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Fitz's Opinion: Covid diary account of a cartoonist's week of shots, books and change
editor's pick

Fitz's Opinion: Covid diary account of a cartoonist's week of shots, books and change

The following column is the opinion and analysis of the writer:

SUNDAY

Watching CPAC so my readers won’t have to. Hm. Odd. Entire conference only lasts an hour.

My mistake.

Ellen tells me I’m watching a CPAP infomercial.

Thanks, Ellen.

I channel-surf and find the actual CPAC fun fest. I gasp in shock and disgust so often I’m short of breath. I channel-surf back to the looping CPAP infomercial and order a CPAP.

MONDAY

To break the monotony, Ellen and I try COVID games like “Find the Mask,” “Socially Distanced Tag” and “Count to 500,0000.” Bored, I clean the oven with a Q-tip.

Been way too sedentary and gluttonous during this stressful time. Learned a hummingbird’s heart beats 6,000 times a minute. That is almost as fast as my heart beats whenever I bend over to pick up the Uber Eats delivery left on my porch.

Ellen butters me so I can squeeze through the front door.

TUESDAY

I visit the Arizona Daily Star building on South Park for the last time. We’re Zooming these days and moving to better digs.

Inside the giant building, which I always thought resembled a concrete fortress, it’s dark and silent save for friendly ghosts. Is that a whiff of Jack Sheaffer’s cigar smoke in the old photo lab? Am I imagining the faint whisper of wire machines and typewriters clack-clack-clacking away in the shadows? So many years, so many ghosts.

I say goodbye to our beloved printing press, a leviathan of cogs, rolls and ink wells, a dinosaur felled by an asteroid called The Internet. In the dark I yell “Stop the presses!”

Always wanted to do that.

I find the 35,000-year-old cafeteria table where I was informed I was hired. Pre-Columbian, I think. Smithsonian-bound.

I like our new offices. In the heart of town, downtown, along the Santa Cruz. Always thought South Park looked like the kind of bunker you’d find on a cliff overlooking the beaches of Normandy.

One last gaze out my old office window at the parking lot where I often enjoyed seeing furious readers with torches, catapults and pitchforks.

WEDNESDAY

Vaccination appointment day! As I turn into the UA pod, I’m listening to KXCI on my radio. Buck Owens is singing a perfect anthem for this moment:

“Oh the sun’s gonna shine, in my life once more. ... No more loneliness, only happiness ...”

Heck yeah. I thank the traffic cones. I thank the flashing signs. I thank every volunteer I see. I thank a volunteer directing traffic with the calm grace of an air traffic controller. “Keep moving, sir.”

I thank the volunteer about to give me my shot. He says, “Don’t thank me. First time I’ve ever done this.” A comedian! Thank you, comedian. “Can I keep the needle in my arm as a keepsake?”

“Keep moving, sir.”

I think of all those in our town still waiting for their turn. Before driving out I ask an older volunteer why he’s doing it. “Like I tell my kids. Served my country once. It’s a chance to serve again.” I choke up. What Americans can do when we’re motivated. “Can I give you a big kiss? “

“Keep moving, sir.”

THURSDAY

Daughter keeps us up on the grandkids with a weekly digest app called “Qeepsake.” Qeepsake asks her quirky questions daily about the kids and every week I get her answers, her stories, her videos and pics of the beasties.

I want a version of Qeepsake for grandparents.

Qeepsake: “Did you take a funny picture of grandma this week?”

“I did. Grandma stubbed her toe and cursed.”

Qeepsake: “What did Grandpa learn today?”

“Not to take ‘funny’ pictures of Nana Ellen.”

FRIDAY

Ellen and I watch “Antiques Roadshow.” Weary of me ridiculing her favorite show, she spikes my punch. I wake up bound and gagged like Bobby Seale at the Chicago 7 trial, forced to watch a “Roadshow” repeat featuring a visit to Tucson.

Gives me a column idea. “I was antiquing at the Tortolita Swap Meet. I said, ‘Holy jalapeños!’ I ain’t never seen a javelina head mounted like a trophy before. Especially missing a glass eye. And a fang.”

“On the open marketplace this fine object could fetch $12.95!”

“Well, shut my door, buck my bronco and refry my beans!”

SATURDAY

Today’s the big day. The Tucson Virtual Festival of Books. Check it out. https://tucsonfestivalofbooks.org

I can’t wait to watch 165 amazing authors unmute themselves — with 27% unsure how to do it. I got my feet up, kettle corn’s in the microwave and an infinite margaritas flowing nearby.

This is great.

No crowds.

No endless walking.

No lines.

No sunburn.

No bag of books to haul.

If I want a book, I’m burning Bezos the bookstore killer, by ordering mine from the UA bookstores:

https://shop.arizona.edu/tfob

I lift my margarita to toast TFOB 2021. Viva Tucson! And the first presenting author online who says, “I’m not a cat.”

David Fitzsimmons: tooner@tucson.com.


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