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COVID19: Veni, vidi, vici


Veni, vidi, vici is a Latin phrase meaning “I came, I saw, I conquered.” The saying is attributed to Julius Caesar, who apparently used it in a letter to the Roman Senate around 47 BC after a swift and convincing victory against Pharnaces II of Pontus at the Battle of Zela. But you already knew that, so let me tell you something you don’t already know.

While the world is rooting for Dr. Fauci and scientists around the world to beat COVID19, I’m waging my own war against the virus. I’m not going to let any corona disrupt my life. While everyone was scrambling to buy toilet paper, I was on Amazon searching for a do-it-yourself apparatus for cutting my own hair. Toilet paper I could recycle, I thought, but there was no way I would set foot in a salon. I knew we were entering not only the corona age, but also the zoom age, and my pre-corona-self needed to look clean and tidy for the onslaught of online meetings at work.

A quick trip to YouTube showed me how to cut my own hair using a razor. As usual, Amazon offered seventy two thousand different types of razors for cutting hair. I picked the one with the quickest delivery time, which was delayed about a week because Amazon drivers were busy delivering seven million toilet paper rolls to all the New Yorkers who came to South Florida to kill us.

For a week I managed to hide my bushy hair during zoom meetings but it was getting so long that curls began to form on my forehead. I had no choice, so as soon as the razor arrived I went again to YouTube to see how to use the Surker Men’s Hair Clippers Cordless Hair Trimmer Haircut & Grooming Kit for Men Beard Trimmer Rechargeable LED Display.

I got two pieces of good advice. First, I learned that the length of the plastic attachment guards refers to how long you want your hair to be, not how much to cut! At first, I was ready to install the 1.5mm guard, which I was sure referred to how much you want to cut, when in fact it referred to how long you want your hair to be after the haircut. Had I not seen the video, I would have created an even bigger disaster than I did with the long guard.

The second piece of advice I got from YouTube was “start at the back of your head to make sure you know what you are doing.” Well, of course I ignored the recommendation and started from the left side, rapidly cutting a bushel worth of hair, leaving my gigantic ears in full display. At that point, my only consolation was that I did not try the razor on my pubic hair first.

I needed help, so in desperation I called Ora, my wife, to guide me with the rest of the job. She did her best not to laugh at the chaotic mess I created, but she was unsuccessful. By that point there were several bold spots in my head and much uneven territory. Ora tried to be supportive but could not hide her amusement. My post-corona-self put the whole thing in perspective and we both burst out laughing.

My Bu Jew wife told me that it is good that I’m learning how to let go. Whereas my pre-corona-self would have regarded the whole incident as an unmitigated catastrophe, my post-corona-self had finally become more Zen. Ora also told me that my haircut was probably the reason Trump had extended the social isolation guidelines.

But wait, my Do-It-Yourself adventures do not end with the Surker. Since Ora uses a wheelchair and cannot physically cook or bake by herself, I quickly became sous-chef and apprentice baker. Usually, Carla, our adorable nursing student, works in the kitchen with Ora, but since we are practicing extreme social isolation, it’s only Ora and me. There was no way I was going to give up on Ora’s banana bread or black bean soup. So I wore an apron and got ready to get instructions. However, no sooner did we start baking than I had plenty of advice for the executive chef on how to optimize the process. Ora told me that I had plenty of recommendations for someone who had never baked in his life. At that moment I told her that it is good for her to learn how to let go.




Isaac Prilleltensky is an award-winning academic and humor writer. His latest books, The Laughing Guide to Change, and The Laughing Guide to a Better Life, co-authored with Ora Prilleltensky, combine humor with science.


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