What the Heck Have I Been Doing?

Paul E. Fallon
3 min readJun 10, 2020

There’s a point in Marc Maron’s Netflix Comedy Special, ‘End Times Fun,’ when Marc (middle-aged white guy, sorta tall, skinny, bearded, salt and pepper scruff; basically me with quicker retort time) iterates the troubles of our era and then bemoans, “So, what have I been doing? I’ve been working on my core.” Which pretty much describes me for the last year. Until the pandemic shuttered my gym. Now even my core resembles a spongey mushroom.

Since I signed off my blog, and allowed a summer hiatus to blossom into a year of silence, I wrote the first draft of a novel; a satisfying form of navel gazing (though the novel’s focus is actually a little lower on the torso). I became eligible for Medicare. I fiddled with my estate plan. I went to the gym — a lot. I interlocked many an online jigsaw puzzle. I became an expert strategist at Spider Solitaire.

Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t do anything bad. No criminal behavior, hardly any white male rage against annoying people. I get that my problems aren’t significant, even if they’re real to me. They’re the only problems I’ve got. I did my volunteer gigs. I voted. I considered myself a solid citizen. But in reality, I was numbed into being a complacent one.

Through the pandemic I’ve told folks — at a social distance, of course — that my life’s changed less than anyone I know. I ratcheted up my volunteer time at the hospital and food bank to maintain a sense of purpose and provide direction for my 10,000 steps a day. True sequesterians consider that foolish, but I’ve assessed the risks and decided to pursue these legitimate excuses to be out and about. Besides, Mount Auburn Hospital and Food 4 Free both seem safer places than the aisles of my local super market.

What took longer to comprehend was that my life had changed less than others because I’d already pulled into myself well before coronavirus required we all hunker down. My curiosity meter had gone into sleep mode. An official senior citizen in a world gone batty, I was bummed that my generation failed so heinously, but content to leave repairs to the next.

Until the dichotomy of needing to stay indoors for personal safety crashed against the imperative to be out in the streets and shout against the bastards running this sorry excuse for a nation, and I finally woke up. I…

Paul E. Fallon

Seeking balance in a world of opposing tension