Frequently Asked Questions About the Stay-At-Home Order

"What does 'stay at home' actually mean?"

Just what it says. You have a home, stay in it. Don't run errands, don't visit your friends, don't go to restaurants or bars. You can only leave for "essential" travel: grocery shopping, medical care, and your job.

"Do I have to stay inside the house? Can I go outside?"

Yes, it's not like you're actually under house arrest. You can walk the dog, go for a walk with a family member, or go for a jog. Just stay six feet apart from people you don't live with.

"I haven't met my girlfriends for soy chai lattes after yoga in weeks, and that's very essential to my emotional well-being. So I can do that, right?"

I'm sorry, Caitlin—

"How did you know my name is Caitlin?"

Just a guess. Anyway, that's not considered essential and I think you know that. Or at least I hope you do.

"But my husband says this is all just a liberal hoax."

Your husband is an idiot.

"But we're not sick."

Doesn't matter. One of you might be carrying the virus but not have any symptoms, like a modern-day Typhoid Mary. Then you'll spread it to your other entitled friends, and they'll spread it to their entitled friends, and so on and so on. Let's get a question from someone else.

"I'm tired of taking a shower and getting dressed every day when no one will actually see me. Do I have to do keep doing that?"

Oh, I know what you mean! I take a shower and shave, put on clean clothes, and three or four days later, I have to do it all over again. It's a pain! So you can bathe as infrequently as you like, and no one will judge you at all.


No, not really. We'll totally judge you.

"Do I have to dress up for Zoom meetings?"

No, in fact, I recommend you schedule all your online meetings immediately after you wake up. Just brush your teeth, get some coffee, and head straight to your meetings. Let people get to know the real you and see what life is like in your household.

"Seriously? That seems wrong somehow."

No, no, it's perfectly fine, and you totally won't become a Facebook meme by lunchtime.

"How long is it acceptable to wear the same pajama bottoms?"

That depends. If you're changing your underwear every day, then you're good to go for 4 - 5 days. That assumes you also change into daytime pajamas each morning. If you're not changing them or your underwear, then see if you can go 8 or 9 days. (I'm curious how long it takes until you pass out.)

"How many days in a row is a shirt good for?"

Shirts are great when you're at home for several days. You can wear them as long as you want, until they become an actual archaeological record of everything you've eaten for the last week. I'm talking Jackson Pollock-level staining. You don't have to change until your armpits crackle when you lift your arms, or when it smells so bad that people on your Zoom meeting complain.

"Is wine a possible treatment for the virus?"

Well, it's a treatment for most things during the shutdown: Loneliness, stress, anxiety, dealing with your spouse and kids. But no, it is not an effective treatment for the virus.

"I've spent so much time with my kids, I'm finding I don't like them."

Yeah, I've met your kids, I don't like them either. Drink some wine.

"I'm the former CEO of a bank called — let's call it 'Fells Wargo' — I think our healthy workers under 55 should return to work. Does that make me a monster?"

Do you even have to ask? Yes, you're a monster.

"Wait, wait, hear me out. 'Some of them will get sick, some may even die. Do you want to suffer more economically or take some risk that you'll get flu-like symptoms and a flu-like experience? Do you want to take an economic risk or a health risk?'" (This was a real statement from the former CEO of Wells Fargo.)

Yes, you're absolutely a heartless monster. With moral leadership like yours, I'm not surprised 'Fells Wargo' was involved in a $3 billion fake account scandal.

"My brother sent me an email he got from his friend whose aunt is a doctor—"


"But his friend's aunt is a doctor in the ER at—"

Don't care!

"But what about—?"

Newwwp! Look, anything that gets forwarded to you from someone who knows someone is automatically BS. The only credible sources of information are the CDC and the World Health Organization. They're public health professionals who have trained for this kind of thing for decades. Also, stop listening to politicians who have downplayed this or called it a hoax. They're dangerous and you can't trust them to look out for the country's well-being.

"There are four kids playing together across the street and they're not six feet apart. I also saw three people walking together in my neighborhood. Who should I call to report them?"

Nobody like a tattletale, Caitlin.

"How did you know it was me?"

Photo credit: Paul F├╝rst (Wikimedia Commons, Public Domain)

My new humor novel, Mackinac Island Nation, is finished and available on Amazon. You can get the Kindle version here or the paperback version here.