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In order to start, I need to end... where was I?

Dan Dare... Fantastic Four?


Wait!  I was underwater. Yes, that must be it! No, something is wrong here...

Let's try to go back.



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Oh no, way too soon.

Let's try this again...





Spider-Man shirt and "Fonzie" pose from 1976.

That's not going to cut it.

How about here?




Wait, that's like 1984... I think I'm closing in though.




Damn. Too current.




Wait, this looks familiar!

Maybe we're getting closer?




Now we're talking!

Or are we?




What the hell is going on here?!




This isn't me. Maybe I wish it was, but nope, not me.




Ok, I get it...






... No, no and no. Well... ok, no.




Stan the Man.




Yes, we're back on track... that's me!





Go away...




Yes, that's it... focus in on that!



No, wait... too far back again!




Same direction... :(




Yes... keep going forward from there.





Oh My God... do we have to?!









So you really want to go from 2020 to 1995?






Oh, right there...  stop!























Rewind some more...








50th birthday was nice but need to get further back!




Too far, once again.




Wait, what?!














... Straight ahead.

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Edited by Hibou
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It's July of 2018... 

I just figured out out how my wife and I along with our daughter will be able to see this 'once in a lifetime' exhibit of David Bowie.  We drove for 4 hours from Upstate NY, it was a great day but damn, the tolls are expensive.  No matter - it would be expensive, regardless.


So... we're here.


Wait! We can't get in?!


I get it..."Capacity".


We'll wait.


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July 7th of 2018 was a nice day for a roadtrip. For my wife's birthday I told her we'd go to Brooklyn to see the Bowie exhibit at the Brooklyn Museum. The exhibit was called 'David Bowie Is' and had been going on since March. This was the second to the last weekend of the exhibit so it was a now or never thing. We packed up the car early in the morning and my wife, daughter and I headed south.

I didn't plan anything ahead... I figured we would just go down there, get the tickets, go in and see the exhibit and then maybe I would have a chance to sneak over to Red Hook to check out some breweries. Maybe even grab something for my friend, Rob.

In 2018, I was more about beer than comics.

It wasn't that hot on this July day. As a matter of fact, the temperature was in the high 70's when we arrived at the museum. We parked easily enough in the museum's parking lot... I think it was $15. When we walked up to the front of the museum, we saw that we'd have to wait a bit to get in. The line was long... very long!

It didn't matter though. For my wife, this was more like a pilgrimage to be able to see this exhibit. I was certainly excited to see it too. My daughter was along for the ride but she definitely appreciates things like this. 

Our wait in line went from 15 minutes, to 30 minutes... then to an hour. We were getting closer to where we'd finally be able to get tickets. A long wait indeed but I think this would be worth it!




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As the wait to buy tickets continued to get longer and longer, I realized that our time here in NYC was quickly fading and that any other chance of going anywhere else was fading as well. This was a day trip after all and we hadn't made plans for a stay over anywhere... (a trip down to NYC from Central NY usually takes just over 4 hours each way). As we got closer to the counter where we would finally be able to get tickets, I started to sense a bit of commotion brewing about. It was then that the message passed through those in the queue, as if in an assembly line...

"They're sold out".

I was dazed and confused. (No, I won't post the video but, yes... it's going through my head right now.)

Now what?!

I was upset... disappointed but most of all, heartbroken that my wife wouldn't be able to see the exhibit.

"There has to be a way, there's always a way!", I thought to myself.

And so, with that mantra running through my head, I cut ahead of all the dejected fans that were still mingling about and approached the desk. I can't remember all of the details right now but there was something I had noticed in reading all of the literature and brochures I had while waiting in this line. When I talked to the attendant at the ticket counter I basically reduced the conversation to asking "Is there any way...?" And this was where I thought there was a 'loop hole' for lack of a better term.

Well, there was.

I was informed that (magically) there was room for museum "members".

And so, after a quick calculation I asked, "So, you're telling me that we can still see the exhibit if we're members?"

The answer was yes.

How sad is it that money always seems to settle the issue?

So... two year long memberships (understanding that my daughter would get in free as a 'guest' and we're in?  It took some arguing with my wife that I wasn't about to drive back home at this point and so I did just that.  Our $50 tickets just turned into $200. I signed us up for two year long memberships and then just like that, there was space for us at this exhibit.

This is an experience I'll never forget as sad as it was.


(I'll hold off on the Pink Floyd for the moment...)

So at this point I thought to myself that at least we were 'in the clear'...

Not so quick.

