Apr 29, 2020

Confessions of an Ersatz Eremite

Fifteen discussion points to help pass the time

By Ed Goldman
When I tell people I’ve been in relative self-isolation since 1984, it doesn’t mean I haven’t seen my brother or cousins in the past 36 years. It just means that as a fulltime writer, my work has required solitude

Being a hermit had been a choice for me—not a national, state or city edict, depending on which branch of government you believe has the power to send us to our rooms. 

I do miss the chance to go out to lunch, dinner or drinks with friends. In addition, throughout my career, 95 percent of my interviews have been conducted in person—never by Skype, Facetime, Zoom or telepathy. To recap, I miss people. I guess this makes me a somewhat ersatz eremite.

Here are some not terribly useful observations I’ve made during this extended period of house arrest, which you may want to discuss over and over to make more time pass: 

1. If you let your laundry basket get too full you’ll soon be smeltering in place.

2. If we can’t get to a river or ocean this summer, we can plan on sweltering in place.

3. If you live with someone who tends to ignore your fastidiousness, and you label all of “your” food in the cupboard, you’re shelf-isolating.

4. When you run out of your favorite deli food you may be experiencing a lox-down.

5. If you adamantly avoid talking to your CPA during this period, you may be said to be fiscal distancing.

Kim and Ed at Sacramento’s Waterboy restaurant, prior to their SoCal distancing




6. My beloved Kim lives in Long Beach, I live in Sacramento. To keep us both safe, we’re practicing SoCal distancing.

 7. I’m predicting a complete return to paper currency before this pandemic ends—with the highest denomination being two-ply.

8. Accordingly, if I were in R&D at Charmin right now, I’d be trying to invent and speed to market a three-ply toilet tissue. It may not be that much more effective, but neither would Gillette’s introducing a Trac-III razor.

9. Those of you drawn to streaming porn during these difficult months are smut-ins.

10. No, the WHO isn’t the same group who created the rock opera “Tommy.” They’re The Who. Key way to remember the difference: The president doesn’t want to dismantle The Who. WHO’s whom he does. (English teachers: I know that word should have been “what” instead of “whom.” And that you’d have preferred the end quote of the previous sentence appearing before the period. What can I tell you? I’m going stir-lazy.)

11. Facebook addicts: Trend on social media, if you must. But please don’t go viral.

12. If this entire situation confuses you, you’re weltering in place.




13. About all of the cries to “re-open the markets:” Didn’t this whole thing get started in open markets? Where they sold mm-mm-good fresh, free-range bats?

14. Because bats have been named as the source of this global tragedy, I’ve heard that Batman is considering a name change. I’d avoid SwineFluman, AsiaticFluman or UpperRespiratoryInfectionman.

15. Why cancel any social events? Just make them all masked balls.

Ed Goldman's column appears almost every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. A former daily columnist for the Sacramento Business Journal, as well as monthly columnist for Sacramento Magazine and Comstock’s Business Magazine, he’s the author of five books, two plays and one musical (so far).