I’ll just buy a gun.
10 I will not watch Contagion or Pandemic on Netflix. Or any movie starring Tom Hanks.
11 That frozen bag of tomatoes that has been in the freezer since 1996 I was keeping just in case society breaks down completely and the virus mutates and the neighbours begin looking at me as a source of protein? I’m throwing it out.
12 I will stop looking at coffee grounds and wondering if they have any nutritional value.
13 I will stop doing all those chores around the house that I promised myself I would do when I had the time, and then actually did once I started self-isolating. In the future, the gutters can go to hell.
14 I’ll stop promising myself that I will read all the classics that I had always meant to read one day. Instead, I won’t read them.
15 I will stop drinking regularly to relieve the stress, and start drinking regularly to get a buzz on, and then only after breakfast.
16 I will forever look upon a grocery store clerk as the hero I now know him to be, though I will still ask him in what aisle I can find the Preparation H.
17 After having done so a couple hundred times, I will stop scolding my wife for handling something without wearing gloves, because, despite what she thinks, I am not a “virus Nazi” and would she please put down that knife or at least put some gloves on while she considers using it.
18 I will stop walking around the house in just my underwear, but, once it’s safe to do so, walk around outside in just my underwear.
19 I will eat New York-style cheesecake. In New York.
20 I will hug my grandchildren. Up and to that point their ribs break.
21 You know that famous painting from Norway, the one where the guy has his hands on his face and his mouth is open in a scream? I’m going to do that in the future, I mean put my hands all over my face without screaming when I realize I wasn’t wearing my mittens.
22 After the pandemic passes, and I am filled with a renewed purpose in life because of the new-found sense of mortality the virus impressed upon me, and I decide to go to medical school to help the sick and ailing, and I graduate from medical school summa cum laude, and I go on to become a world-famous neurosurgeon, and I am told just before entering the operating room one day that I am about to operate on the brain of a scientist who had just figured out in his head a cure for cancer and an antidote to all future viruses, not to mention the equation that will make lightspeed travel possible, but who had forgotten all that when he bumped his by falling off a ladder when he was cleaning his gutters because he had nothing else to do when he was self-isolating, and that the delicate brain surgery I am about to perform will not only save his life but restore his memory so that he can remember the cure for cancer and the antidote for all future viruses, not to mention the equation for lightspeed travel, I don’t care, I’m still not washing my hands beforehand.
23 I will forget any of this ever happened, until you know, next time.