Here we are, burrowed deep into week four of what McSweeney’s calls “living among the mole people.”
I don’t know about you, but those in my family do all we can to avoid making eye contact at this point. Even the dog is saying, “Thanks, but I’ll walk myself.” I’ve already watched The Tiger King. While it did make me feel better about myself for about 11 minutes, I am kind of over the TV thing. You can’t even watch live sporting events. The best you can do is bet on when you might get to watch sports again. In one of life’s more pathetic moments, my weekly Zoom meeting (of eight friends who have known each other since junior high!) was so bored, we started placing bets on what day we will be let out of captivity.
Thus, when I’m not working I am filling my day by seeking out plague-related articles that amuse me. My research has turned up these gems:
- Astrophysicist gets four magnets stuck up his nose while trying to create coronavirus-related device
- Beverly Hills police find 192 rolls of toilet paper inside stolen SUV
Reality, stranger than fiction (see, Tiger King).
We have tried playing some board games, and that’s fun, but I realized my life has become one big game of Clue, where everything happens inside the same house. We could, I suppose, play “Guess What US Regulation Will Be Suspended Next!” or whip out an old copy of “Where in the World is Carmen San Diego?,” but I fear the answer will always be, “She is at home you idiot, pass the ice cream.” We have also tried our own version of living room Olympics, but we had to stop after cat-vaulting went terribly wrong.
My other pastime is cursing out Comcast and AT&T. I am pretty sure that, after pestilence, boils, and locusts, the worst plagues are weak WiFi and crappy cell coverage.
On the other hand, I have been thinking up tons of new start-up ideas that are perfectly suited to the current situation. I mean, seriously, if you can’t look for the financially lucrative silver-lining, you may as well go outside and start licking grocery store shelves (it’s easier to access them in the paper goods aisle since those shelves are empty). Here are my most entrepreneurial ideas so far. If you decide to start any of these businesses, I want founders’ shares and an appropriately emblazoned fleece vest.
- Zoom Avatars: Ironic Zoom backgrounds are nice (mine is currently Matzo in honor of Passover – perfect for times of plague), but wouldn’t you rather have an avatar that represents your best self, free of wrinkles, without bags under the eyes, tall, slim and dressed in fashionable clothes rather than unwashed pajamas? I think we should be able to download a new and improved version of ourselves just like we download ringtones. You’re welcome.
- Bespoke Face Masks: Come on people, this is Halloween in April! Let’s get some festive face masks going here. You can be Chucky from Child’s Play or Michael Myers from Halloween, or you could be your favorite Disney Princess or Superhero. I would pay some cold hard cash for a badass Valkyrie face mask.
- Self-Cleaning Black Leggings – if you’re an American female and stuck at home, you are wearing black leggings. I don’t have to see you to know I am right. Isn’t it a hassle to have to take put them on and take them off and wash them and all that? Wouldn’t it be nice if they had a self-cleaning mode so they could become fresh and renewed when you are napping on the couch? Just think of the time you would save if you never had to take them off, and yet they maintained their “I’m still trying” look. This is a multi-billion-dollar idea, trust me.
- Clorox Cellar – Someone needs to start a service to re-purpose your fancy wine cellar into a place to hoard and store Clorox and Lysol bottles for the next apocalypse. For an extra fee, you can get the fancy refrigerated wipe storage section. And you won’t need a place to store the wine anymore because you drank it all.
- Social Distance Hoop Skirts – Yes, they are a bit old-fashioned, but everything comes back into style! If you can create a big enough hoop skirt (say 6 feet across), you won’t have to think very hard about how to stay away from people when you sashay down the street for your dog’s evening constitutional. You could go full plastic bubble, but it’s hard to shop for paper goods when you’re inside the hamster ball (not that you’ll find any paper goods anyway).
- Blockchain – Just kidding!
All great ideas, you might say, but what’s the business model? Clearly, we have moved beyond bitcoin to a society where everything can be bought and sold using toilet paper as currency. Toilet paper hedge funds will be the investment opportunity of the future. When you see people walking down the street in super upscale hoop skirts and Gucci face masks, and your children ask, “Why are they so fancy?” you can knowingly tell them how the neighbors made a killing through TP arbitrage.
You might be asking, “Is it right to profit from the plague?” But you’re asking the wrong person. “Of course!” says the venture capitalist! Plagues are our most favorite accelerators! I’ll be standing by to read your pitches. I’ve just raised a huge new and vastly oversubscribed fund of toilet paper and I’m ready to deal.