PATRICK MCVAY

WRITER

Recalibration

Isn’t it good just to press the reset button sometimes? Maybe work is stressful, or you’re having trouble with that old jalopy of a vehicle that’s been held together with rope and duct tape for years. Or maybe there is suddenly a pandemic and the globe is awash in disease, except in places where it’s not an actual disease but a concept made-up to wreck the economy and many people’s lives (wait – who does that?!).

Perhaps people are having massive eating and drinking orgies during the economy-wrecking hoax, and that unnerves you. “Why aren’t you guys wearing masks while eating and drinking?” you call out to a crowd of people you encounter at a pop-up restaurant, and then realize how stupid you have made your cause sound.

This is when it’s time to pick up your beer grain scale in such a way as to be holding the “units” and “on/off” button at the same time, inadvertently causing the device to enter “calibration mode," from which there is no return. No “exit” button. No “back.” From here until you can find an “accurate 10 Kg weight” to properly calibrate the device, you cannot use it.

OK, no problem. A guy like me who has paddled the Allagash Wilderness Waterway can figure out how to obtain a 10 Kg weight. Those must be everywhere!

What about at the university gym you belong to? Never mind!

Maybe a neighbor has purchased used barbell weights via a Craigslist posting in a country that once hosted the Olympics, and you could borrow a couple.

Heck! You might as well buy a new scale. It costs twice as much to purchase a 10 kg. weight and have it delivered to your home.

Now what are you supposed to do when your wife asks you to weigh the zucchini? You’ve had too many defeats already this week to find yourself unable to determine if the little piglet sized vegetables she has pulled from the garden weigh 1 pound or 10.

Another option is to visit Tim’s kitchen, where there is a mini scale, and where Lily the cat can watch you weigh beer grains into a plastic food storage container until Tim’s mini scale reads 451 grams, which, when added to 2 10 lb. sacks of grain plus a few hundred grams to account for the weight of the bucket, results in a weight of, more or less, 10 Kg.

Grain scale now recalibrated, life can get back to (relative) normal.

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Mr. Pizza

Since this viral headache began, my wife and I have been consistent cookers from home, slow-cooking and roasting and fricasseeing whatever the hell we can get our hands on to avoid getting out there and looking people straight in the eye and giving them the honest truth, which I am told is a risk-factor for getting the newest and hottest and sexiest coronavirus.

This, even though we love to get our food prepared.

We turned the page last Friday, as our meal plan consisted of takeout, which we expected to be sourced from Bernard’s, our favorite Chinese restaurant in Boston, or, failing that, from either Frank Pepe's and Bertucci’s pizzerias.

Bernard’s is situated in the gritty “Street” section of what used to be called the Chestnut Hill Shopping Center. I’m no stranger to tough ‘hoods and was willing to brave the toughest street gangs Chestnut Hill could muster for a little taste of Bernard’s awesome dumplings. But Bernard’s website indicated that the restaurant is currently on hiatus. Probably forced to close by Chestnut Hill gangs, or maybe that godforsaken virus I keep hearing about. (To be honest, I fear I’ll never taste those Bernard’s dumplings again).

So we ordered instead from Frank Pepe's. This was a no-brainer. How long had it been since I had had a Pepe’s spinach and gorgonzola or white clam pizza? Literally months! The online ordering was a breeze, and I would be picking up my pizza curbside.

Of course, it didn’t happen quite that way. I arrived to find a line of 25 cars, and another 25 people hovering outside the pizza shop, announcing their names to the friendly man whose job was to sort through orders and bring them out to hungry patrons hoping to eat clams and parmesan cheese on a pizza.

We were an understanding bunch, until a couple people arrived who seemed unaware of the gloabal crisis we were all dealing with. Where’s my pizza? What’s the system? Why aren’t you doing it this way, which I think is better than the way you are doing it? Somehow, getting into the pizza organizer’s face was deemed to be the best way forward.

Ultimately, I left, snagging pizza for the kids from Bertucci’s, and returning to Pepe’s an hour or two later to get my adult pizzas (“Oh, you’re here, finally"). I gave a big thanks to the young people working through the mess of the a-holes demanding the kind of service we expected back in 2019.

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Where's My Chair?

One of the difficult things that I’m dealing with during the coronavirus pandemic is the impossibility of being close to my fans. People love it when I travel the country and read my blog posts live, while they eat cheese and drink wine. And, yes, smoke pre-rolled marijuana cigarettes.

Then I come on stage and people start to giggle. They laugh and laugh as I try to find my chair. It’s like I’m Charlie Chaplin.

But it’s not a set up: no one left me a chair. What the heck? Where is my fucking chair? Everyone is howling because I can’t find my chair and because they are full of cannabinoids, but I’m genuinely ticked off because I can’t find anyone who is willing to acknowledge that the talent (me) needs a chair to read these highly influential blog posts. Plus, my contract demands that I be given a swivel barstool, a unidirectional microphone, a little high table, and some pumpernickel toast buttered to my exacting standards.

And a glass of local homebrew as well, you ask? Yep.

Someone is playing steamy jazz on a piano while I read a post about how much I’m looking forward to hugging you and the rest of the world when we all wake from this nightmare.

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Mr. Essential

I have always considered myself essential in the sense that I’m game to stay open when people like you are shutting it down. In a sense, I’m essential because I believe I’m essential. And once a person believes he’s essential, that person has no choice but to stay open.

Meanwhile, you’re closed. The American public comes to you with their problems but finds an outstretched palm in their collective face. Not only is that not helpful when maybe the American public needs drapes during a major pandemic, but it’s also not particularly sanitary! Put your (maybe; who knows?) coronavirus-infused hand six feet back, pal.

My main concern: several businesses and rock people I frequent and/or watch onstage are guaranteed not to survive the Democrat(ic) Pandemic Plot. For example, what becomes of The Harvard Bookstore? How about The Modern Homebrew Emporium? Matt Murphy’s Pub? Busted Knuckle? Adi’s Bike World? Jack at Phil’s Barber Shop? George and his people at La Flamme? Eco Builders? Brookline Booksmith? China Fair? Rockler? Abodeon? Leavitt and Pearce? Grant Lee? Mike Doughty? Peter Parcek? Audio Lab? As you can imagine, I could easily go on.

I predict a wholesale slaughter. (But don’t quote me).

At least we know we’ll get a new president sometime in the next five years.

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J'Biden Era Haikuage

 

People's Arms. That's right!

200 million shots

In 100 days

 

We are good people

But we still have far to go

Repair. Restore. Heal.

 

There's nothing new here

The Affordable Care Act

We're restoring it 

 

America's Day

Democracy is fragile

The world is watching 

 

Strategy is based

On Science, not politics

Truth, not denial

 

 

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