FOR THE DRAWER: My hot take for the day, to be filed away for later.


In the Soviet Union, during those long decades of heavy-handed state censorship, there was a saying among writers.

It was “this one’s for the drawer,” or “I’m writing for the drawer,” meaning there was no hope whatever that what was being written would be suitable for publication. The words were written in the knowledge that they’d be consigned to the desk drawer, where maybe later — most often, after the writer was dead — something might change and his or her words would be read and appreciated.

Samizdat was the practice of illegal publication; recopied by hand, mimeographed and later photo-copied. These illegal publications often were anonymous by necessity, with readership small but often more widespread than might be assumed. It’s almost a quaint notion in our current, fractured age, this idea that truth mattered.

Maybe I’ll try writing for the drawer, too. Blog readership is down, so maybe I can hide in plain site just for once. After all self-censorship wears on a man.

Here goes.

There’s a pandemic going on. If you’re in the local indie food and drink business and you’re not taking masks and social distancing seriously, you’re writing off a big portion of the potential customer base in order to appease a smaller percentage of loudmouthed know-nothings.

I wish there was sufficient unity of purpose among business owners to actually call out the scofflaws honestly, and openly. It won’t happen, though. Speaking only for myself during this time, it’s a tremendous crisis of conscience for me. I’m tempted to walk around town like Diogenes, asking service industry people, “Why are acting as though the aim is to bring everyone down with you?”

Do you read the news — or is the cognitive dissonance too great, and those lies you’re telling yourself too persuasive? Your optics are horrendous, and your acting supremely bad.

Not only are you embarrassing all of us, but ignoring reality and pretending like the pandemic isn’t still with us is setting the stage for bad things to happen to the rest of the segment. If you’re dismissing public health, are you also chucking food safety and other hygienic standards into the bin?

Yes, it’s true; narcissistic bad actors have always been with us. But they’re glaringly obvious at present, and to be honest, I resent it a little more each day as so many of you reject science in favor of voodoo.

Well, that felt good.

Now into the drawer it goes, where no will see it until much, much later.