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The driest of dry Januarys

If the pandemic refuses to end, then I refuse to forfeit my right to remain a complete and utter slob.

Frank Rumpenhorst/Associated Press

Did you hear what Dr. Anthony Fauci said the other day?

Not him calling a fatuous senator from Kansas a moron. That’s hardly newsworthy.

The real news is that Fauci, the nation’s leading infectious disease expert, said it’s inevitable that everybody will get Omicron.

“Omicron,” Fauci said, “with its extraordinary, unprecedented degree of efficiency of transmissibility, will ultimately find just about everybody.”

Really?

If that’s the case, what have the last two years been about?

There are all these stories about COVID fatigue. I have COVID fatigue fatigue.

As we endure this, the third winter of our discontent, having been personally subjected to the most stringent mitigation efforts enforced with an iron fist and an iron lung by my uncompromisingly germaphobic wife, I’m wondering if I’d be any worse off if I just hopped a flight to Florida and invited Ron DeSantis to sneeze in my face repeatedly.

This has gone on so long even my wife has stopped wiping down containers of disinfectant wipes with disinfectant wipes.

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The pandemic has become the disease equivalent of the Mafia in “The Godfather Part III,” when Al Pacino’s aging, disillusioned Michael Corleone laments, “Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in!”

Two years ago, as hospitals were being overrun and ventilators rationed, it was genuinely scary. Last year, as the vaccines were being rolled out, it was genuinely encouraging. Now, with Delta and Omicron having rolled across the globe like a slow-moving hurricane, halting the momentum of a return to normalcy, it’s genuinely depressing.

Where do we go now?

In my case, the answer is obvious and always the same: my couch.

For the third consecutive winter, we’re locking down. Keeping a small circle, venturing out only when absolutely necessary, for food and medical appointments. Been vaccinated three times, spent a small fortune on at-home antigen tests, done drive-through PCR tests, and if I never again have someone stick a swab up my nose and scrape my frontal lobe it will still be too soon.

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When I arrived for my annual physical last week, wearing a heavy winter coat, thick wool hat, and not one but two masks, the lady who checked me in took one look at my stomach and asked if I was there for an ultrasound. When I pulled off my hat and told her I was a dude, she took my insurance card and gave me a look, as if to say, “That’s your problem, pal.”

Soon, I was wearing a johnny and my doctor and I were pleasantly surprised to learn I had lost 13 pounds in the past year. That said, progressing from morbidly obese to just plain obese is not exactly cause for celebration.

“You’re going in the right direction,” my doctor said, generously.

That direction was straight back to my couch.

If I have learned anything during this pandemic, it’s that Netflix will stream anything. I’m surprised a film crew hasn’t showed up at my door and announced, “Hi, we’re from Netflix and we’re doing a documentary on people who have become utter slobs during the pandemic. Could you sign this release form, please?”

COVID-19 and its lingering variants have removed any incentive to maintain, much less improve, my personal appearance.

I haven’t worn a belt in two years. If my pants don’t have drawstrings, they’re not my pants.

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Shaving remains aspirational.

Right now, I’m doing a dry January. Meaning I’m not showering.

Last night, as we watched a documentary about an iconoclastic Swedish chef, my wife straightened up on the couch and sniffed the air, as if she were in a Febreze commercial.

“You’re kinda ripe,” she said, one eyebrow arching accusingly.

Most guys would be shamed into action, to shower and shave daily, to not wear the same clothes for days on end.

But, two years into this, I’m like that clueless senator from Kansas who suggested Tony Fauci is hiding all the money he’s making off the pandemic: utterly shameless.


Kevin Cullen is a Globe columnist. He can be reached at kevin.cullen@globe.com.