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Joe Hoover, S.J.May 11, 2023
Photo from iStock.

My Corona Diary, by Thomas Carthusia

In the spring of 2020, as the pandemic continued to lash us with its silent poisons, I found myself reflexively writing a story about a complicated young man with a perhaps delusional spirituality. For me, “My Corona Diary, by Thomas Carthusia” seemed to be a nearly automatic response to what was happening out there. In a time of human disaster, some people start making tourniquets; others start making stories.

I wrote the tale of stubborn, devout and clueless Thomas (who possibly has an America subscription), below, perhaps as the only way I knew how to combat this crisis. Over the past three years, we all found ways (at least now and again, no?) to smile and laugh throughout this unreal, once-in-a-lifetime event. Writing this marginally insane diary was a reminder to me that, no matter what disasters strike us, and no matter what destruction they wreak, we can at least find ways to diminish their soul-destroying power. We can at least laugh.

Day 3. Starting to get restless. My mom keeps calling. I keep telling her I’m not sick. She keeps saying she can tell my forehead is hot over the phone. I don’t buy it. Put my wrist to my forehead for the 16th time in 16 minutes anyway.

Day 6. I want to be outside. I am doing push-ups in my room. Reading Infinite Jest. All 900 pages.No, for real, I am! It is very spiritual. David Foster Wallace was clearly influenced by Catholic writers, like Graham Greene and Flannery O’Connor and Jean-Paul Sartre and the Pixar guys.

Day 8. This is what it must be like to be a monk. Or a nun. Or a pro baseball relief pitcher who never gets called in from the dugout. Or a monk, again. We have a lot to learn from monks. Monks are by themselves a lot and pray and are lonely and depressed all the time, but they’re with God so they don’t mind.

Day 12. Andrew Cuomo is like the fourth part of the Trinity, I swear to you. Poetic line. Good line. Out of gum. Non-essential. Roommates loud. But then quiet. Midnight. Probably sleeping, thus quiet. I want to take up knitting. No needles. Use tuning forks?

Day 17. Coronavirus is like the Holy Spirit bringing down death and destruction…. No, wait, don’t use that…. Coronavirus is like a giraffe that gallops in the forest and then…. Where is this analogy going? Stop! Coronavirus is a virus that is happening here and other places and it does things people don’t like. (Spiritual insight into something.)

Day 23. I want to go to Mass, like real Mass, not on a screen. Why all the screens? Society is so addicted to screens; parents need to limit their kids’ screen time; as a culture we are too much on screens. First time this observation has been made??? Alert NYTimes and other sober journalistic outfits. Maybe an op-ed. Dad impressed at last! Life fulfilled.

In a time of human disaster, some people start making tourniquets; others start making stories.

Day 25. Went shopping with mask for first time. Used red bandana. Felt like kid dressing up as a bandit on Halloween. Threw a tantrum in the juice aisle. Mom called and told me to stop it this minute. (How did she know???) I stopped it that minute. Felt my forehead. I think I have corona. Should not have gone down to that beach in Florida all the college kids were at. Hah! Just joking. Didn’t go to that packed beach in Florida. Went to a different packed beach in Florida.

Day 26. I don’t have corona. Administered a self-test with a tongue depressor and some Tic Tacs. Infinite Jest is slow going. Burning it for fire to keep warm. Hah, just kidding. It is spring and warm outside. I am burning it because I hate it.

Day 27. Spiritual insight: Just realized the meaning of the phrase “God is love.”

Day 28. It means that when you love someone, you are like God. So you can tell them to do whatever you want and they can’t say anything.

Day 29. Day 27 insight being put to test with roommates with limited success.

Day 31. Day 27 insight a complete failure. My Popularity Index/Q Rating taking a nosedive in my apartment. Roommates joining the #FireFauci movement to get quarantine lifted and me out. And they are all Democrats! I mean, Hypocratsis more like it.

Day 33. Tried to hug it out with my roommates. Whoops!

Day 36. I just noticed I have no curtains on my windows. Oh, sh—.

Day 38. So this is what it must be like to be in the less fun part of Purgatory.

Day 40. Ending this diary. Not sure if it is helping me—or any of my roommates I constantly read it out loud to. Maybe I’ll take up graffiti instead. The guys (the world!) will surely be thrilled I am finding new ways to express myself! Will practice in kitchen.

More: Covid-19

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