We made our way up those staircases to the floor that the exhibit was on and then it hit... "Oh, there's a HUGE wait still..."

They weren't kidding downstairs. There are a ton of people up here. The temperature inside, with all these people was up 20 degrees at least from outside. Ok, well... we made it this far, right? Let's just use some patience and we'll get in. Soon. Soon...

There were so many people. We're all crammed in on top of each other, breathing on one another, talking to one another... offering water to one another.

All for David Bowie.

And this is where it hit me. Our experience was just as important to us as it was to everyone else up here that was waiting in this now sweltering environment

After yet another hour, we started to close to the secondary entrance to the exhibit. We could see graphics acknowledging just that.

We're at the precipice... after this, we're in!

We show our new membership ID information and then finally... we're in David Bowie's history.  His world... his timeline.

And it couldn't have been more fantastic.

"Put on these headphones and it will guide you through the exhibit."

That we did and instantly we were transported to the world and life of David Jones.

The first few lines of this entered your headspace from left to right.

It was amazing!








Edited by Hibou
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At the end of the exhibit, I got to purchase some memorabilia for my wife and that made me happy. After the fantastic exhibit, I still had "Life on Mars" going through my head.

I left the museum early as I told my wife and daughter that I would get the car... a brewery was right across the street from where we parked so I thought I'd grab a quick drink on the way out.

It was wonderful!





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This was pretty much the epitome of 2018... no comics but plenty of music.

Especially David Bowie!

My favorite of his (after long deliberation!).


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Watch "David Bowie - Glass Spider" on YouTube


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... ok, maybe having to choose a favorite is a little difficult. There are just way too many favorites!

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So much has happened since 2018.

The David Bowie exhibit was a nice starting point as it gave a very powerful juxtaposition to the world we live in today. Trying to think back, 2018 was just another year - same job, same goals on a month to month basis...  just the same all the way around. Going back through my texts, it appears that my friend Rob and I had made many attempts to collaborate on a project as he's very artistic and creative in the sense that (over many beers) we once speculated on what Marvel Comics would've been like if we took the roles of Stan Lee and Jack Kirby.

Needless to say, the results usually end up the same...




One of these days though, something amazing will come of this!

Now based on where I left off on the last journal in this series, it was around this time that I was able to (re) purchase a book that I had regrettably sold at the end of my underwater 'Rusty Staples / Sunken Treasure' theme.

I had decided to sell off that collection and focus on the Fantastic Four for a while. As I had mentioned here before, I was able to put together a very nice collection of FF (that I really wish I had now for monetary reasons!) but I wasn't able to maintain the enthusiasm about it like I had with my underwater books.  Looking back, I think it was because I had acquired them too fast and there weren't any stories associated with them. I remember I bought a huge collection from my local comic shop filled with issues from the mid 1960's all the way through to the amazing John Byrne run.  It was about a long box worth of books.  In addition to that, I had quickly acquired the first 3 issues... #1 was a CGC 1.0, #2 was a CGC 3.0 and #3 was a CGC 3.5.  Again, all books I wish I had today.  When I sold off the collection (some here and some elsewhere), Marvel still didn't have possession of it's flagship characters. Once I heard that they were going to reacquire them, I knew I had made a terrible miscalculation.

As usual.

All this being said, right around this time, I saw that my local comic shop had a book for sale that looked very familiar to me and based on some current trends at that time, I quickly realized that I had to work fast in order to correct yet another mistake I had made in my never ending comic collecting adventures.

Thankfully, the owner of this comic shop was more than willing to work with me and so, with that, I was able to undo a terrible mistake!

Edited by Hibou
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So just to take this journal from the past to the (nearly) current, as I dissolved the underwater collection, I kept just a handful of books for one reason or another. Some were gifts that I would never part with and others just had a pull on me that I couldn't explain.

I've written extensively on these books so I'm sure it would not be too hard to figure out the appeal of them to me.

Just as a reminder, this whole journal started with my friend giving me this Wonder Woman 60 book as a gift, which of course I still have.




This is where my collection stood in 2018 / 2019...








That was it.


Until I saw this book at my local comic shop.

It cost me almost twice as much as I remember selling it for but (again), it was a lesson learned.


Edited by Hibou
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I love looking at this image because it makes me think of how, as an artist, one goes about making corrections until you get that perfect picture!




Jerry Robinson's story fascinates me and it wasn't until reading this book that I realized that!




We had gone to Strands in NYC and I found this book used... I had to get it!

