Saturday, June 13, 2020

Watch Out for the ‘Quarantine Fifteen’

An interesting phenomenon of the Covid-19 health crisis is the “Quarantine Fifteen,” the 15 extra pounds many people have gained since early March. If you do a Google Image search for the phrase “Quarantine snacks memes,” you’ll see that some very witty folks online have way too much free time on their Cheeto-stained hands.
When a person’s regular routine is disrupted, it causes stress. The regular routines of countless millions of people were not just disrupted a few months ago, they were turned upside-down. As a result, our society is pushing the needle on the stress meter way past the red line.
I’ve been told that some people react to stress by tensing up and losing their appetites. I’ve never actually met anyone like this. Other folks, who I have met, react to stress by mindlessly shoveling chocolate covered tater tots into their faces, only stopping when their arms get too tired. Or maybe those were peanut butter covered Oreos. Either option works fine for me, because I am — surprise, surprise — a member of this particular group.
To give you an idea, when public events were suddenly cancelled back in March, I heard a report on the radio that items such as toilet paper and canned goods were disappearing from store shelves. My first thought was, “Oh, that’s silly. I’m sure people aren’t panicking and hoarding supplies just because we have to keep our distance from each other for a while.”
Out of curiosity, I stopped by a Walmart on the way to work the next morning to see for myself. The paper goods aisle was stripped completely bare, and in the can goods aisle, the only item that remained was one small, dented can of tomato paste. As I stood there, I could feel anxiety welling up within me. “Uh oh,” I thought, “Maybe this is a real crisis.”
I walked to the next aisle and noticed there was no shortage of snack foods. So, I grabbed a party-sized bag of Fritos, two packages of Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, and a jumbo box of Pop Tarts the size of a small microwave. I stored these items in my file cabinets at work, and every time I heard a disturbing news report on the radio about infection rates and death tolls, I quickly reached for a little emotional comfort. (Hey, at least it wasn’t vodka, right?)
In honor of the Quarantine Fifteen, I composed a song parody. With apologies to music legend Bob Dylan, you can sing this to the tune of “Blowin’ in the Wind.”
How many pounds must a man put on
Before his pants will not fit?
How many snacks can he eat at one time
Before his heart wants to quit?
Yes’n how many carbs will it takes till he knows
Stress-eating has no benefit?
The answer, it seems, is quarantine fifteen
The answer is quarantine fifteen.
Yes’n how many months will this shutdown go on
Before all your arteries clog?
Yes’n how many days have you been in your house
Your brain function turning to fog?
Yes’n how many times can you binge-watch TV
Before you look just like a hog?
The answer, it seems, is quarantine fifteen
The answer is quarantine fifteen.
Yes’n how many times can you crawl into bed
With Fritos, some wine, and a pie?
Yes’n how many Zoom meetings can you endure
Before you break down and cry?
Yes’n how many times can you stand on the scale
And hear it say, “One at a time”?
The answer, it seems, is quarantine fifteen
The answer is quarantine fifteen.

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