COVID-19 No. 17: Being Able to Spot a ‘That Guy’ Has Never Been More Important

WHEN YOU’VE BEEN CONFINED to your house for six weeks, you take your victories where you can get ’em.

We’re bingeing our way through Veronica Mars, having plowed through the original three seasons, which aired in the mid-2000s, the Kickstarter-funded film from 2014, and a handful of episodes of the relaunched series, which began last year. Kristen Bell, Enrico Colantoni, and Jason Dohring reprise their roles as Veronica, her father, and her boyfriend, respectively, and with the exception of Doering’s leaner, ripped physique, the three look largely unchanged from a dozen or so years ago. Some of the regulars from those first three seasons are popping up here and there, too, and are also easily recognizable.

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In the episode we watched the other night, Veronica met with a new character. He was completely unremarkable, a “Guy No. 2” in the credits, until he began speaking and a growing familiarity took hold in me.

I don’t know if it’s like this with your family and friends, but among my set, the bragging rights conferred by being the first to spot a relatively obscure actor in a new setting are exquisite.

“Pause!” I said. “PAUSE! It’s that guy!”

Q. grabbed the remote and hit the button, and the screen froze. Isn’t that, I asked, the [name of a tertiary character who had appeared in maybe a third of the episodes from season 3]? He was hardly recognizable. In the ensuing decade-plus, he had gained a fair amount of weight (no judgy!) and gotten a hell of a lot shaggier. But I spotted him! And when I mentioned the character’s name, my family lauded me as if I were Nick Foles after the Philly Special.

When I came down the next morning, I told Mrs. D, “I still can’t believe I was able to pick out [the character’s name] from the show last night.”

“You’re still riding that?” she said — completely correctly. “That’s what we’re celebrating these days?”

Okay, point taken. My exultation may have been disproportionate to my announcement. Still, six weeks into isolation, yup, that’s what we’re celebrating. A win is a win, even if it’s utterly meaningless. | DL

COVID No. 7: I Keep Using the Word ‘Normal’ …

HERE’S MY PRIMARY TAKEAWAY after a week of all this:

Whatever you can do that safely, responsibly reflects your prior coronavirus activities, do it. Do it often, do it eagerly, do it with intention.

That’s what gonna keep us sane and ready to pick up when the risk is behind us.

Yesterday, that meant a walk, a nap, and a visit with dear friends/family, with whom we observed appropriate social-distancing guidelines while we sat on their patio, luxuriated in the early-spring late-afternoon sun, had a few drinks, and laughed our asses off. It meant ordering takeout pizza, stromboli, cheesesteaks, and fries from our favorite local shop, watching Veronica Mars reruns while we ate, and playing Balderdash to finish the night.

Today it meant finishing an intriguing, thoughtful novel, catching up on some work, taking another nap, and cooking dinner.

It was all, once I yanked my head out of Twitter and news sites and such, delightfully normal. And normal is our friend, now more than ever. Normal will help see us through this, help us to realize that there is a lot more under our control than we might think. This is no small thing.

Control what you can, let the rest go, be kind, compassionate, forgiving, generous, and understanding, and we will get through this. I don’t know what waits for us on the other side, but that’s of little concern now. Focus on today. Focus on what matters. | DL