Food Shaming in the Time of a Pandemic

I promise that someday I’ll get back to reviewing books and chattering about pop culture, but in the meantime, here’s part two in my accidental …In The Time of a Pandemic series.


All I wanted was a candy bar.

Specifically, a Hershey’s Cookies ‘N’ Creme bar, because I’ve taken to watching Jeffree Star videos on YouTube, and the last one that I watched was a review for the Hershey’s makeup set (probably shouldn’t watch at work). I like these videos. I doubt that I’ll ever have the time to wear much makeup, but I love the videos. They’re colorful, over the top, and occasionally feature Star’s adorable herd of pomeranians. So I watched the one about Hershey’s makeup the other day, which left me with a craving for sweets.

All I wanted was a candy bar, because I’m tired of everything, and I work in a field that potentially exposes me to COVID-19 on a daily basis. I haven’t been sleeping enough. I’m constantly frayed around the edges. Every single day the pandemic creeps closer to me and I’m not dealing with it all that well. I decided to treat myself,  in an effort to cheer myself up a little.

I was sorting through the box of Cookies ‘N’ Creme bars, because they all seemed to be broken. It’s ridiculous, I know. I’m going to eat the thing, who cares if it’s already broken in half? So while I was doing this, some smirky guy, who undoubtedly thought he was funny, or maybe helping me, said “Candy’s bad for you” as he walked past me. I snapped my head up.

“So are a lot of things,” I replied without missing a beat. I was livid. I wanted to fling something at this idiot’s head. His inexplicable response?

“Like coronavirus.”

What the actual fuck was that supposed to mean? Maybe he wasn’t expecting me to actually dare to talk back to him, so he was thrown for a loop? What exactly was he expecting? Me to fall to my knees and bless his name for finally revealing some divine truth to me? I know what I look like. Let’s just say that I would have done very well back when plump women were considered the fairest in the land. I have childbearing hips; no amount of weight lost will ever, EVER make me anything smaller than a size 14, thanks to those hips.

Food shaming doesn’t help anyone. Ever. And right now? When the entire world is a literal trash fire? Kindly fuck right off and shut up. Let people enjoy things. Your criticism disguised as “helping” does nothing. Do you really think that larger people don’t know the difference between junk food and vegetables? Do you really believe that anyone needs your help or advice when they haven’t asked for it? Unless you’re a doctor or nutritionist that I’ve personally consulted, you have no right to say one goddamned word about whatever I choose to put in my mouth. And, honestly? I’m not a comfort or stress eater. Indeed, the opposite happens for me. I lose my appetite and get an upset stomach when I’m under stress. Captain Dudebro of the Food Police doesn’t know that I skipped breakfast, forced myself to eat a single soft chicken taco for lunch, and had eggs on toast for dinner. All he knows is that he saw a woman with no visible thigh gap daring to pick up a candy bar.

So, people of the world? If you’re tempted to say something to a person about the food that they’re purchasing or eating, especially right now, when many people are out of work and relying on cheaper food options? Don’t. Just don’t. Full stop. Turn around and walk away. Your advice is neither wanted nor needed, so save your breath and your intended victim the heartache. Everyone wins.

Retail Pharmacy in the Time of a Pandemic

Note: I don’t usually talk about my day job, but I can’t not right now. COVID-19 has only just now arrived in my city, but coronavirus panic started at least two weeks ago.


You get up. You get ready for work, wearily going through the paces. You kiss your spouse goodbye and head out into the world. You are a pharmacy technician, and you are exhausted.

The streets aren’t as sparsely populated as you wish they were, but then you remember that you work on the main drag of your small city; Lowe’s, Walmart, Kroger, Sheetz, Pet Supply Plus, McDonald’s, and another retail pharmacy other than your own all live on the same street, along with two urgent care clinics. Aside from McDonald’s, all of these businesses are considered essential during this entire crisis, and for lower income families, McDonald’s might as well be essential. Grocery stories, pharmacies, home improvement stories, gas stations, and pet stores are all considered essential businesses. The antiques mall is closed, and so is the little bookstore that you like to visit, among the other small businesses and local restaurants that populate the downtown area.

Get to work. Clock in. Do your best to smile, even as a gentleman who doesn’t understand English enough to read the signs (which ask the customers to please maintain at least a three foot space between themselves and the employees) gets right up in your face while he waves his phone at you, indicating that he’s looking for Airborne tablets. You can tell what that man had for lunch that day because he’s speaking less than a foot away from your nose. After he’s gone, quietly have a panic attack while you splash hot water on your face and wash your hands, all the while wondering whether gargling with some Listerine would do any good.

Answer the phone. No, we’re not closing. No, the store is, at this time, still entirely open. No, we don’t have any hand sanitizer, toilet tissue, rubbing alcohol, disinfectant wipes, or Lysol spray. Keep that smile in place while you’re waiting on people. You are the calm, cheerful center of this little corner of the universe, and you’re doing what you can to keep people as relaxed as possible. You make little jokes. You chat about inconsequential things. You bid the patients to take care and stay well as much as possible.

The drive-thru is always busy. Nobody wants to come inside. Of course, you would be happy to fetch a box of Benadryl for the elderly lady who’s too afraid to come in. No, we don’t have any hand sanitizer or disinfectant wipes. No, we’re out of stock on Tylenol, you’re very sorry to say. Even the store brand. Keep smiling, even as the young woman in a mask sprays her insurance card with a little bottle of alcohol before she sends it in, then begs you to please wash your hands and wipe down the drawer after she’s gone. She’s on her way home to self-isolate because she was just tested for the virus, you see, and she’s terrified of infecting anyone else.