I learned much about Jerry Robinson and I now realize that a lot of what has attracted to me to comics is certainly a result of his work.  His name should be up there with the likes of Siegel and Shuster, Bob Kane, Bill Finger... Lee and Kirby, Steve Ditko.

From Wiki:

Sherrill David Robinson (January 1, 1922 – December 7, 2011), known as Jerry Robinson, was an American comic book artist known for his work on DC Comics' Batman line of comics during the 1940s. He is best known as the co-creator of Robin and the Joker and for his work on behalf of creators' rights.

He was inducted into the Comic Book Hall of Fame in 2004.


How in the world could I have sold my favorite cover from a favorite artist?! I have no explanation and I had no explanation.  All I knew is that I had to reclaim this book of mine and that I did. 

It cost me the proverbial 'arm and a leg' but is now the keystone to my collection!

I hope I never decide to part with it again as it is only one of three signed copies on the CGC census... this being right in the middle.

Thank you, Mike, of Collectibles Galore for allowing me the opportunity to repurchase this book!




And with this, my underwater collection was done.

The books that I needed, remained in my hands and now it was time to go forward and advance my collection!


Edited by Hibou
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Looking back at 2019, for me, it was certainly a bit different... some sadness and some happiness all revolving around each other while producing this syncopated beat that just kind of guided me along.

A big personal blow came to me towards the middle of April when I had learned that the one person directly responsible for my interest in collecting comics, had passed away. 

I had just talked to him a year prior and he wanted to get my contact information as he was hoping to gather together local pop culture fans, enthusiasts and personalities to form a type of living museum for all to one day gather together and enjoy stories of a time slipping by.

Sadly, that day never came.

In my previous journals, I talked about Mike Sagert and the impression he left with me from back in the early days of the 1980's.

He was a good man... a good person.

Still today, I think of those memories I treasure of finding the wonderment of this hobby for the 1st time as well as the 78th time and most if it traces back to him and the shop that he had. 

The local free paper here had a nice write up following his passing and it's probably the best way to conclude this entry...








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Although I've posted these before, these are the remaining memories I have of those comic conventions mentoned in the articles from over 35 years ago...








I asked for a picture of Ronald Reagan as Wolverine...










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I'm so thankful that our smartphones can categorize our photos by date and year...

Continuing on, 2019 was certainly a year of sadness and happiness for me. As I scroll though these pictures, there is so much that I chose to forget about, yet so much that I remember fondly.

Starting off... the Spring and Summer of 2019 was very nice, my daughter was going to her 1st prom and there would of course be major expenses with that. It was a nice memory at the moment. As the summer advanced, I got to have a few beers with my pal and as usual... "What would Stan and Jack do?!" lol




Later that year, I attended a local comic con and got to meet (once again) Joe Sinnott and his son, Mark. 

Sadly, this would be the last opportunity I would have with Joe. I wore a Rams T-Shirt to the convention and as it turned out, his son Mark was / is a huge Rams fan as well and so with that, he offered this notation on the print I purchased from them. Little did I know at the time what this last convention would mean.




Edited by Hibou
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As the book started to close on 2019, looking back, it was a time filled with mostly good memories with a bit of a heartbreak mixed in. Overall, just good times with family and friends.

The autumn months were mostly spent visiting colleges as my daughter would be graduating the next year and she had narrowed her choices to 4 nearby schools. Ultimately, the one she chose was the one we visited on the most picture perfect fall day. It was going to be expensive but I felt confident that somehow we would be able to make this work for her.







In November of 2019 I turned 50 and that wasn't really a big deal for me but at the same time, it was.

When I was 14, I didn't think I would live to see 30 because I thought the planet would be destroyed in a nuclear war... anyways... lol

My favorite band of all time is Led Zeppelin and although my wife couldn't take me to see them, she took me to see the next best thing, the cover band, Get The Led Out.  This isn't my video but it's the day and location of the event.  In my opinion, they perfectly recreated the arrangements of the entire play set while the lead vocalist maintained his own artistic flair.

It was awesome!






As the holidays approached, my work schedule became very busy as it had from year to year... it was always like a race to the end with the the end being Christmas and fulfilling non stop deliveries. For my family, Christmas is just the happiest time of year for us as it gives us all the opportunity to visit with one another and there are always so many family members to visit with. It also meant some time off from work and with that, time to sit back and relax and think about the past year and the excitement of the year to come. For us, as a family, 2020 was going to be a spectacular year... one to remember! My daughter was graduating from high school and she would be going off to college... although we knew that would be a sad moment for us too.




