Untethered Dog

An Online Notebook by Tom Swift

Tag: COVID-19


After a few weeks of adjustment, I feel settled into my shelter-in-place life. I generally resist the placement of restrictions on my options but, when I am really honest about it, sometimes I do better after they are imposed. As long as I have my health and a notebook and my dog and some snacks, […]

Benefits of Restriction

I don’t have as much experience with fasting as some — I have never done a multiple-day fast, for example — but, as someone who has used intermittent fasting intermittently (how else?) over a period of years, I have fasted enough to discover that one of its benefits is that, in the absence of food, […]

Harrowing Hours

It takes so long — and yet the time goes by in a flash. First, you have to put on your protective gear — head to toe, with face mask in place. (In my case, the mask is a scarf. It is plaid.) You have to make sure you have made your game-plan, and that […]

That’s The Fact, Jack

In September, Bill Murray will turn 70. I suggested to a movie theater owner with whom I have a relationship that he should hold a Bill Murray Film Festival in honor of this occasion. This was some months ago — back when movie theaters were, you know, open. The idea didn’t go anywhere but I […]

Safety Measures

There is something unseemly about getting fat during a pandemic. To spend precious time in the grocery store gathering ice cream, filling one’s cart with potato chips, thumbing through the pastry selection, at a time when going to the grocery store itself is a risky proposition, makes even less sense to me than buying excessive […]

Frogger-It If You Have To

Just back, I am so grateful for first long evening walk of the year, in comfortable weather, the sun still lighting the way. We zig-zagged about the neighborhood for an hour-plus, keeping our distance from all the two-leggeds, greeting a few of the fours, choosing our adventure based on the smells of the shrubbery and […]

‘A Moral Obligation to Say What You Think’

I am working on a post about grief. It’s about grief I am experiencing in my relationship with my country. This grief did not begin with COVID-19 but its presence has become more identifiable to me in light of our nation’s response to the coronavirus pandemic. It’s a challenging post for me to write. I […]


I’ve never been a big Sean Payton fan. But the head coach of the New Orleans Saints deserves credit for the good he did when he went public this week following his positive test for COVID-19, the first person in the NFL known to have contracted the virus. Payton didn’t just recover in private. He […]

Fumbling Around for a New Normal

Yesterday, I admit it, your honor, I touched my own forehead. Now, it was in the middle of the afternoon … I was trying to focus while on the phone at work … a moment of mild stress … and I bent over and rested on my elbow on my desk and put my hand […]

On the Fear of Not Being Able to Wipe Your Own Ass

You don’t need a year’s worth of toilet paper. Of course not. And it’s silly to fight with someone over what you don’t need. But the senselessness makes sense: we are not rational beings. Certainly not entirely. Not even mostly. We are, in a way, always fighting over toilet paper — always grasping for things […]

No Denying

I don’t believe in germ theory. After all, it’s just a theory! I can’t see the germs! And I feel fine! I mean, really, how do these scientists know germs cause disease? How do they know humans are to blame for the spread of this so-called Coronavirus — what they are now calling COVID-19 or […]