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Spires: The newest epidemic

Spires: The newest epidemic

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There is a new ailment out there that is sweeping the nation.

I happen to know a number of folks suffering from this newest epidemic and it is not a pretty sight.

Officially it has not received a technical name yet, so I decided to call it the “Quarantine Blues” or, if you prefer the longer name, “the staying away from folks by not going out in public syndrome.”

Granted, it is in response to COVID-19; however, this newest ailment has multiple symptoms that easily mask itself as the new normal behavior.

To make matters worse, most people ignore the many warning signs until it has you in its clutches.

So, let’s talk about those warning signs:

• You may be infected with the “Q.B.” if you find yourself sitting in front of the television more that six hours a day watching the national news services. The scary part of this symptom is when you start believing everything they say is the truth.

• One tell-tell sign is having watched every episode of "Longmire," "Virgin River," "Midsomer Murders," anything on Hallmark Channel or all the seasons of "Gunsmoke," twice.

• You find yourself addicted to game shows and cry when someone misses the jackpot.

• You have a hard time getting through your home for the empty online delivery boxes.

• Your electronic reader has a line worn in the screen from turning pages.

• You answer your phone knowing it is someone you do not know, just to talk with them.

• You have three extended warranties on your car (from the previous sign).

• You now understand what the person from India is saying.

• You have a pen pal from Russia.

• You have gained over 20 pounds in the last three months.

• You have bought a designer mask.

• You enjoy getting out of the house to go to the doctor.

• You look at Facebook 20 times a day.

• You make a list of all the things you need to do while you are staying at home and fall asleep before you finish it.

So how do you know how bad you have Q.B.? If you can say yes to three of these comments, you are in the early stages. If you find yourself saying yes to five or six, you may need to seek help.

If you find that you have all of the symptoms, then the only hope you have is for the November elections to be over.

Byron Spires is a retired newspaper editor. He has written dozens of short stories and serials in the Havana Herald. He recently published “The Curious Life of Marci Bell: Part I,” in a series of three books. You can contact him at

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