I've tried to make it a bit of a tradition to come up with a holiday cocktail for some of the adults to enjoy and for Christmas of 2019, I thought I would turn to an old friend. I found a recipe that called for Absente (a kind of 'gimmicky' Absinthe, for lack of a better term) and this was part of what would be used in 'The Grinch'.

Yes, The Grinch would be this year's annual Christmas cocktail.

And so, on Christmas Eve, after the presents were wrapped, I borrowed a bit of the Absente, revisited the ritual and enjoyed the 'Silent Night' of this wintry evening.









Then on Christmas day of 2019, more towards the evening, The Grinch made its appearance at my In-Law's Christmas party...




I can tell you that it was not popular although a couple of us did like it but it was fun and it was Christmas... 2019 was coming to a pleasant end.




Edited by Hibou
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The new year came in right on schedule. The chaos of the holidays now behind us, it was time to get ready for 2020! I still had to meet up with my friend for our annual Christmas get together / gift exchange / beer fest but that was still a couple of weeks away... a good thing too, because I still needed to acquire some 'parts'.

The second week in January, we heard about this Alphonse Mucha exhibit that was nearby and so we decided to make a day of it and go.

It was a fantastic show with over 80 pieces from his printed commercial pieces to his original drawings and designs. I was very happy to have been able to see this and both my wife and daughter greatly enjoyed it too. The one part of viewing original art that I enjoy the most is being able to see the detail and try to see the thought behind it... the mistakes and the corrections which ultimately creates that perfect picture as I mentioned with the Jerry Robinson: Detective Comics 70 cover.

Of course I couldn't help to think about all the comic artists that adopted this style and have used it beautifully, such as Adam Hughes...




(Images taken from: https://bleedingcool.com/comics/adam-hughes-homage-to-alphonse-mucha/ )


We spent a few hours going through this exhibit as I tried to take in as much of this opportunity as I could.  It was a terrific day altogether and a great start to 2020... this was going to be a good year!























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And so, the day arrived... my big get together with my best friend.

I had acquired all the pieces, assembled the gift and lit the fuse.

It was time!

We would agree to meet at a local brewery but this time there would be a twist!



You see, this time he would have to guess the gift I gave him or face the consequences... and that would be, his car blowing up!

Yes, I assembled a true to life, shark repellent Bat Bomb!








I made a game... over beers. I placed the 'Bat Bomb' in his car and explained what we were doing before heading into the brewery. He would have to guess the gift based on the clues and puzzle pieces or he would witness his car blowing up while sipping a pint! lol



It sounded like so much fun at the time!


There was just one thing though...


I forgot how to spell Cesar Romero.


This was the gift he had to guess, yet at one crucial part of the puzzle... I misspelled  R O M E R O.







And so, while he guessed the gift (but didn't) he actually won the day and I wasn't able to blow up his car. :(





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This is where things get weird.

I've been holding off on writing this next part because we all know what happens here.

It's almost like this:

"The last thing I remember is my friend and I were drinking beers at the brewery..."

So Rob and I were discussing the sickness of Art Adams' Instagram posts and how he can just decide to do an amazing piece whenever he wants. We were talking about these Batman 'Black and White' mini statues and how he wanted to get the Mike Mignola one. The beers were delicious and the popcorn was an option but needed. The weather was normal, as it would be on any midwinter day here in January.

And so with that, January was about to come to an end as I enjoyed my Christmas gift that he got for me which was a nice bottle of 12 year Tullamore Dew!



Not my picture, but it sure would be nice if it were!

(Taken from: https://www.whiskeysidekick.com/whiskeyreviews/reviews/2017/3/15/ws-review-tullamore-dew-12-year-old-special-reserve-whiskey )


One last thing remained before January was to be put to a rest and that was going to be quite a unique proposal (actually, it turned out to be an extraordinary gift) from my daughter. There was a pop group performing at Madison Square Garden that she and her good friend wanted to see and so, some weeks prior to the event, she approached my wife and I with this offer... if we would take the two of them to NYC to go to this concert, she (in return) would agree to pay for the tickets for her and her friend as well as paying for the 2 hotel rooms for the 4 of us. With that, we realized just how important of an event this was for her and so we agreed. We would drive down to NYC on the morning of the concert, check in to the hotel rooms and then go from there.

Everything was falling into place nicely - there was this weird thing we were hearing about on the news about this virus but everything was going to be fine. 

We had been to NYC dozens of times and this wouldn't be any different. The concert was at the very end of January and there was talk about people starting to wear masks in the bigger cities as a precaution.

