The scene was as sad as it was sincere. Thousands packed into the first outdoor concert since the pandemic. Middle-aged, middle class middle Americans swayed to the rhythm, their bodies accessing a muscle memory long dormant. On the ground below, zoomers gossiped the latest drama in their lives, aware of…

April 2020

It had been a week or so since the store became a fortress. Massive make-shift 2x4 barricades, obstacles (riding mowers), and reams of tape covered the front facade. We had all been given official “I’m an essential employee; don’t arrest me” documents to show the police should we…

Since I’m a folklorist I should probably know where the whole “Friday the 13th” thing comes from — if it’s about the 12 disciples, or the Templars, or witches, I dunno. But by now it’s ubiquitous and ingrained into pop culture, even becoming a kind of celebratory event.

Before we…

Afternoon. March 15, 2020. One day after Virginia’s first coronavirus death.

Mr. Heinz was a bulldog of a man — short, squat, and mean. His uniform rotated between a set of dulled-down red shirts and khaki pants frayed and dirty from years of abuse. …

Morning. March 9, 2020. Three days before Virginia declares a State of Emergency.

“Things are gonna get bad.”


“You hear what they want to do? Strand all those people on that ship.”

“The cruise ships? I mean…”

“Yeah. Now how they gonna do that in the land of the…

Late-night. January 22, 2020. Pre-pandemic.

Travis was a good kid, but untravelled. He hadn’t seen Raiders or Lebowski or GI Joe Retaliation. And he certainly hadn’t seen Tombstone.

“The one with Angelina Jolie?” He corrected himself: “No, that’s Tomb Raider.”

I sighed, my amusement turning quickly to annoyance. …

Dusk, March 7, 2020. Pre-lockdown.

Wind-sheared and worn-out I surveyed the scene, silently counting down to the end of the shift.

A sound from behind snapped me back. “You the boss?”

I turned around and it was one of the back-office ladies, no more than 5' tall and staring right…

John E. Price

Academic and Trekkie. I talk about the politics of culture, review nerd stuff, and golf a lot. Co-host: @podmeandering, #TopFive, @folkwise13

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