Here follows an account of this columnist’s outward appearance, more than two weeks into the lockdown. Starting at the top, wilderness has overrun the once-august hair, just as Rome turns to bush in Thomas Cole’s quintet of paintings The Course of Empire. Acquaintances profess not to register the difference.

Panning down, we observe a blooming of stubble, from the Bachelor Minimum to what must seem from afar a conscientious if incomplete face mask. The haziness of eye and speech owes less to Washington’s lax cannabis laws than a sleep rhythm that now syncs with that of — dark irony — the common bat. The loss of hard-won muscle tone around the obliques is mourned with infinite bitterness. As small consolation, the scales record no weight gain.

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