Yeah, that wasn't going to happen.

We would go in and get out as we had so many times.

The day of the concert was actually a very nice one... the weather was pleasant for the end of January but a little cold as we headed out early that morning. About half way down to NYC, it was driving me nuts that I was driving a salt wagon (the car being covered in NYS road salt) and so I insisted on getting the car washed as the roads were dry and then I could continue on with peace of mind.

We got to the city in good time and got to the hotel with ease. Well, ease in NYC terms is debatable.  She did very well with picking out the hotel as it was the Hotel Pennsylvania which is right across the street from the Garden. Unfortunately, she didn't realize that the hotel did not have their own parking facilities as that was something she never encountered before. That was fine though as we found a parking garage a block over... expensive but convenient.  We weren't planning on going uptown anyways for anything so we just parked there and did everything else by foot. My daughter and her friend had made arrangements to meet some other online friends at a nearby coffee shop and so as they did that, my wife and I just walked around until the gates opened at MSG.




They all got in without too much delay and so after that, my wife and I walked around a bit more to do some nearby sightseeing and then finally decided to get a pizza and head back up to the hotel until the concert was over.  At this point we were getting exhausted. I was even able to find a beer that I hadn't tried before...





A couple of hours later, I told my wife that I would go and meet the girls outside of the Garden as they were leaving. That part proved to be a bit challenging as there seemed to be multiple exits from which the crowds were departing. I think that was the only time I started getting a little nervous but thank goodness for cell phones!

I took the girls to get some pizza at the same place we got ours and then went back to the hotel to call it a night. The next day we would plan to go to a few shops that my daughter wanted to check out and after that, we would head back home. It was an exciting but exhausting day and we all needed to get some sleep...

Easier said than done for me.

Prior to this, I had never stayed in a hotel right in Manhattan and I couldn't stop gazing out of the window and reflecting on the chaos of the city below while secured in this nice hotel room. I was brought back to all those nightly visitations to the World Trade Center (described in the previous journal) I had made over 30 years ago while at the Kubert School. And I also couldn't escape realizing that simply looking down below to Macy's, in a way, transcended time itself. I couldn't help but to feel that if this moment was actually 1942, there was a good chance that what my eyes were seeing now in 2020, would be identical to that of another time.

The lights would be different of course.

Not so abrasive.




I needed to get to sleep...




The next morning started out well. All rested, it was time to grab a quick breakfast... I really craved an 'Everything' Bagel and my wife wanted some McDonald's coffee so I went out early to get those. Shortly after I got back, the girls were ready so we we got our luggage together and walked the block to the parking garage after getting our complimentary orange juice, coffee and muffin. Right before we left the room, I made a quick, silly sketch to give to my daughter...



We were able to get to the first couple of shops that my daughter wanted to go to and we then made our way to Chinatown where there was one last shop that she really wanted to get to.

The Lower Manhattan traffic down there was insane!

There was a lot of energy and extra traffic surrounding the courthouse (I believe it was because of the Weinstein case) and that kind of made Chinatown next to impossible to navigate. We spent two whole hours going all around lower Manhattan trying to find some parking with none to be found. I was getting so angry as the time was slipping away. The last thing my daughter wanted to do was to go to this shop and I couldn't find a single parking spot. If it was just my daughter and my wife, I would've dropped them off and met up with them, but because we were responsible for someone else's daughter as well, I didn't feel like that was an option at all. 

I was so upset and so disappointed

How could there be so many people here in this area?

Yes... I understood where we were but couldn't there be just a little less people out and about? Couldn't we get some of that time back that had vanished while driving around?

Was that too much to ask?!




And that was our last visit to NYC.

Our last time.




Edited by Hibou
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January comes to an end...

Life is good and much to look forward to.

The past few weeks were wonderful for my family and I... especially for my daughter who had been through more than I had hoped for but ultimately was able to enjoy and experience something of what I'll call as of this entry, "The old World". As the days in January passed and progressed to February, my mind is starting to reconfigure to what will be this new reality when she's gone away to college and starting her own life. The days of silly jokes and silly drawings are... well, drawing to a close. The days (of which at one time I sadly took for granted) are slowing. She has an actual job now working at a supermarket and she's making her own money which is something I'm very proud of.  Maybe her mother and I did something right... I think we did.

One of my favorite Jimi Hendrix covers from Hellblazer... I mean Sting.



In terms of what Jimi Hendrix was talking about when he wrote this beautiful song, I'm taken by this...

