Nudge, Nudge: How to stave off boredom during the pandemic

At this point you’re no doubt thinking, “Hey, is this stupid COVID 19 pandemic going to last forever?”

The good news is — no! One day you’ll get that vaccine. I promise. Then we can all return to worrying about the regular stuff: global warming, Mitch McConnell’s endless propensity for hypocrisy and whether “Sponge Bob Visits the Corn Maze” was really the best pattern choice for those new lounging pajamas.

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In the meantime you’re probably running out of stuff to do in the house. Gin rickey parties via Zoom have lost their allure. Knitting Fair Isle vests for your nephew’s Doberman isn’t quite as rewarding as it once was. And your Netflix viewing has gone from “I watch only Academy Award-nominated movies” to “this three-hour documentary about Nicolas Cage isn’t really so bad.”

Don’t worry. Why, just a few months ago COVID cabin fever affected me so badly, I found myself aimlessly following my wife from room to room asking “So what are you doing now?” and pointing to my mouth hours before suppertime. The fact our fat pug dog always followed made this the saddest little parade in town.

Things are much better now. That’s because I’ve found some sure-fire methods (all true!) to stave off boredom. Follow my lead and you’ll be saying “COVID schmovid” in no time.

Sweater Depiller: Do you know what a depiller is? I didn’t either. A depiller is a gadget that slices round fuzzy bits off your sweaters. Now I own one and my life is so much happier. I removed a bumper crop of pills off my cardigan and felt a renewed sense of life purpose.

“Hey,” I said to my wife. “Do you need anything depilled? This thing works great.”

“Not really,” she said.

“OK,” I said. “Just let me know though. Because, you know, I’ve got this depiller.”

So far I haven’t found anything else to depill. But if something comes up, by God I’m ready.

These actual quotes from Amazon product reviews reflect what sheer joy a depiller can provide: “Just got it last night and spent hours defuzzing everything in the house!” “I can’t stop depilling!” “Motor died after first use.”

Christmas stocking restoration: When I was five my mother made my brother and me Christmas stockings cut from red felt. For reasons I don’t particularly want to go into, I still own mine. Anyway, in mid-December I noticed my stocking had fallen into poor repair. One of the jingle bells had disappeared. The rick rack trim was badly mottled and some of the glued-on gold flecks had fallen off.

A trip to Michael’s remedied that. The cashier said, “Got a project going, eh?”

“And how,” I replied. “I’m restoring the Christmas stocking my mother made me half a century ago!”

“Are you kidding?”

“Not only that, I just bought a depiller. I got quite a bit of fuzz off my sweater.”

“Next,” said the cashier.

“I’ll let you know how that stocking turns out!” I yelled over my shoulder. But she was already onto the next customer.

Shoe repair: Since COVID I’ve started fixing all kinds of things around the house. This despite not being “handy” nor “hammer capable” nor “someone who understands how to repair things on any level.”

Recently I noticed the soles were coming off my Blundstones. I took them to a downtown repair shop and the woman said the boots were far beyond fixing.

With a heavy heart I took them home. Then I thought: “Wait a sec — I can mend these.” I bought something called Shoe Goo and glued the soles back on. Unfortunately my repair lasted only a couple of days and then the soles fell off.

What’s worse, now there’s Shoe Goo all over the floors of the house. But I think I can get some of it off with my depiller.

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