you don’t need a knife for this

2020 will always be remembered as an absolute garbage fire year. As I write this, we are halfway through this year and we are already ascribing the worst occurrences of human existence (plague, famine, police brutality, destruction of democracy, murder hornets, etc.) as “so 2020.” Every horrible scenario that you can possibly imagine to happen (and many that belong in dystopian horror novels) makes complete sense if it happened in 2020 because this is possibly the worst series of months in history.

For many people, one relatively innocuous addition to the growing list of 2020 horrors is a phenomenon that started on Twitter. A video, or several videos, circulated our social media recently showing a series of objects that appear to be one thing (an eggplant, a can of soda, a houseplant), but when cut into by an offscreen hand holding a knife, each item reveal be cake inside. Every object. You think it’s a roll of toilet paper? No. It’s cake. Surely, that is a shucked oyster on the half shell. Nope. Cake.

Some people found this trend to be amusing, but most people have reacted to it in the same way that we have consumed almost everything this year – with collective repulsion. Don’t get me wrong, we aren’t disgusted by cake. We all love cake. We’re just wholly disappointed by the deception. Everything that can go wrong in 2020 has gone wrong. Human society is exhausted. We’ve been quarantined and masked and disinfected nonstop since March. People are sick and many are dying. Businesses are closing and millions are jobless, fearing for our futures. We are fighting about everything because so many people are so fucking terrible. Trump and his cronies keep on criming and getting away with it.

The last thing we need is to be fooled by cake.

Several years ago, I maintained a blog and I found it to be a much-needed source of creative motivation. I started blogging in 2005, just as I embarked on a period of great tumult and tremendous change for me – some of it wonderful, most of it painful. My brother passed away at the age of 33 after spending three months in the hospital. I ended a seven year, live-in relationship with my boyfriend at the time and consequently signed a lease on and moved into my first apartment by myself. I lost over sixty pounds, drank a lot of whiskey, chased a cute surfer boy to Australia and got my heart broken. I cried a lot.

December 2006

I eventually stopped writing the blog and I’m not sure why exactly but I suspect it got in the way of my drinking whiskey and chasing surfers. Recently, I told my friend, Gates, that I was thinking of starting a new blog. He was very supportive and told me that my not writing is like someone not using a whole wing of their home – allowing an opulently furnished part of your life to remain vacant instead of sweeping out the corners and turning on the lights.

Since the pandemic started, the business I have been running for over ten years was shuttered and we laid off our whole staff. I’ve been out of work for four months and, in that time, bought my first apartment and learned the sheer terror of having a financial obligation that I don’t know I can sustain during a worldwide economic disaster. My best friend and business partner and I have pained conversations about how to negotiate the terrifying prospect of reopening our bar in a time when our business is considered enemy number one for the communicability risks of COVID. I’ve started writing again in fits and starts because I have a lot of free time now and, well, there’s a lot happening.

From the outside, my life appears to be something quite common. Almost every person in the world bar the wealthiest and most privileged are suffering similarly challenging times right now. Mine is one amongst millions of stories of anxiety, fear and heartbreak peppered with moments of captured joy and prompted gratitude. There’s a lot going on inside. None of it is cake.