Get your grubby hands out of my COVID BUBBLE!!!!!
Get your grubby hands out of my COVID BUBBLE!!!!! Getty Images Plus

What's in store for us? We're self-isolating and trying to figure it out. This week: The end of Halloween, snow days, and fast fashion.

Halloween will be canceled, and the candy companies know it. A reader who knows my tastes alerted me to a *brand new* candy corn flavor medley from Brach's: Turkey Dinner Candy Corn. To be fair, I have yet to sample these new flavors, which include, "Green Beans, Roasted Turkey, Cranberry Sauce, Ginger Glazed Carrot, Sweet Potato Pie & Stuffing," but the thought of combining the dried-toothpaste texture of candy corn with "stuffing" prompted me to barf all over my keyboard. I will try this candy when I can get my hands on it, though, and I promise to provide a full report. In the meantime, in a moment of post-puke clarity, I realized the genius of the public relations move on the part of Brach's. I have no idea where public officials stand on the outbreak potential of going door-to-door and taking candy from strangers, but I know public health officials are still encouraging us to stay home unless we need to go out, and that the virus will likely come back with a vengeance in the fall. Nevertheless, the New York Times reports that many Halloween-centered towns still plan to celebrate the holiday in the traditional way, and polls show vast majorities of parents still plan to celebrate, too. My hunch here is that Brach's is doing what a lot of other candy companies will do: put out products that look forward to Thanksgiving, but still sell the traditional Halloween candy they normally sell to Americans who clearly don't give a shit about the virus, or who want to host their own private haunted houses or whatever. That way they can still try to turn a profit, generate a little "news" coverage about strange flavors, all while avoiding direct associations with any super-spreading trick-or-treat activities. —R.S.

Relatedly, despite Halloween being canceled, people will distastefully dress up as the coronavirus for Halloween. And at least in one case, someone dressed up as the coronavirus will infect someone else, thus creating a scenario that perfectly encapsulates America's unserious response to the pandemic. Addendum: Someone dressed up as a bottle of Corona beer will also do this. Caveat: When John McCain died in 2018, I predicted people would distastefully dress up as zombie John McCain, or Zom-McCain, but I don't remember seeing anyone doing that, so there is at least some precedent for us being better than we are. —R.S.

RIP, snow day, we hardly knew ye. There was a big clap of thunder over Seattle this past Sunday. I muttered, "Wow, if only this kind of weather would cancel work tomorrow." And then it hit me that no weather ever again would cancel work tomorrow. There will be no Snowpocalypse big enough to shut down the city of Seattle enough to stop workers from working because their commutes are too icy; school kids won't be able to use snowy days for sledding when they've had a year of Zoom school under their belts. Our internet connection is our tether. The only way these weather-caused life pauses will happen in the future is if the internet is directly targeted. Next snowy day, everyone should cause their fuses to blow. —N.G.

Get ready for tuition riots. The fact of the matter is the cost of a degree from an institution of higher learning lost contact with reality long ago (the mid-90s). Students are now paying not so much for an education but a reputation. And the value of a reputation is limitless, whereas the value of an actual education is not. The learning experience has a beginning and an end. But most students leave college with debts that never end. Nevertheless, they had an experience and that's something. The student's dorm room had a view of the university town or neighborhood, the student experimented with drugs, or they were inspired by a professor, or they had lots of sex with other students having lots of sex. The high price of the reputation could hide, though with great difficulty, behind the fullness of the college experience. But when the pandemic hit in spring, and college classes across the country migrated from reality to Zoom, the experience evaporated. The college student has been left with desiccated profs on laptop screens and those ever-growing debts. At one point, this situation will prove to be too much for students and they will demand a deep cut in the cost of a reputation. If the institutions of higher learning resist this demand, we can expect students to take to the streets and turn the town upside down. —C.M.

A surge of federal student loan delinquencies could be avoided until January 2021. It looks like Trump's recent executive order gave people with federal student loans another three-month interest-free break. The original break was supposed to expire in September, but now we've got a delay until January. Of course, Trump's executive order may have been unconstitutional, so we'll see. Regardless, everyone's still fucked with their private student loans. If you're like me, you've got a crushing amount of both. —C.B.

Hold on to your seatbelts, 'Rona TV is here. Love in the Time of Corona, a miniseries conceived and shot during the pandemic, is slated to be released for public consumption this weekend. It's one of the first scripted TV programs about social-distancing and coronavirus to be released. Whew, already? While Hollywood was bound to feast on this pandemic at some point, the lack of perspective—both emotional and historical—seems to set up these types of series for failure. There's certainly more coming, but I predict any contemporaneous COVID film/television series are bound to be a flop—but will be good fodder for future generations to analyze. —J.K.

