8:30am DEAR DIARY, It’s day 4 of the NATIONAL EMERGENCY and a slow panic is starting to set in. I’ve run out of Cheetos and Oreos and I’m not sure how much longer I can hang on without venturing across the street to the grocery store. But I expect that the shelves will be as empty as a Russian meat market. When I peek out my window everything looks normal, which scares the living hell out of me. But wait. It’s Monday morning and… wait, there are no families walking to school as they normally would be. This is what I mean by the panic setting in. On Friday when the declaration was declared, families picked their kids up from schools everywhere without a panic, because it was all so new. But now on Monday, they’re panicking and keeping their kids home from school because it’s a real NATIONAL EMERGENCY. Makes sense. Wait. Shit. I just read that it’s President’s Day. Shit. No school today. Shit.
12:01pm. DEAR DIARY, I open the blinds to see absolutely no sign of any emergency whatsoever. Nada. They are doing a very good job of hiding it. Like that movie The Truman Show. It seems that everyone on my street is acting like everything is normal. A little bit too normal. Where are their helmets?, I wonder. It’s a NATIONAL EMERGENCY, for God’s sake. They should have helmets. Costumes aside, they’re such good actors here in LA. I wonder if the people of Smalltown Wyoming, who have never had an acting class, are as convincing that everything’s business as usual in this NATIONAL EMERGENCY?
9:02pm. DEAR DIARY, I’ve been crouching on my kitchen floor for hours eating dog food. It grows on you, actually. But, I venture over to the grocery store dressed naturally and everybody is still acting very calm. Like nothing is going on. I stayed low between the cars as I inched carefully toward the store’s entrance. Good actors everyone. Inside there’s no sign of any emergency. I know if the pop tarts are all gone that we have a serious problem on our hands. /that would mean that everybody knows how dire this is, when they’re stocking up on pop tarts. That shows a blatant disregard for one’s own health, a certain hopelessness. You stock up on carrot juice if you plan to survive the emergency, on pop tarts if you’re not planning on seeing the other side. There are plenty of pop tarts, which I take as a sign that life as we know it will indeed go on. I grab a box of strawberry with white icing and I pay with pennies because I had assumed their credit card machines would be down. They weren’t, yet. I returned home to find that I still have power. I put my pop tart in the mini-toaster and turned off the kitchen light. I crouch down on the floor in the orange glow of the toaster oven. I am glad I have electricity and food. For now. It’s an emergency.
8:16am. DEAR DIARY. Day 5 of our NATIONAL EMERGENCY. I peeked out of the blinds and can see parents are walking their kids to school today. They must think the schools are still open. Maybe they are. Maybe just to keep us all calm, they’ve been smart enough to keep the schools all going to keep us busy. Genius. I’m rationing my pop tarts today, not assuming there will be food when I go back to the grocery store later in the NATIONAL EMERGENCY
11:18pm DEAR DIARY, I found some raisins and made them into bullets. I loaded them in to my .22. Let’s hope I don’t have to use it. NATIONAL EMERGENCIES are not for sissies.
8:58am. DEAR DIARY, I have ventured out in my car. I decided to play along and go to an Arts Ed event in Beverly Hills as if there is no NATIONAL EMERGENCY. But there clearly is an emergency. The traffic in LA is stopped. Nobody is moving. 30 minutes at a single stop light. CLEARLY AN EMERGENCY. I should’ve brought my raisin gun for my road rage.
6:51am DEAR DIARY, It’s the one-week anniversary of our NATIONAL EMERGENCY, and frankly I’m way ahead of the game. None of my neighbors have even taped plastic sheeting over their windows yet. Procrastinators. I’ve gathered up all the twigs on my street and have plenty of kindling for when the power goes out and I have to cook over the fire. And I’ve bought up all the chocolate fudge flavored Boost drinks at the grocery store so I don’t have to eat dog food over the weekend. Today I’ll set up my tent in the backyard. It’s an EMERGENCY, people.
9:45am DEAR DIARY, It’s day 8 of our NATIONAL EMERGENCY and I decided I’d better buy some camouflage clothing, you know, just in case. In Los Angeles true camouflage would mean dressing like a car, but since Target doesn’t sell Tesla costumes, I head for my local funky army surplus store. These old surplus stores are perfect for any emergency; Gas masks, water purification tablets, utility knives, camouflage everything, army helmets with people’s names written inside of them. But when I get there, it’s gone. That old army surplus store right across from the courthouse that had been there forever… is now a hamburger joint. What? That can’t be. For 30 years I’ve never actually needed anything in that crazy store, now when the world is ending and I actually need tent stakes and wool underwear they’re sellin’ double cheeseburgers!
