There is confusion as to why the current pandemic’s virus is named “COVID-19.”
The CDC, on its website, explains, “In COVID-19, ‘CO’ stands for ‘corona,’ ‘VI’ for ‘virus,’ and ‘D’ for the disease.” “Nineteen” refers to the year the virus was discovered.
Not wishing to disagree with such an esteemed, well-respected, scientific organization but, in the same manner that the “Freshman 15” refers to the 15 pounds many first-time college students gain in their first year, the 19 in COVID-19 is, in reality, a reference to how much weight most of us gain while stuck in our abodes, gulping junk food, watching Netflix, and hoping to survive until 2021. After all, let’s be honest, if the apocalypse is nigh, does it really matter how many Twinkies I consume?
So, while commemorating “south of the border night” on my couch (a celebration in which I engage several nights a week), consisting of an extra-large helping of nachos and a Margarita (or two), I had to unbuckle my belt and was therefore painfully confronted with the fact that I was becoming a tad “thick around the middle.”
“Nah, not me,” thought I. After all, everyone knows that calories consumed to medicate feelings of sadness or anxiety don’t add pounds. Clearly, my belt shrunk. Hefting myself from the sofa like a nine-month pregnant woman struggling to rise, I waddled to the scale, only to be alarmed at the number flashing before me.
“NO! Can’t be,” said I, putting down the bean dip and wiping the melted cheese from my face, “Time for a new scale.”
“Honey,” I called out, seeking confirmation that I remained as svelte as a 27-year-old fitness trainer, “Am I putting on weight?”
“Honey? Did you hear me?” I bellowed again from the bathroom scale while contorting myself into various poses on the platform to lower the number. (None worked.)
From the kitchen, the garbage disposal activates, blasting forth an earsplitting racket; my wife shouting over the din, “Sorry dear, I can’t hear you. Talk to me later.”
Faced with an indisputable truth, I – being the motivator that I am – decided to immediately commence a plan to flatten my stomach. Eating fewer chips would be a good start, but I wasn’t quite “there” yet. Instead, opting to strengthen my arms and make flat my belly by pulling out timeworn exercise equipment stored in the back of the closet since the Carter administration. I lugged the “ab flattener” sit-up machine into the guest room, blew off the dust (coughed repeatedly), and located it in the center of the floor. Next, pushing aside old moth-ridden blankets, and beyond the tchotchkes in boxes, I yanked loose my ancient pull-up bar, secured it to the door jamb, and gave it a yank or two to ensure it could support my now-heftier bulk.