Monday, April 13. New York is gone, will Albion and Sidney be next? Skowhegan? Oh, the horror!

I can’t think about it now, because the angry God of the Old Testament — who is punishing us with this virus like the one he smacked the pharaoh with for Moses — is hitting us with another windstorm.

There haven’t been any frogs and snakes dropping from the sky yet, but who knows? Where’s our Moses to part this raging sea? I’ll settle for Aaron. Is there an app for Aaron?

I’m on deadline, and the power’s out. Where’s that damn vodka?

I’ve been watching old movies for two months, and as I felt myself succumbing to melancholy, I have decided to adopt “The Big Lebowski” as my summer avatar.

“The Big Lebowski” is a cult film every millennial is familiar with. It’s a 1998 Cohen Brothers crime comedy. It starred Jeff Bridges as Jeffrey “The Dude” Lebowski, a Los Angeles slacker and avid bowler, my old job.

Bridges’ hair was shoulder length and unruly as mine is becoming. His wardrobe was iconic, and he was given to walking into all-night markets, sunglasses on, in his underwear, covered by a shabby robe and in flip flops, looking for cream for his favorite drink, a White Russian.

Hey, I’ve got an old robe, lots of underwear slowly going ratty and flip flops. I’m ready for my close up, Mr. DeMille.

I am confident I will probably emerge from this cave of chaos and hopefully be the same man my readers remember.

Columnist J.P. Devine, dressed as “The Dude,” enjoys a White Russian outside of his Waterville home. Photo courtesy of J.P. Devine

Just moments ago as the wind died down and the sun filled the glass front door, I poured myself a glass of chocolate milk and stood basking in the sun.

Two kids, riding bikes just ahead of their mother, rolled by and looked up. I waved. They froze and pointed me out to their mother, and their mother snatched them up. As she hurried them away. She pulled out her smartphone.

I think she’s going to call the police and tell them “The Dude” has murdered the Devines and is standing in the front door drinking a glass of their blood.

I knew the Earth was slipping away beneath my feet days ago when the UPS man came up the driveway with a package from Amazon. He stopped halfway up and froze. I came out with this wardrobe and a glass in hand, as far as social distancing allowed, and waved. He dropped the package and ran back to his truck and roared away.

“What the hell has come over everyone?” I shouted to She, who was hiding inside.

“Well, look at yourself,” she wailed. “You look like you’re auditioning for the role of one of the apostles in an Easter play.”

I stood in front of the big mirror in the hall and checked myself out.

OK, I do look a little like “The Dude,” but hardly a sight for alarm. I wiped the chocolate milk from my four-day beard and blinked.

“Can’t you just trim your nose hairs a bit?” she whined, standing in the biggest shadow she could find. “You used to be a man of distinction,” she added. “You were J.P. Devine, the legend. Go upstairs, get out of that old robe and pull on a linen jacket. I’ll get you a pocket hankie and a cleaner pair of shorts.”

Sure. I’ve made a few slips in wardrobe and personal grooming, but she knows why.

She #2 had been ordering car loads of groceries from the market for two weeks. A nice man named Justin (a graduate of the University of Alabama in business who just started a painting business and lost 13 customers) delivers them and put them in the garage, and I begin the process of spraying, and wiping them down to eliminate all traces of COVID-19.

To protect myself, I don this old robe, wear old shorts, blue gloves and surgical mask.

I know my hair is out of control, but those kids couldn’t possibly see the new 6-inch black ear hairs from the street.

They want spectacle? I’ll give them spectacle. I’ll start walking down to John’s Market, grab some Twinkies and milk for “The Dude’s” morning White Russian, and in underpants and flip flops, robe open to the sun, a glass of White Russian in hand, I’ll sing old love songs.

As morning walkers scatter into the woods when I climb Cherry Hill Terrace in front of them, I’ll shout, “WHAT DID YOU EXPECT? YOU WANTED RELIEF FROM BAD NEWS! YOU WANTED COMEDY? I GAVE YOU COMEDY. I READ ABOUT DEATH AND THE STOCK CRASH AND STILL GAVE YOU COMEDY. WHAT DID YOU WANT? I’M FROM HOLLYWOOD, NOT WINSLOW. YOU WANTED LAUGHS. WELL, DYING IS EASY, COMEDY IS HARD!”

As I sink to the ground in tears, clutching my vodka and milk, I await the sound of the sirens coming for me. And with one last shout, “I WAS LEGEND, NOW I’M ‘THE DUDE.’ TAKE ME AWAY.”

 

J.P. Devine is a Waterville writer. 


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.

filed under:

Augusta and Waterville news

Get news and events from your towns in your inbox every Friday.
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.