Most people are so very nice. So grateful that we’re still open so that they can come in and pick up the medications that they need. There’s an uptick in anxiety medication going out. You’re not surprised.

Some people are less nice. No, you don’t have any hand sanitizer or masks. No, you don’t know when you’ll be getting more. Indeed, yes, somebody should have made sure that we didn’t run out. The customer is correct, this is an incredibly irresponsible move on somebody’s part. Probably the people who came and cleared the shelves before the restrictions were put in place, but you can’t say that. Keep smiling.

No, you inform someone. The pharmacist does not have the authority to dispense a narcotic without a prescription. Indeed, yes, we are in a state of emergency. Nevertheless, some laws still apply, which means that if you want some Vicodin, you’re still going to have to get a prescription. You’ve never seen this person before in the seven years that you’ve been at this store. It’s hard not to think that they’re attempting to take advantage of the situation as they storm off in a giant huff. You wish that this part wasn’t true.

Keep smiling. You chose to be here, rather than take the offer to stay home with no consequences other than not getting paid once the PTO runs out. You chose to stay here because, even with the retail environment and corporate overlords, you’re in the health care profession and you still take that part seriously, even if a lot of people don’t.

Panic! Attack

If you didn’t read my recent Favorite Things column over at Speculative Chic (and why not?), you may have missed me geeking out about one of my newer found loves: Panic! At the Disco.

I know, the band’s been around for a while. I’m sorry for my lateness to the party. To be fair, when the band debuted, I was obsessed with classic rock. I pretty much missed the first ten years of 2000-era music while I was listening to Queen, Pink Floyd, Def Leppard, and others. Mr. Price was the one who sparked my Panic! obsession a few years ago. As you may have read in the post that I linked to above, I came home from work one day in 2016 to Mr. Price being all excited to show me this video that had started playing while he had YouTube on in the background during his day. It was “Death of a Bachelor,” and I was utterly smitten. Behold!

And now the part where I use the “read more” tag, because I love you. Always remember that I love you. Continue reading

On Piracy And Why I’m A Little Pissy Today

So. This happened:

If you want to read the entire thread, go on. I can wait. If not, long story short: somebody took an eARC of Seanan McGuire’s Middlegame and uploaded it to a book piracy website. I am beyond infuriated at this behavior. One, because McGuire’s probably my favorite writer. I am not exaggerating when I say that I am still alive because she is still publishing books. So to see that her work is being stolen? Sends me into a fit of rage so strong that my hands are actually shaking a little right now. The person who created one of my actual lifeboats had her work stolen, and her future work jeopardized because of potentially lost sales.

Secondly? As a book blogger who is doing her damndest to read and review responsibly with NetGalley so that I can keep a good rating and keep getting access to eARCs, I am LIVID with the person who got access to Middlegame and decided to just throw it up on a piracy website. This person is endangering the entire eARC process for the rest of us. I don’t get paid to do this; this is my hobby. I spend my time reviewing books because I love them, and I want other people to read and love them as well. I have purchased copies of easily two-thirds of the books that I received early access to, because I enjoyed them that much. Some idiot, the same idiot that has done this to plenty of other authors, is potentially poisoning the well for the rest of us. Other writers have managed to convince their publishers to skip eARCs; if McGuire’s publishers decide to stop offering her work via NetGalley, I’ll live. I’ll be pissed off that one person ruined it for the rest of us, but I’ll live. And I wouldn’t blame them one bit.

Happy Valentines Day!

I didn’t plan to update today, but thought better of it. It is, as of this writing, Valentine’s Day! Yay! It’s a great day, whether you’re single or attached. Why? Let me ‘splain.

It’s a holiday devoted to love, chocolate, and sexy time. What’s not to like? Sure, you may be sitting at your computer, scowling and thinking that I’m wrong, and that’s your right. What I want to point out is this: being bitter doesn’t make anything better for YOU. It doesn’t change a damned thing in the world. All it does is make you feel miserable. If that’s what you want to do to yourself, by all means! Have at it! But don’t inflict your bitterness upon the rest of the world. Let people enjoy things. (This has become something of a mantra for me in recent years, and it applies to SO MANY THINGS.)

Trimmed for ease in scrolling and to hide the positivity from those who aren’t in the mood to see it. Because I love you. (See what I did there?) Continue reading

The Wheels on the Justice System Go Round and Round

Guess who’s got jury duty?

Time for an interesting fact about me: counting today, I’ve been called down to the courthouse for jury selection exactly three times in my life.

I am in the process of serving on my third jury.

And so, this is why there is a brief pause in my usual offering of vaguely snarky media commentary and book reviews. Fret not, that’s all coming back as soon as I can 1) catch up on the shows I’ve been missing and 2) finish reading a damned book for once.

Something about yours truly must either really appeal to attorneys or just fail to offend them enough to send me on my way. I’ve joked to my friends that I have some kind of weird curse/blessing. It’s as if my fairy godparent came down and stood over my crib, then decided that instead of a more useful blessing, they decided to curse/gift me with having to serve on every single jury that I would ever possibly be considered for. Least useful blessing ever, or possibly the lamest curse in the history.

I jest, but I genuinely don’t mind doing this. Trial by jury is an integral part of the legal process. I am, however, in the really odd position of being able to compare various courts and the accommodations that are made for jurors.

Continue reading