Cartoon: Sometimes It Feels Like Coronavirus Has Always Been With Us


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I left the house this morning to put something in the mail. (Don’t worry, I didn’t touch the mailbox; I took a paper towel with me so I could use that to open the mailbox and then throw it away).

I honestly don’t know what was in the envelope; I made it my project this morning to clear the pile of mail off my desk, and I found a sealed envelope, ready to mail. It was a postage paid envelope from a company I do business with, so presumably it’s a form they wanted me to fill out. And I have no memory of the form, or filling it out, whatsoever.

I could have opened the envelope to see what it was, but then I’d just have find a new envelope and what about postage and it just seemed like too much work, so I decided to trust me from three months ago and mail it.

My point is, this walk to the mailbox is the first time I’ve been further than my own yard in over a week. It feels so odd to be so housebound. And that’s a feeling, I’m sure, that lots of you reading this can now relate to. I actually can’t even say anymore when I started staying in the house. I mean, I know as a matter of logic around when I must have began, but I don’t remember it.

So thinking about this feeling, led to this cartoon. I hope you like it!

* * *

The art for this was fun to draw (and it felt good to be able to successfully concentrate on drawing a cartoon!). I think that Mrs. Macbeth in panel 2 came out especially well. .

My friend Frank Young writes a blog about the works of the cartoonist John Stanley, who is most famous for his Little Lulu comics from the 40s through the 60s. I was reading this blog post, collecting some of Stanley’s dialogless cartoons, and I was struck by how much I liked the very simple colors Stanley used for some cartoons. I didn’t directly steal those colors, but they definitely inspired the color choices in this cartoon.


Stay well and stay safe, folks! I hope everyone is getting through this all right. See you next cartoon.


TRANSCRIPT OF CARTOON

This cartoon has four panels, each showing a different scene.

PANEL 1

Most of this panel is taken up by very large, rough lettering, the title of the cartoon. “SOMETIMES IT FEELS LIKE CORONAVIRUS HAS ALWAYS BEEN WITH US.”

In the bottom of the comic, a woman is leaning on her elbows, looking wistfully out an upper floor window of a house.

WOMAN (thought): I can’t remember the last time I put on pants.

PANEL 2

In the foreground, a woman in a Shakespearean-style gown is frantically washing her hands and yelling. Behind her, a man peeks through a doorway, holding up a forefinger in a “making a point” gesture and speaking very cheerfully. They are Lady Macbeth and Macbeth.

LADY MACBETH: OUT, DAMNED SPOT! OUT I SAY!

MACBETH: Remember to do that for at least twenty seconds, hon!

PANEL 3

The panel shows several people hanging on crosses in Rome sometime in the first century. In the foreground, a well-off looking Roman man, dressed in robes, is giving an order to a Roman soldier, who is wearing a helmet and carrying a large wooden mallet. In the background, one of the people hanging on a cross speaks cheerfully towards the two in the foreground.

ROMAN DUDE: Make sure the crosses are six feet apart.

MAN ON CROSS: Thank you for caring!

PANEL 4

Inside a cave, a cartoon caveman, wearing a shirt-thing made out of some animal with a spotted pattern on its fur, and carrying a big rough club, is speaking to a laptop computer which is open on top of a boulder. On the laptop’s screen, we can see another caveman. The first caveman, slapping a hand to his forehead, has a distressed expression.

CAVEMAN: I haven’t left my cave in weeks!

CAVEMEN ON LAPTOP: Me either!

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22 Responses to Cartoon: Sometimes It Feels Like Coronavirus Has Always Been With Us

  1. 1
    Elkins says:

    The weirdest thing about this situation for me, as someone with severe medication-resistant depression that often expresses itself as agoraphobia, has been realizing just how alien the way I live is to most normal, healthy people. It’s really not a nice feeling, that realization. “Most people find the way I’ve lived my life for the past decade or so very nearly intolerable. Huh.”

  2. 2
    Eva Schectman says:

    I like how Lady Macbeth’s frantic face and hair are sharply contrasted by the very precise and contained border of the collar of her dress. Glad you could concentrate to get this done. Thank you. Well done and yeah, it does feel like forever since ‘sheltering in place’ was a phrase I’d never heard. Also, I love the idea of trusting the you of three months ago with completing the task of filling out a form and sealing, addressing and stamping an envelope. No do over needed here, let’s get this in the mail!

  3. 3
    J. Squid says:

    “Most people find the way I’ve lived my life for the past decade or so very nearly intolerable. Huh.”

    That’s because the pinks don’t understand the need for nor do they aspire to Slack. I have slack in spades, so this period is my opportunity to become far more pious than ever before.

    J.R. “Bob” Dobbs, a lonely nation turns its eyes to you!

  4. 4
    Mandolin says:

    Elkins – yeah, I obviously dealt with living this way for about eight years and it’s part of why I got so depressed we had to leave Bakersfield. (You actually have waaaay more interaction than I did there.) it’s rough being stuck in this space we worked to leave.

  5. 5
    J. Squid says:

    Just wanted to add that I love Mr. Macbeth’s over the top cheerfulness. Just makes me want to slap the happy little bugger in the back of the head.