Surface Fever will spread throughout the molefolk. We’re going to need to find a way to provide solar illumination for mole people. Now that humanity has moved completely underground, away from the fatal heat and radiation of the surface world, our nostalgia for pre-apocalypse times will become almost unbearable. Humans weren’t made to live their entire lives under the Earth’s crust, so entrepreneurs will develop imitations of the surface-level features that we’ve had to leave behind: Sunlight, unprocessed air, water that falls from the sky. The very wealthy will be able to afford private Sun Chambers, where they can bask in just enough ultraviolet light that it feels like the beach (as long as you don’t look too closely at the seams along the LED walls, or dig down to the magma shielding under the sand). Everyone else will have to make do with artificial sunlamps that sweep across the ceiling of our community pods throughout the day. There might be the occasional misting of water to simulate rain, provided that aquifers are as limitless as the geoengineers promised. But even with these amenities, there will be those among us who succumb to Surface Fever and slip away, going topside, never to be seen again, because the memory of the days when it was possible to stand on the surface of the planet and stare up into a limitless sky is more beguiling than the struggle to survive down here in the dark in the company of the species that engineered its own slow demise. —M.B.

A trend: mailman porn. The mailman has always been a little sexy. (Or maybe I'm just thinking of that kitchen sex scene in The Postman Always Rings Twice, which, for the longest time, I thought was called The Postman Always Comes Twice.) But the mailperson's role has always been a little less sexy than, say, the fireman—or the cop, a role which people can't seem to stop fetishizing. But the liberal passion around the USPS will soon dip into a different kind of passion. I suspect a lot of packages are being uploaded to PornHub as I type. —C.B.

Teeth are about to be fucked up. Because working at home no longer organizes the day into specific tasks at specific times (when one leaves home, when one returns home), it's easy to forget to do basic hygienic things like taking a shower or brushing one's teeth in the morning. One wakes up, goes straight to the office (a room in the house or apartment), and only many hours later realizes that they're still in pajamas and their teeth are filthy. The dentists of American can only be pleased with this new form of forgetfulness. It will mean lots of money (bad teeth) for them in the near future. —C.M.

Heat records will be passé. Every time climate change edges us closer to doom, we see impressed headlines like “WOW, HOTTEST DAY ON RECORD SINCE 1913!” But that’s going to get old as more of the Earth keeps breaking more and more heat records. Eventually we’ll get tired of hearing about how Death Valley hit 135, oh no wait 136, nope the new record is 137, oh wait hold on now it’s 138. We’ll also get increasingly depressed about how Seattle just hit 104, and then 105, and then 106, and we’ll stop caring because we’ve all obtained air conditioners/tunneled underground by that point. As a result, we’ll no longer hear about heat records as if they’re a one-time fluke or milestone, and instead we’ll think about them the same way we’ve learned to about COVID-19 deaths: Steadily rising up and up and up like a rocketship destined for a galaxy that has yet to be discovered. —M.B.

Everyone is going to learn a language this fall. We are, unfortunately, looking down the barrel of a socially distant autumn. And with this change brings anxiety about our future but also what Charles Mudede calls the "the scholar's season." I predict that more people will take the time to learn a new language as classes begin to rev up in the fall, allowing people to do something productive while being quasi-social at the same time. Already, language learning apps like Duolingo have experienced a huge surge in users when shelter-in-place orders were announced at the beginning of the pandemic. Though there may be less opportunity to test your new skills at restaurants or on vacation, the upside is you'll be a socially-inept master of German, Mandarin, or ASL once we emerge from lockdown. And what else are you going to do with your free time spent next to the heater? —J.K.

Virtual reality for cats. I don’t know why, I don’t know who, I don’t know what problem it’s supposed to solve that you couldn’t just handle with a $3 cat toy. But some rich idiot who thinks he’s smart because he’s rich will become fixated on the idea and we’ll see cat-sized helmets and treadmills for our little furry housemates. The thinking will probably be something like: “Hey, there’s already whole channels on YouTube devoted to cat programming, like footage of birds fluttering around. Why not take that to the next level?” Of course it’s a terrible idea, as is any idea that involves taking something to “the next level.” And the cats will hate it, because they lack the part of the brain that allows humans to convince themselves that they enjoy something that is actually a miserable experience. Still, it will be A Thing at some point, everyone will have Hot Takes about what it means for These Troubled Times, and then it’ll be time to move on to the next bullshit, like I don’t know, carpeting for your refrigerator. —M.B.

• • •

  • Weaponized COVID, 2022, and Skyrim
  • Drinking in public, amateur porn stars, and the end of the pandemic
  • Lightning, riots, and TikTok
  • A $200 million dollar money hole and Christ squirts
  • Anti-vaxxers, COVID tattoos, and Elon Musk
  • Trump's health, indie bookstores, and Fortnite
  • Smooth-brained TV, Korean baseball, and eye makeup
  • Bidets, Doomers, and pseudoscience
  • Chimerica, strippers, and FOMO