Another day where I’m too depressed to blog much about politics. 3 things from Tuesday made me want a blindfold and a cigarette: 1, Betsy DeVos was confirmed as Secretary of Education, when I wouldn’t hire her to be a secretary at Dunkin’ Donuts; 2, Mitch McConnell and his GOP colleagues in the Senate wouldn’t let Elizabeth Warren read a letter from Coretta Scott King criticizing soon-to-be- Attorney General Jeff Sessions because, well, because they’re assholes. 3, The first few paragraphs of this story have me packing for Toronto, immediately. I mean, if this were a movie script it’d be laughed out of Hollywood.
Like millions of Americans, I mostly work from home.
Sure it’s true that my primary boss these days is 29 months old and told us the other day he’d like to have lunch in his crib (it was 6:45 a.m when he said it). But even before he came along and I was a freelance writer most of the time, working from you live can be quite the rewarding experience. Freedom to wear what you want! Freedom to let potato chip crumbs sit on your sweatshirt for hours at a time! 45-minute “quick work breaks” to watch the third period of that crucially important Rangers-Vancouver Game 7 from 1994 that you’ve only seen 32 times.
But working from home can also be … a little weird. And lonely. And drive you insane.
Fortunately, a hilarious new story in The New Yorker by Colin Nissan explains to the rest of you what working from home is like. Seriously, this is fantastic. An excerpt:
911 OPERATOR: 911—what’s your emergency?
ROBERT: Hi, I . . . uh . . . I work from home.
OPERATOR: O.K., is anyone else there with you, sir?
ROBERT: No, I’m alone.
OPERATOR: And when’s the last time you saw someone else? Was that today?
ROBERT: Uh, my wife . . . this morning, I guess.
OPERATOR: Anyone else?
ROBERT: I don’t think so. Well, the mailman, but that was through the blinds. I don’t know if that counts.
OPERATOR: I’m afraid not. (Pause.) I’m going to ask you to open the blinds, O.K.? Let’s go ahead and let some light in.
ROBERT: How much light??
OPERATOR: Just a little is fine.
ROBERT: O.K. (Pause.) I did it. (Pause.) It’s bright. It feels so bright on my face.
OPERATOR: That’s good. That’s how it’s supposed to feel. (Pause.) I need you to tell me what you’re wearing, O.K.?
ROBERT: You know . . . just regular clothes.
OPERATOR: Outside clothes or inside clothes?
ROBERT: Hold on, I’ll check. (Pause.) Pajamas. I’m wearing my pajamas. I could swear I’d changed into regular . . . I thought these were jeans!
OPERATOR: It’s O.K., sir. Calm down.
ROBERT: Wait, this isn’t even a shirt. It’s just my skin! Goddammit.
**Next up today, in all the insanity of the way the Super Bowl ended, I forgot to mention, as one of the commercials I really liked, the 84 Lumber spot about a mother and daughter’s long journey toward freedom.
Well, as good as the Super Bowl ad was, the full version of the commercial is even better. Check out this awesomeness above.
**Finally today, I’ve been quite derelict in pointing out great writing on the blog lately; it’s not that I’m not reading good stuff anymore, it’s more that I’m just forgetting to blog about it.
But two pieces I’ve read in the past two weeks have been just really exceptional. First, Jeanne Marie Laskas of the New York Times Magazine spent a few months in a place readers never get to see: The room at the White House where every letter sent to the President gets sorted and responded to, and she meets the people who decide which 10 letters per day the President reads (they get sorted by categories and topic; those are some of the categories in the photo above)
This is outstanding reporting and beautiful writing, and by the end, you feel the pain and the joy of these fresh-faced employees completely.
The second piece is a tribute written by a protege to his mentor. When Mike Sielski was a young aspiring sportswriter two decades ago, one of his heroes, the Philadelphia Inquirer’s Bill Lyon, extended kindness after kindness. Lyon is a legend in sportswriting, someone I looked up to and read for years and used as an inspiration, and I always had heard he was a mensch as well.
Lyon is sadly stricken with Alzheimer’s now, but he was being honored in Philly on Wednesday, which is why Sielski wrote this phenomenal, heartfelt piece about a truly heroic man. Read it and learn how much small gestures can mean.