In reflecting on 2020, all I can think is, shoot this dying bastard in the head, set it aflame and let’s dance among the falling ashes. But the masses still can’t gather in large numbers yet, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In March, when society crumbled under the weight of the virus, I began an “extinction” journal to chronicle the external and internal insanity of this plague-stricken year. Three Moleskins and counting later, I’m rereading my musings for this column. Most of the writings couldn’t be reprinted here due to language or descriptions of degenerate behavior, and the below excerpts were edited for exactly that, as well as space.

Thursday, March 19, 2020

I don’t mind too much if this is the new normal. People are being nicer and kinder to one another. Pollution has decreased, too. Maybe Mother Nature knows what’s best for her and us.

… Work has been crazy since Thursday, March 12, after the virus took over the nation. We’re doing important work, though. These are unprecedented times. It’s kind of exciting covering the end of the world. Strangely, I’m feeling more inspired then I have in a while. Think this is going to produce some good work. Hard to take my mind off it. Getting high and letting the mind wander helps.

Thursday, March 26, 2020    

I’m high. Just sent my Sunday story to (Associate Editor Suzanne Cheavens) and smoked a bowl. Now I’m watching a Pink Floyd documentary. It’s such a stoner thing to do, but I love Pink Floyd. Have you ever listened to “Wish You Were Here,” “Dark Side of the Moon,” “The Wall” or “The Division Bell?” I mean, damn. It’s immortal music. It’s in the bones. Damn, I dig Pink Floyd. I’ll fight you to the death about their greatness. Trippy, blues-based rocked turned psychedelia. But I think you need to be stoned to fully, properly, enjoy them.

… What mad geniuses they all were. How lucky we are to be able to listen to and enjoy it. Same with Black Sabbath. All geniuses. They literally created a new sound that spawned a new musical genre — heavy metal — that spawned seemingly countless subgenres. Without Black Sabbath you don’t have the New Wave of British Metal, thrash, hardcore, death metal, black metal (first and second wave), the New Wave of American Heavy Metal, grindcore, metalcore, Swedish death metal, groove metal, sludge, doom/stoner metal, nu metal and so on. It can all be traced back to Black Sabbath.

It’s crazy how much of an impact they’ve had on alternative music and how recently it all happened. Like, my dad is older than heavy metal. He also loves Pink Floyd and Black Sabbath, so I remember listening to both bands growing up. We both agree that Floyd’s best work was the “Dark Side of the Moon” to “Animals” era of the 1970s. He even admitted he wasn’t the biggest fan of “The Wall,” which he called “poppy.” We also both agree that the best way to listen to Pink Floyd is stoned. Give it a try if you’ve never done it and you’ll get it. If you don’t, then I truly feel sorry for you.

April 1, 2020

There are six new cases in the county — seven total now. None of them are serious as all seven people self-isolated and are recovering “well,” as officials put it.

Still haven’t left the house. I’m used to it. Having a mini-gout flare up, which is always annoying. Luckily, I don’t have to go anywhere. Called in a new prescription, too. My diet and exercise routine has been messed up by this shit. I’m not really exercising at all, and I’m snacking more since I’m stuck inside. Gotta change it up. It’s too easy to be lazy.

… Was supposed to fly to Iceland today. Obviously, that trip got canceled. It’s a bummer. Karlee (my sister) and I were so excited about it, our first time in Europe. This year seems to be a loss already. Just delay everything a year basically. This pandemic is insane, but one day we’ll look back and make fun of how unbelievable it all was. We can all say we lived through history. It’s not that exciting.

May 25, 2020

Called Grandma today. Haven’t talked to her in a while, so it was nice catching up. She’s doing well, for the most part. She told me some of my great ancestors, including my great-great-grandmother, died during the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic after moving to Pennsylvania from Scotland. She said they’re all buried in DuBois, Pennsylvania, in a cemetery she hasn't been to since she was little. Would like to go back there with her, but who knows when we’ll be able to travel.

July 4, 2020

Fourth of July didn’t feel the same. With the pandemic and general disarray of the country, I really didn’t care to celebrate. Got up early and hiked up Bear Creak to the Wasatch trailhead. There was some weather, so I hiked down quickly.

Sept. 2, 2020

The end of the world is taking longer than I expected. Humanity, particularly here in America, has had enough time to embarrass itself over and over again. … Each century humans are doomed to repeat the errors of the past. When will the new generations learn and break the patterns of our parents?

Oct. 31, 2020

Is 2020 actually happening or did the Earth slip away from the Sun’s gravitational pull and drift into the cold death of space and everyone is trapped in a cosmic coma nightmare?