Dave Barry: “So we were hunkered in our home and my daughter suggested that maybe we could do a jigsaw puzzle.”

From the Miami Herald:

By Dave Barry

There was a time when going to Target did not feel like a daring and dangerous mission. That time, of course, was long ago, by which I mean last week. The good old days!

It’s different now. Now we are hunkering in our homes and keeping our social distance. We are also trying not to panic, which is difficult because every 14 seconds some health authority reminds us that this thing is going to get worse before it gets better and we don’t really know WHEN it will get better so for now you need to use common sense and remain calm and not panic and just REMAIN CALM BECAUSE THERE IS NO REASON TO PANIC even though we have ABSOLUTELY NO IDEA WHAT IS GOING TO HAPPEN and …

… and so on. So we were hunkered in our home, trying to figure out what to do besides wash our hands and not panic, and my daughter—whose return to college, like everything else, has been postponed—suggested that maybe we could do a jigsaw puzzle.

We didn’t have any jigsaw puzzles at home, so I, not really thinking it through, said, OK, I’ll go to Target and get one.

My wife looked at me as though I had volunteered to fight a bear.

”Really?” she said.

”I’ll be careful,” I said.

And so, armed with a small bottle of hand sanitizer (current retail value $17,000) I got in my car and set out for the Target store. Perhaps you are familiar with the TV series “The Walking Dead,” in which survivors of a worldwide plague of flesh-eating zombies must forage for supplies in a bleak post-apocalyptic landscape, constantly risking infection and death. This is how I felt, driving to Target. I tried to distract myself by listening to the radio, but this is what the radio sounds like now: “Coronavirus! Coronavirus! Coronavirus! After these messages, we’ll have more coronavirus!”

When I got to the Target store I kept at least six feet away from the other shoppers, which was easy because they were staying at least six feet away from me. Everyone was like: “I’M not a zombie. YOU’RE a zombie.”

The good news was Target had plenty of jigsaw puzzles. The panic-buying of jigsaw puzzles has not yet begun, unlike the situation with toilet paper, which is gone everywhere, thanks to the comprehension skills of the American public. . . .

Anyway, I selected two jigsaw puzzles and paid for them without touching anybody. Then I sanitized my hands and drove home while trying not to touch my face, which let’s face it is not humanly possible.

So now in my house we’re passing the time between hand-washings by working on one of the puzzles. It’s a big one, 1,000 pieces, and we’ve only just started, so it’s still a confusing mess. We don’t exactly know what to do, and we don’t know how long it will take. But we’re going to stay with it, working together, not panicking, and in time we will solve it. And yes, this is a metaphor.

Note: The Miami Herald and McClatchy news sites have lifted the paywall on our websites for this developing story, providing critical information to readers. To support vital reporting such as this, please consider a digital subscription.

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