A quarantine is no match for this boomer’s wife!

If you think you have it bad because you’re quarantined, pity the poor wife of our favorite humor columnist, Jerry Zezima of the Hearst Connecticut Media Group and the Tribune News Service of Chicago. Because his aforementioned wife— Sue— is stuck in the house with him. As a tribute to her travails, he has just written “Diary of a Mad House Couple.” (And maybe you have a few diary entries like his.)

At the risk of being shot on sight, which is a possibility for me even under normal conditions, I am confined to my house with my lovely wife, Sue, who is beginning to wonder what would be worse: getting sick or being quarantined with me.

If you think you are bored out of your skull while confined to your house, too, read this diary.

Monday: Day one of the official hunkering down begins when Sue, a teacher’s assistant, learns that school has been canceled indefinitely.

“My job has been canceled forever,” I tell her.

“You’re retired,” she points out.

“That’s why,” I respond.

Jerry and his wife, Sue.

“What do you want to do?” Sue asks.

I wiggle my eyebrows. She rolls her eyeballs.

“Is that all you can think about?” she huffs.

“Of course not,” I say. “Sometimes I think about hockey.”

“My God,” Sue sighs. “This is going to be hell.”

Tuesday: We turn on the television to see medical experts (none of whom is a politician) tell us to wash our hands.

I go into the bathroom and follow orders. I lose count of the number of times I have lathered up, which works me into a lather because the total must exceed the entire population of Luxembourg.

“We could have our own soap opera,” I tell Sue.

She shakes her head sadly.

I paraphrase the Stealers Wheel song: “You’re stuck in the house with me.”

Sue goes to bed. Tomorrow will be another long day.

Wednesday: Sue says she has to go to the store for essentials.

“Beer and wine?” I ask.

“Soap and sanitizer,” she replies.

“Buy some lotion, too,” I say. “The skin on my hands is starting to peel off.”

“The store may be out of it,” Sue says.

“I hope not,” I say. “At this rate, I’ll bleed to death.”

Sue takes wipes and gloves with her.

“Be careful,” I say. “And don’t breathe until you get back home.”

Thursday: The situation is, of course, very serious. Tens of thousands are infected and many have already died. But I am starting to get really annoyed at newscasters and politicians who urge me to follow strict guidelines “out of an abundance of caution.”

“As opposed to what?” I ask Sue. “A minimum of it?”

I also have noticed that everyone in the United States — except me — now has a medical degree. They’re all experts in what I should or shouldn’t do and do not hesitate to say that whatever I have been doing to stay safe is totally wrong.

I hope the real doctors find a vaccine soon.

Friday: It has been five days since Sue and I have been quarantined. While we have been happily married for almost 42 years, we are starting to get on each other’s nerves.

“Togetherness is nice,” she says, “but there is such a thing as too much of it.”

“Just wait until you’re retired,” I say.

“If this is what retirement will be like,” Sue tells me, “I may have to get a part-time job.”

“Get one in a liquor store,” I say. “We’re almost out of wine.”

Saturday: I go to the pharmacy to pick up a prescription. The pharmacist is wearing a mask.

“Are you robbing the place?” I ask her.

She smiles (I think) and says, “No. This is out of an abundance of caution.”

I stifle a scream, pay for the medicine and make a beeline out of there.

Sunday: I tell Sue that we can’t go to church.

“We haven’t gone in years,” she reminds me.

Instead, we give each other the sign of peace and share a kiss.

“We’re pretty lucky,” I say.

“Yes, we are,” Sue replies sweetly. “Now wash your hands.”

Copyright 2020 by Jerry Zezima


Jerry’s latest book is, “Nini and Poppie’s Excellent Adventures: Grandkids, Wine Clubs, and Other Ways to Keep Having Fun.”


  1. Haha! Very funny, really enjoyed that! I’d like the author to write a follow-up a month from now: We’ve been quarantined since 10 March, practically a whole month and it won’t end until 13 April (if it does). Yes, you guessed it, we’re in Italy! We’ve also been married 42 years and I can report that we’re still happy together in spite of the one-month quarantine! I guess you could say that’s a REAL test for a marriage!

    1. Thank you, Claude. My wife and I just celebrated our 42nd anniversary by temporarily getting out of the house and taking a romantic trip to the dump. It will, of course, be fodder for another column. And I may, indeed, write a follow-up to this one. Enjoy Italy and each other. And be well. Ciao!

  2. I’m personally glad that you’re still alive, as it gives me reason to believe I may survive this too. With a spouse teleworking all of a sudden, there’s a bit of tiptoeing around that I haven’t had to do before and a matching bit of toe-stubbing learning curve.

    In the words of a FB meme: Enough with the handwashing, take a shower!
    Another one: Dilbert: On the 4th day of telecommuting I realize that clothes are totally unnecessary.
    Another: When you start feeling bad, remember Bill is quarantined with Hilary.

    I think I found your selfie-video? https://www.facebook.com/P2BPb/videos/668276720670139/?v=668276720670139

    1. Thank you, Denver. I’m glad I am still alive, too, and I know you’ll survive as well. It hasn’t been easy (on my wife, that is), but at least we’re not like the couple in the video. They’re clearly having a ruff time.

  3. Thanks for sharing your funny thoughts at a very difficult time. Whoever said “take a shower instead of washing hands”…well, I do both and actually feel the safest and calmest while in the shower! Good health to all.

    1. You’re very welcome, Sherrill. Thank YOU for the nice comment. My wife already says I take long showers, but now I can tell her I’m washing my hands.

  4. On the other hand, since you’re retired, you might be(like me) loving being in your house every day instead of, say, standing on the train platform at 7 a.m. and coming home in the dark. Quarantine has been like every other month except I can’t go to out to lunch to hear old men do “medical chat” at the bar!

    1. You’re right, Preston: I love being in my house every day instead of going to work. My wife loves it, too, but she has to do video conferencing. And, of course, she has to put up with my stupid jokes. I’ve always been out to lunch, but I don’t do the “medical chat” thing. Thanks, Preston. Be well, keep smiling and enjoy retirement.

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