Callooh, callay! It’s another glorious day in the mainstream media where, as Texas senator Ted Cruz recently noted, we’re all simply “giddy with glee” over this global pandemic. The sun is shining on all of God’s green earth that the governor recently closed, the birds are chirping in between the distant wail of ambulance sirens, and we members of the press are feeling particularly lighthearted, a sensation we keep checking against all the known symptoms of COVID-19. You could tell from the huge smiles on our faces, if only you could see them beneath these homemade masks.

But much as we’ve all learned to read our loved one’s feelings through video chats, Cruz could sense the gaiety in a tweet from the Washington Post’s Glenn Kessler. In it, Kessler pointed out that President Trump’s boast about unemployment numbers in February’s State of the Union “did not age well.” It was kind of a cheap shot from Kessler, considering a lot of things haven’t “aged well” since February, beginning with most of us. That list also includes most of Trump’s boasts and deflections during the months he was being warned about the coronavirus’s potential for devastation, all of which he ignored and publicly downplayed to protect himself. And as Cruz shrewdly pointed out, rehashing every single one of them fills the muckrakers with pure elation, our heads dizzied by the ever-spiraling crisis all these brazen failures of leadership have created. “You see much of the mainstream media trying to root for disaster,” Cruz reiterated on Fox News. “They are rooting for this pandemic to be worse and worse.”

Boy, am I ever! Personally, nothing gives me greater pleasure than waking from yet another anxiety dream about going to the grocery store, then opening my phone to find that another thousand people died overnight, a friend lost their dad, and everything remains closed indefinitely. Humming a tune by a favorite artist who was killed prematurely by a preventable public health crisis, I leap from my flop-sweat-soaked bed, eager to begin another day of cheerleading for our nation’s incipient collapse—right after my wife and I figure out how we’re going to juggle the demands of our jobs with another day of watching the two small, restless children trapped inside with us. Then, during the few allotted hours I’m able to work for an industry that is, like so many other businesses, faltering under mass layoffs, it’s party time, baby. That’s when I get to write about all this death and malfeasance for an audience that openly resents me for it! Yippee!

It’s no wonder so many of us media types are out here, giddily slapping one another’s backs—or would be, if we could get within six feet of one another. Until we can, we’ll just have to savor our horrifying victory alone, yukking it up over how this worldwide proto-apocalypse is scoring very minor political points against the one man around which everything apparently revolves. What a time to be alive, for however long that lasts.

Texas Politicians Are Still Working Under Quarantine, Okay?

In the meantime, like most of you, we’ve been doing our cheering virtually, through group chats, conference calls, video meetings, and the like. And because photographic evidence is the only way to prove to the world that you’re actually working during all this, we’ve seen an influx lately of Texas politicians sharing snaps of themselves video chatting or on the phone. Texas congressman Roger Williams particularly loves a good phone action shot, almost as much as the classic “oops, you caught me working at my deskcandid, or anything else that shows off his office. And so does Governor Greg Abbott, who didn’t just tell us he was updating local mayors and judges on Texas’s response to the virus. He confirmed it indisputably, with a photo of an actual telephone

Meanwhile, everyone from Senator John Cornyn to state representative Terry Meza to El Paso county commissioner David Stout has shared some blurry screenshots of their overly saturated faces on Zoom, just like every one of your friends who’s been desperate to prove their popularity. We get it, guys. You’re staying productive under quarantine! Couldn’t some of you just make some yummy scones, like state representative Jon Rosenthal? Or post about cyber-bartering for toilet paper like state representative Michelle Beckley? I’m just saying, we don’t have to prove anything to each other right now. 

Representative Lynn Stucky Urges Us to Think of the Animals

While we’re all stuck inside, commiserating over and/or celebrating this epidemic, spare a thought for the natural world—and specifically all the animals who are, even now, pining for us to kill them. State representative Lynn Stucky offered up this sobering reminder with a tweeted photo of a turkey, gazing dolefully through a window, its caption humorously suggesting that it was hoping to catch a glimpse of the people it missed. 

“I think the wildlife are starting to wonder where all the humans have gone,” Stucky wrote, adding, “Great reminder that hunting and fishing are still essential activities under the Governor’s executive orders.” Which is true: while the parks are closed, hunting and fishing are still considered essential and perfectly acceptable outdoor activities, in areas where you can still perform them, so long as you maintain proper social distancing. You don’t have to just sit there indoors, jealously watching as all those animals cavort around wherever they want, with whomever they please! As Representative Stucky has helpfully reminded us, you could go shoot them.

Rick Perry: Steak Salesman

Everybody’s looking for ways to fill this mandatory downtime. Rick Perry, former Texas governor and U.S. Secretary of Energy, has the hazy days of retirement and quarantine stretching out before him. Temporarily waylaid from his freewheeling, road-tripping search for himself, Perry seems to have found a new calling selling steak. This week alone, he’s posted three separate Instagram endorsements for Ranger Cattle, the Austin-area beef purveyor run by former Army Ranger Joshua Eilers. The small farm-to-table operation sold premium wagyu beef to local restaurants before the coronavirus shutdown, but you can still pick up its steaks direct from the source—as Rick Perry told us repeatedly. 

In addition to posing side by side with the Ranger Cattle team (in a photo that, hopefully, was taken well before he posted it), Perry has also pitched its brisket as the perfect Good Friday lunch and urged us to “check the marbling in the NY strip!!.” He’s even commended its proprietor’s “fine barbershop quartet mustache.” 

It’s an unusual post-politics retirement plan, particularly as Perry is doing free sponsored content for a company that, as far as we can tell, he has no vested interest in, other than just really liking its food. Still, you certainly can’t fault him for doing his best to aid a local business, or—like the rest of us—just trying to find the joy in a pandemic.