Let us begin with a bit of a programming note and an announcement. I am very excited to share with you the news that I — along with my friend and colleague Stephen Green — have been named senior correspondents here at PJ Media. I’m also thrilled to announce that my old friend Bryan Preston has returned to the fold as our deputy managing editor. Here is an excerpt from the announcement:
Stephen Kruiser started as a PJTV personality in 2010, hosting the popular “Kruiser Control” show. He began writing for PJM in 2012, and over the last year has increased his presence here, writing our daily informative—and hilarious—Morning Briefing (subscribe here to get it delivered to your inbox every morning), along with penning his regular columns. He’s also been an integral part of our VIP program, writing regular articles for our subscribers and hosting a weekly podcast, “The Kruiser Kabana.”
“After a year of unprecedented growth at PJ Media, I’m excited that we aren’t resting on our laurels, ” he said. “Even during these strangest of times, we’re moving forward with new ways to entertain and inform our ever-growing audience. I look forward to continuing my efforts to make our Morning Briefing the most unique newsletter in the genre, as well as writing two columns each week covering culture and politics. It’s going to be fun navigating this new territory both with my colleagues and our readers.”
What this means is that, in addition to the Morning Briefing, I will now be writing two non-VIP columns a week which will post on Tuesdays and Fridays. This column will normally post on Saturdays, so this is a bonus one this week. I will also be contributing shorter posts to VIP throughout the week. I’m looking forward to hemorrhaging sarcasm and mirth for all of you fine people.
Onto today’s topic.
For purposes of expedience, I’m going to refer to the current situation as “quarantine” simply because that’s easier than typing “stay-at-home-orders” over and over. I’m not really quarantined, obviously, but I may as well be.
My quarantine has been a mixed bag. Unlike so many people, I am fortunate in that I have plenty of work. My daily routine really didn’t get interrupted that much. Still, for reasons that I am still trying to work out, I initially reacted as if it had.
When all of the distance protocols were first being put in place it affected my daughter’s life. She’s a college senior and an athlete. In just a few hours one day last month, her collegiate athletic career ended, then it became apparent that her graduation ceremony wasn’t going to happen anytime soon, if at all.
As I’ve written before, she handled it well. I, however, was very upset and used her situation as an excuse to be an early adopter of bad quarantine habits. I won’t go into much detail here, but suffice it to say that my workout and healthy eating regimens disappeared rather quickly.
I began to commiserate with my extroverted friends who were missing their quality time with co-workers as if I were one of them, even though I usually work in solitude and talk to a cat all day.
Any cat, not just mine.
After a couple of weeks I thought I might try and get my normal act back together. Then all of the virtual happy hours and “drinks with friends and family” during the day began. Suddenly, I was socializing far more than I do in non-quarantine times, and the beer was flowing freely. I won’t lie to you here, I was having fun, despite the tragic reason that it was all happening.
As week four of quarantine drew to a close and the virtual Easter stuff made me a bit more introspective and a most motivational thought popped into my head: if COVID-19 didn’t kill me then getting fat and having a heart-attack from my bad quarantine habits might step in and give it an assist.
Before I hit Jabba the Hutt-like proportions I decided to attempt to clean up my act just a little.
I began by doing some meal prep for this week, so I would have healthy food available that needed to be eaten in a timely fashion. I normally eat a very healthy, low-carb diet. The first few weeks of quarantine saw me chowing down like an 18-year-old frat boy who was away from home for the first time and having fun with his parents’ credit card. (Side note: that was never my college experience. I wasn’t a frat boy and I worked and paid for my own college, which was possible back in Olden Times.)
That helped immensely. Sure, my body had a bit of a reaction to the reintroduction of healthy food, something along the lines of “WHAT FRESH HELL IS THIS?!?!?” I quickly settled down and realized I had missed having energy.
I had developed a particularly bad habit of staying up and binge-watching various shows after I finished the Morning Briefing, which I usually wrap up around 1 or 2 AM my time. I was staying up until 7 or 8 each morning and then napping for a couple of hours, when I would have to get up and start working again. I began to feel as strung out as a junkie on day three of court-ordered rehab.
I justified all of my behavior by telling myself that I was at least getting my work done, which I was.
My new goal was to get to bed by 3 or 4 AM, which is pretty much my body’s normal sleep schedule. Once my sleep-deprivation DTs were gone and I was eating better I was ready to move on to working out again.
Typically, I ride my bike 3-5 days a week and cross-train 2-3 days. I had done 0 days of anything for the first four weeks of quarantine. This past Tuesday I finally worked out. When I woke up on Wednesday I could swear that even my hair follicles were sore.
OK, I really didn’t have to wait until Wednesday. At my age, “delayed onset muscle soreness” becomes “almost immediate muscle soreness.” It was glorious though.
I’ve tried to curtail the Netflix time and read more. In what may be a sign that quarantine has broken me a little, I decided to tackle Marcel Proust’s In Search of Lost Time, which I had put on the back burner of my reading list for decades. I’m almost 50 pages in and I still don’t know what in the heck he’s on about.
These are just a few changes and they’ve only been going on for four days as of this writing but I already feel a thousand percent less slovenly and Jabba-esque than I did last Sunday.
I’ve got two more workouts on the schedule this week and then I’m going to celebrate by enjoying some fine local craft beer during virtual happy hours with my colleagues on Friday and my family on Sunday.
OK, maybe I’ll be Jabba-lite for the rest of quarantine. It’s still progress.
PJ Media Senior Columnist and Associate Editor Stephen Kruiser is the author of “Don’t Let the Hippies Shower” and “Straight Outta Feelings: Political Zen in the Age of Outrage,” both of which address serious subjects in a humorous way. Monday through Friday he edits PJ Media’s “Morning Briefing.” His columns appear every Tuesday and Friday.