George: I’m losing it, Jerry. I don’t know how much longer I can take it. Being cooped up because of this crayon virus.
Jerry: You said crayon virus. It’s coronavirus.
George: Crayon, canyon, corona, it doesn’t matter. I’m going nuts, Jerry! Nuts, I’m telling ya!
Jerry: Calm down, calm down. What’s the problem? Now you have an excuse for not having a job and going to work.
George: Yes, but that means I’m home with Susan 24 hours a day. Every day. We never leave the apartment. I can’t take it, Jerry.
Jerry: You know, George, I’m sure your parents would love to have you come stay with them for a few weeks.
George: Very funny, Jerry. You know, ever since your stand-up comedy career has been put on hold till God–knows-when, your sense of humor has become very dark.
Jerry: Hold on, I just got a text from Elaine.
George: What’s it say?
Elaine’s text: “Jerry, help me. I’m out of toilet paper and I can’t get to the office to take some. Do you have a roll I can borrow? I’ll pay you back. Please, I’m desperate.”
Jerry’s text: “I’m sorry, Elaine. I’m down to my last full roll.”
Elaine’s text: “Can you spare a few squares?”
Jerry’s text: “No, I can’t. I’m sorry.”
Elaine’s text: “Three squares? You can’t spare 3 lousy squares??!!”
Jerry’s text: “No, I can’t spare a square. I don’t have a spare to square.”
Jerry: George, hold on; someone’s at the door.
(Jerry goes to the door, opens it, and it’s Newman.)
Jerry: Hello, Newman.
Newman: Hello, Jerry.
Jerry: Whadda ya want, I’m kinda busy here.
Newman: Can I use your bathroom real quick?
Jerry: What’s wrong with your bathroom?
Newman: My apartment’s two blocks away. It’s an emergency, Jerry. Please!
Jerry: Aww, alright. Fine, but make it snappy.
(Newman smirks and heads to the bathroom. Jerry picks up the phone to resume conversation with George.)
George: Who was that at the door?
George: This time of day? What did he want?
Jerry: He asked to use my bathroom.
George: What’s wrong with his bathroom?
Jerry: I know, that’s what I said. He said it was an emergency and that he was too far from his place.
George: Oh, well.
Jerry: Have you ever noticed that when people ask to use your bathroom, they include the words “real quick.” Like “Hey, can I use your bathroom real quick?” Or “I’m just gonna slip to your restroom real quick.” One of these days I’m going to ask to use someone’s bathroom and I’m gonna say, “Hey, I need to use your john. Do you have any good reading material because I’m probably gonna be in there a while.”
(Sound of toilet flushing, Newman hustles out of the bathroom, and out the apartment door as he says “Thank you, Jerry” with a cackle as he leaves.)
Jerry: “George, hang on, my Mom just left me a voicemail with an Urgent signal on it.”
Jerry’s Mom’s voicemail: “Hi Jerry, it’s your Mom. New York is all over the news about this coronavirus. Are you washing your hands? I read that if you sing the Happy Birthday song all the way through while you’re washing your hands, you’re washing your hands the right amount of time. Do you have anti-bacteria soap? How about bottled water? Do you have enough food? Your father bought an entire pallet of canned fruit at Costco last Friday. Do you like canned peaches in light syrup or heavy syrup? We have plenty of both, so just us know.
Your father and I are making the best of it here at the condo. Florida is so nice this time of year. The shuffleboard courts are closed so to get some exercise I found my old Jane Fonda workout video. Our VHS player still works; isn’t that amazing? Did you know that Jane Fonda is 82 years old? And she looks fantastic. I’m sure she’s had some work done but still…
(Jerry clicks the message off and says aloud to himself, “I think I’ve got the gist of that call.)
Jerry: Okay, George, I’m back.
George: Is everything okay with your Mom?
Jerry: Yea, she was just letting me know that she’s leaving my father for the pool boy.
Jerry: I’m kidding. Okay, you were saying that—
Jerry: Hold on, George. Kramer’s here.
George: It’s Kramer? Tell him I need a few of those surgical masks from when he was pretending to be a doctor.
Kramer: Are you talking to George? Tell him I need some of those disposable gloves from when he had that short gig as a hand model.
Jerry: How about the two of you communicate and we’ll cut out the middle man.
(Kramer gestures making a phone call)
Jerry: George, Kramer says he’ll call you. Yea, I’ll talk to you later. Okay, bye.
Jerry: What’s up, Kramer? And what’s that SMELL?
Kramer: I’m making up batches of homemade hand sanitizer. You can’t find it in the stores because the greedy hoarders HAVE BOUGHT IT ALL UP, Jerry. No siree, not a drop of Purex to be found. But I’ve outsmarted them, Jerry. I’ve made gallons of Kramer’s Corona Killer Hand Sanitizer. Would you like a quart?
Jerry: Kramer, you smell like you bathed in booze.
Kramer: Well, Jerry, the recipe calls for 1 part aloe vera gel to 3 parts alcohol. And then you add a few drops of essential oil for fragrance. I spent a lot on the ingredients, but I will be selling it at a substantial profit. Do you want to go in on this together?
Jerry: No, thank you.
Kramer: Oh c’mon, Jerry. I’m letting you in on the ground floor of a new empire. Besides, you don’t have anything else going for you right now. I mean, look at you– your stand-up comedy career is in the toilet right now. You need something as a back-up.
Jerry: Thank you for your concern, Kramer, but I think I’ll be fine. (Jerry leans in toward Kramer, sniffs, and makes a face.) Kramer, for your hand sanitizer concoction, what kind alcohol did you use?
Jerry: Kramer, you’re supposed to use isopropyl alcohol. You know, rubbing alcohol. Not drinking alcohol.
Kramer: Eeee—yehhhhhrrrr!!! What am I going to do with 40 gallons of margarita hand sanitizer??!!
Jerry: Hold that thought. I need to go to the bathroom.
(A brief moment passes and then from inside the bathroom comes the sudden loud voice of Jerry yelling, “NOOOOOOOOOO!!!
Kramer is startled by the scream, falling off the arm of the couch.
Jerry walks to entrance of the living room and looks at Kramer with an expression of disdain.)
Kramer: What is it, Jerry? What’s the matter?
Jerry: NEWMAN! (as Jerry holds up an empty chrome toilet roll spindle)
Ramon Presson, PhD, is a licensed marriage and family therapist in Franklin, TN, and the author of several books. He has been a weekly newspaper columnist in the Nashville area for over a decade.