  6. 6
    Ampersand says:

    Thanks! :-) That’s pretty much what I was going for!

  7. 7
    Ampersand says:

    I redrew Lady MacBeth’s hair and dress. If you’re curious, you can still see the previous version of the cartoon here.

  8. 8
    Dreidel says:

    > “I redrew Lady MacBeth’s hair and dress.”

    Your original version was more accurate to the play (not that it matters in a cartoon). By the hand-washing scene, Lady MacBeth was a crazed, disheveled old hag. Her husband looks too for an aged king.

  9. 9
    Dreidel says:

    Omitted word from my above post: “Her husband looks too young for an aged king.”

  10. 10
    Ampersand says:

    I’ve certainly seen the MacBeths played by people who weren’t old.

    But yes, my first version was more accurate to the play. But not everyone immediately got the leap in time between panels 1 and 2. Making Lady MacBeth more obviously in period clothing helps with that, I hope.

  11. 11
    Eva Schectman says:

    I get where you’re going with changing Lady Macbeth’s hair and neckline to show the span of time – that feeling it’s always been with us. Also, I like this change for aesthetic reasons. Always a pleasure to view your work. Thank you.

  12. 12
    Ampersand says:

    Thanks, Eva!

  13. 13
    Gracchus says:

    I love making Macbeth the mansplainer :-D

  14. 14
    ACE says:

    According to the largest US study on Covid19, the largest single factor in hospitalization – by far – is obesity:

    https://www.zdnet.com/article/nyu-scientists-largest-u-s-study-of-covid-19-finds-obesity-the-single-biggest-factor-in-new-york-critical-cases/

    “The chronic condition with the strongest association with critical illness was obesity, with a substantially higher odds ratio than any cardiovascular or pulmonary disease,” write lead author Christopher M. Petrilli of the NYU Grossman School and colleagues.

    Blacks have been disproportionately hit in places like Detroit, Chicago and New Orleans, and it may coincide with the much higher rates of obesity vis-a-vis whites. Just obesity itself seems to be a much stronger factor than other conditions such as diabetes or heart disease or the like, maybe because of the inflammation aspects.

  15. 15
    RonF says:

    How is everyone doing healthwise?

  16. 16
    RonF says:

    Here’s a comic I love pursuant to the comment in the first panel about wearing pants ….

    http://pvponline.com/comic/2020-04-01

  17. 17
    Mandolin says:

    I may have had covid, if I did it was pretty mild – but my husband was given a “probably you have covid, go home unless you can’t speak a full sentence without panting” diagnosis, so it’s likely I just lucked out. It’s been an obnoxious illness partially because it has had some little waves of starting to improve then getting worse again, but he seems to be well now. His doctor recommended he go sign up for a list of people who are offering to take on essential community services during the high threat period of the pandemic—the list is a great idea, but unfortunately they can’t do anything with it yet. Fingers crossed for rapid antibodies testing.

  18. 18
    Mandolin says:

    I was achy and “omg walking from the bed t9 the couch is so exhaust g I have to nap” tired, but never had any issue breathing.

  19. 19
    Ampersand says:

    Hi Ron! Thanks for asking. How are you, healthwise? Are you “sheltering in place” with your family?

    I’m well. As I’ve probably mentioned before, I live in a very large household – there are nine of us. (When I showed my mom a picture of our Passover Seder, she said “No fair! Your household Seder looks like a normal year.”)

    So my isolating is a lot less isolated than most people’s. I miss many friends I haven’t seen in person in ages (Mandolin most of all), but I don’t lack for company. And we’re very lucky (so far, knock wood) in that no one in our house had gotten ill.

  20. 20
    J. Squid says:

    Other than the Month of the Kidney Stone, all is well in the Squid household. Other than trips to the ER, the hospital for surgery and the pharmacy/grocery, we’ve been totally isolated. I never took an opioid for the mastectomy, but the kidney stone had me screaming myself hoarse. 4 1/2 hours of screaming myself hoarse turns out to be my limit before I head to the ER. But the second trip to the ER ended with this kid – late teens, probably – hitting on me while I waited for Mrs. Squid to pick me up. That was insanely flattering. So the pain wasn’t totally without reward ;)

    The good part is that I have all the time in the world to screw up makeup and start making it out of my preteens, skillwise. The bad part is never seeing friends and not a chance in hell of live music anytime soon. And all the older artists and artists my age and/or friends of friends who have died from COVID-19.

    I hope all is as well with everybody as it can be under the circumstances. This was really not the apocalypse I was expecting.

  21. 21
    Dianne says:

    Are you okay? There’s been no action on this blog or your cartoons for a while. It feels worrying.

  22. 22
    Ampersand says:

    Whoops, I’m sorry – I didn’t mean to worry you. I THOUGHT I posted a new cartoon about a week ago, but somehow I messed up and didn’t hit the “post” button, and it’s just been sitting there in my drafts. I finally hit “post” just now.

    Anyway, thanks for your concern. I am fine. I hope you’re doing well too.

    I’m afraid I haven’t been feeling motivated to do much on this blog since the current strangeness began. I am on Discord, and I just made a Discord for people to say hi to me (and each other) on. Here’s the link for that. (You’ll have to join Discord if you haven’t already.)

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