We’re at the point now in recent times where the memes are the exact same every year, since about 2016 when he-who-will-not-be-named won the US presidential election. They all go about like this:
Change the years and, because of this perpetual backslide into the gutter thanks to gun-loving, people-hating, anti-vax, yee-haw Red state bullshit, the meme works just fine. Same as it ever was. Same as it ever was.
We’ve been living right inside the enormous Jaws-like mouth of the Covid-19 pandemic for almost two years now. It feels even longer than that. It feels neverending. So how is one to cope, this far into a seemingly endless global health crisis? Well, besides getting vaccinated, boosted, masked up, and generally doing the right thing, you could also eat. I mean, like, really eat. Don’t do this by half-measures. Eat like the world is burning because, let’s be real, it pretty much is.
Carbs, my children. Carbs. Pasta, specifically. That’s all you need. Sure, protein and veggies may accompany the good stuff, but goddammit make sure you’re not skimping on the pasta. I’m Italian American. The notion that some people choose not to eat carbs is mind boggling. It gives me a brain cramp. My ancestors must be rolling over in their graves, or, more likely, making the sign of the Maloik—“The Evil Eye” curse, favored by old Italian grammies and Ronnie James Dio.
I would normally call for moderation. We have jeans to fit into, after all. But not now. No, now we need fettuccine Alfredo more than ever. We need shrimp scampi over linguine, pasta alla Carbonara, or the simplest and most comforting of all earthy Italian dishes, aglio e olio—spaghetti tossed in sautéed olive oil and garlic. Here’s Stanley Tucci making it. Riveting. Ah, feels like home.
I’m so hungry now. Where I was going with this? Oh, right: 2021 has been a tough year. So was 2020. And 2019. And 20yadayadayada…but in each of these years we’ve found moments to hang onto—both personally and globally. Some of these years have changed our lives for the better, despite politics and pandemic fatigue. And that will happen again in 2022. Same as it ever was. So, chin-up, start boiling the water for your pasta now, and cling to love and hope in a time of crisis, like the olive oil and garlic cling so deliciously to the spaghetti.
I’m not in any way trying to make light of the dangerous nature of the times in which we live. I’m just trying to reassure myself, more than anyone, that no matter what fresh hell 2022 throws at us, love, hope, and Italian food can make it a little more bearable.
On a separate note, I just want to take a minute to brag. After keeping up with about an average of four or five posts per month the previous year, I spent the first nine months of 2021 only spitting out ten posts total. Since October though, I’ve cranked out fifteen! Huzzah! Let’s drink to that.
I can attribute this turn around to a few things. First, I want this site to be updated at least several times a month because writing here is usually when I’m at my most loose and comfortable. When it’s fun, it’s really fun. And that’s important. Second, I cut way back on diversionary side-hustles (looking at you, social media!), starting late summer, early fall. That’s been extremely healthy for me, and for my writing. I’ve even managed to contribute several articles to one of the internet’s best horror movie sites during this time, Kindertrauma, plus I’m working on another, long-gestating piece for my pals at Grumpire as we speak. So, as we leave behind 2021 I want to make a commitment here to focus more on the Starfire Lounge and potential book project ideas. Here’s to a happy, healthy, and productive new year!
Here are links to my recent Kindertrauma pieces…