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Like My Friend Franz Kafka, I’ve Got The Best COVID Rules For Joe Biden


As the Greatest Living American Writer, I find it distressing that President-Elect Joe Biden has named Atul Gawande, a staff writer for The New Yorker, to his COVID-19 advisory council. But at least Gawande is also a medical doctor. There’s no excuse for Biden also naming Adam Gopnik, Masha Gessen, and George Saunders to the working group. And I have it on good advice that Jeffrey Toobin was also going to be on the committee, but they yanked him at the last minute.

In particular, I find it offensive that Biden didn’t ask me, especially since he was once the congressional intern for my great-great uncle, T. Gore Pickens Pollack III, who was a giant of the Senate.

I’m an excellent choice for this position. I advised Woodrow Wilson on both the Spanish Flu pandemic and on World War I, to great success, and provided valuable counsel to Lyndon B. Johnson on Hong Kong Flu and the Vietnam War.

Although I don’t have a medical degree, I’ve been to the hospital for many colonic procedures, and held the dying body of my true love, Wally Trumbull, on that beach in Guadalcanal so many years ago. So I believe I’m equally qualified to advise the president-elect, along with Dr. Chris P. Burger, Emmanuel Ezekiel, Dr. Frieda B Unandme, Olaf Q. Ding-Dong from the University of Minnesota School of Public Health, and Professor Leticia Underpants.

As does Gawande, I also have a long history with The New Yorker. I was Bob Gottlieb’s doubles partner for 20 years, and once sat on Harold Ross’s lap at a party while Dorothy Parker delighted us with her Woolcott Gibbs impression. My New Yorker story, “A Short Day In A Small Room With A Baker,” won seven Pushcart Prizes and three Pulitzers.

As for COVID, while I haven’t contracted it because I have herd immunity, my beleaguered manservant Roger caught it in March at Trader Joe’s and suffered terribly. And then a bad case of “long COVID” forced him into only intermittent cleaning and cooking duty.

My Mount Winchester estate has grown quite dusty during these long months of lockdown. A boy from the village must now bring me my beloved Peppermint Joe-Joe’s.

The tragedies compound, and we must stop them. Fortunately, the science is on our side. Here are my proposals:

  • Holidays need to punt away. We must cancel Thanksgiving. We must move Christmas to July 4. We must move July 4 to July 6. We must now hold Valentine’s Day on Labor Day. Chanukah must only be three days long this year, and we need to have it in April.
  • We cannot see our families. We cannot even speak to our families. If we look at pictures of our families, it is dangerous, because that makes us sentimental, and the virus feeds on sentimentality.
  • All sports should be canceled. There must be no more movies, and we can only eat sandwiches on Thursdays. Thursdays must now be Tuesdays, and Tuesdays must now be canceled.
  • We will prohibit all indoors singing and dancing. If you must dance outdoors, do it alone. If you see another person, you must stop dancing immediately. Laughing is prohibited. Smiling is unadvisable.
  • Do not speak to animals, play board games, or play board games with animals.
  • We should follow the lead of New York City and be wary of Jews. All Jews who have had the virus and recovered should wear some sort of symbol, like a gold star. That should help us recognize who is safe and who isn’t safe.
  • Restaurants must close at 10 p.m., except on Wednesdays, when they must close at 9 p.m., and Sundays, when they must close at 3 p.m. but cannot open until 4 p.m. Bars must remain closed unless they are restaurants or political celebrations. If bars serve food, then they are restaurants, and must remain closed.
  • If your child goes to school in a red, orange, yellow, purple, or green zone, school will be online-only, unless the children have special needs, and then there is no school at all. If your child goes to school in a blue zone, there can be online learning from 2 to 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday. If schools are restaurants, they cannot be open unless they serve alcohol, and then they must be closed.
  • There cannot be a Super Bowl if Tom Brady is in it.

If we follow these simple instructions, then we can surely beat back this once-in-a-generation plague. I’m awaiting an email from the Biden transition team. Even if they don’t call, I’m available for corporate consultation at a semi-reasonable fee.

Trust me. I’m an expert.