I sit in my car hyperventilating, then pull myself together and drive to the other big army surplus store in Hollywood. An hour in NATIONAL EMERGENCY traffic +30 mins in pre-Oscar traffic = 90 minutes in traffic only to find… what? This one is gone too?! Condos sit there laughing at me! What the hell? Is it too much to ask in a NATIONAL f’ing EMERGENCY to have a weird old army surplus store, where the clothes have already been worn and smell like mildew from WW2? I need camo gloves with leaves on them, dammit! It is not easy to prepare properly for a NATIONAL EMERGENCY in 2019 Los Angeles when they seem to have closed down all those bizarre army surplus stores. What good does a 6-story condo building with inadequate parking do you in a real emergency when you just need a pair of goggles and a corporal’s hat? I head back to the valley with camouflage nothing. Another hour to get thru the hostless Oscar fiasco + another 30 mins back to the surplus/burger joint. If you can’t beat ‘em join ‘em. I order a bacon cheeseburger figuring the bacon will help me end this NATIONAL NIGHTMARE one bite sooner.
9:33am DEAR DIARY, So here’s the thing. Some people try to be good citizens, you know, and prepare for emergencies, especially a NATIONAL EMERGENCY. And some of us even prepare extra well so that we can help others during said emergency. But some of us, who are well prepared, are starting to feel the scorn of those less prepared. Jealousy perhaps? Preparation envy? Maybe the sandbags in front of my garage door were a bit much. And I’ll admit that the barb-wire around the perimeter of my yard could be viewed as unwelcoming, which is the entire point in a NATIONAL EMERGENCY btw. If my Homeowners Association busybodies had even bothered to climb under the razor wire and over the moat, they would have seen for themselves that they are only PLASTIC ALLIGATORS in that hand-dug moat, which I felt very lucky to have found on ebay on day 2 of this NATIONAL EMERGENCY.
7:31pm Yesterday I decided to treat myself and allow myself just a little bit of normalcy during this NATIONAL EMERGENCY. The sun was out and no tanks were in the streets so I watched the Oscars, just like in normal times. I ran a long extension cord from the house to the tent in the backyard, where I moved the big screen TV a few days ago to make me feel more at home. But clearly I should not have let my guard down. Some of my neighbors who obviously know that I’m in show business, clearly knew I’d never miss the Academy Awards, even in a NATIONAL EMERGENCY, even without a host. So they took advantage of my successful career. When I took a break from my special screening tent after the Queen song and went out front to check the moat, some wiseass neighbors of mine had breached the barb-wire in the driveway and stole my 6-foot plastic alligators, which I had nicknamed Bonnie and Clyde. I know it had only been a week, but they were like family. Now if that wasn’t bad enough, to add insult to injury my extremely inconsiderate so-called Homeowners Association cowards replaced them with two ridiculous garden gnomes, one with the tip of his stupid little pointed hat broken off. To be sure, they are NO Bonnie and Clyde! I want my crocs back, dammit!
8:34am This NATIONAL EMERGENCY has proven to be quite mild thus far; no looting, no flooding, no tanks in the streets. It’s been a week and a half and I still don’t know what I’m protecting myself from. I go into the backyard tent and turn on cable news for clarity. Nine hours and 22 blood-pressure points later, all I know is that Rudy Guilliani is crazy. So, I make REWARD signs for Bonnie and Clyde and staple them to all of the telephone poles in my neighborhood. It’s a good thing I have the seller photo of them from ebay. I staple them right under the LOST CAT signs for Romeo, a tabby who had last been seen on Cantaloupe Street on Christmas Eve. Clearly Romeo went out on his own free will looking for a Juliet, while Bonne and Clyde were KIDNAPPED without any say-so in the matter. I put letters in every mailbox on my street asking to review security camera footage from all homes who have cameras. Somebody‘s got footage of these smartasses walking away with Bonnie… with two man-sized reptiles, and I’m gonna find them! And while I’m putting the flyers in mailboxes you’d better believe that I’m also inconspicuously looking to see if there’s a bare spot in anyone’s yard, where there might have been a broken gnome at one time. After the entire neighborhood is flyered, I get online and try to find a chiropractor. Digging that moat killed my back.