He described "Little Wing" as being "based on a very, very simple Indian style",perhaps referring to some Native American mythologies in which spirits inhabit nature and animals, including birds. In one interview, he saw it as self-explanatory: "That's exactly what it's about, like 'She's walking through the clouds'"

(From: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Little_Wing )





And so, January ended and February advanced.

What was there to lose?



Edited by Hibou
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February begins.

The Superbowl is here.

Things are starting to get 'different' out there...


It's my father's birthday and we'll go over there and have a visit and then go to a small Superbowl party.

Wait, what?!

The Chiefs came back?





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This next part is where we all will have our own personal stories and experiences to tell. For many of us, these won't be memories that we'll wish to hold on to (or retell) but for others, they will almost feel as ubiquitous as when we hear the phrase, "Where were you when _____________".

Kennedy was shot.

We landed on the Moon.


For me, the first images and video I began to see online made this appear as some sort of weird propaganda campaign coming out of China. Images of teams of people in hazmat suits spraying some kind of aerosol on public transportation were followed by videos of small 'tanks' spraying disinfectant throughout some of China's cities.






At first I had a feeling that this was something different but not quite sure what exactly. Was it just some kind of manipulated propaganda? Was it real... was there an ulterior motive?

But then we heard the news turning ominous as this virus was now being reported across parts of northern Italy and then Spain.

Soon it was being reported on the West Coast here in the US and then on the East Coast. Then, like dominoes, you started to see everything fall.

One by one.

For us here in Upstate New York, March 12th, 2020 was one of my "Do you remember where you were" moments. It was Thursday and I had been hearing that things were starting to close in different parts of the country and of course the primary concern was schools, especially colleges where you had kids from all parts of the country and world at all of these different universities. I had heard some chatter during the day that they may have to cancel or postpone classes. Kind of interesting and kind of scary but still distant enough for me.

I had finished up at work around 9pm that night and so my wife and I headed out to pickup my daughter from work at the large grocery store here.

We pulled into the parking lot at 9:20pm.

I turned to my wife...

"Holy $#!+, what the hell is going on?!"

Normally, there would be maybe a dozen cars tops in the parking lot at this hour.

The lot was filled as you would expect to see in the afternoon right before a major holiday.

We didn't wait in the car for our daughter to come out like we usually did... we both quickly walked in.




At that moment - the world had changed.



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When we entered the store, at first it just seemed 'busy' but it didn't take long to evaluate the severity of what was going on once I saw the lines of people. We quickly found my daughter at the register and I asked her if she was about done and how long things had been this way. She said she would be relieved shortly by someone else coming in and that the situation had been this way for a couple of hours in her view. My wife and I waited for her to punch out and then we all just stood there for a moment to take in the moment. In Upstate New York we had been through many heavy winter storms and such that would make people flock to the grocery stores to stock up on the essentials but this was something entirely different. On this night, at this moment, we had witnessed something we had never seen before. The shelves were being emptied. Now this grocery store was one of the chain's crown jewels in terms of selection, stock and your overall shopping experience but on this night, that was no longer the case. Stock workers were rushing out with pallets of whatever they had in the back room as customers loaded up their carts with... well... everything!

My family had a quick discussion and we decided we would join in and basically 'blow the budget' in one night. 

This was when we got sucked into the panic buying mode of this...




Again, most everyone has a similar story but there's just one more experience I have to share that, for me, encompassed this entire event.

We were in the soup aisle and there was a group of people all trying to get the same things left on the top shelf. Most everyone was being courteous allowing each to get what they wanted one at a time. I was simply watching at this point until this one woman stepped up to grab an item at the same time someone else wanted to as well. She stepped back to allow this person to get what they needed but then remarked (with a smile) "Go right ahead, it's okay... WE'RE ALL IN THIS TOGETHER."

When I heard this, I (maybe physically) recoiled.

At that moment I thought to myself, 'Oh my God, that's going to be the phrase, that's the program!'

I told my wife and daughter I had to go.  At the end of the aisle, when they met up with me, they asked if I was OK. I simply answered that I couldn't do this and it was starting to get to me.

It was more than that though... and it's still hard to explain now.

We might've spent a couple of hours in there that night, getting home well after midnight.

My next day into work, I told my dispatchers that I hoped they didn't need anything at the grocery store. Perplexed, they asked why and then I told them about what happened the night before. I could see on their faces that they had no idea what had happened either.

The world had changed.

Lille did I know that this was only the beginning...



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