Louis Fowler’s Pandemic Journal: Relief Payment

I’m standing six-feet above ground today, so I like to think I’m still ahead of this virus. When I was walking, I saw a message in the dirt: We Are in This T…something. Seemed apropos.

Rent was due this week and I was able to send off a check, but I know a lot of people around here weren’t so lucky, their overstuffed cars, loaded-down pick-ups and numerous U-Hauls getting the Hell out of Dodge; I wonder where they’re going…I wonder how bad it’s going to be when they get there.

In, I guess, positive news, people seem to be very excited about the thousand-dollar relief payments coming soon, some who need it desperately and others that can’t wait to blow it. I guess, if I’m being honest, I’m somewhere between the two. I should save it, but I really need a new laptop for writing—this one’s about to go.

A recent news piece said many people in this country will have to wait up to five months to receive their check, if they even get one at all.

Given the way that this administration has handled the pandemic so far, I have a feeling that I’m not getting a check—I bet thousands, if not millions, won’t either. As I told my mother the other day, until I have that cash in my hand, I don’t believe anything this Goddamn government tells me.

She’s already spending her cut.


Instead of waiting for help, I’ve made friends with a few of my older neighbors and started to help, the best I can. Yesterday, a couple of houses down from me, I fixed an old Choctaw woman’s porch light. I didn’t know what I was doing, but somehow I managed to get in there and move a few things around and, thank God, it worked.

As I started to walk back home, she called out to me and then gave me a medium-sized bottle of Meyer’s Clean Day Hand Soap in gratitude. She told me that didn’t like the rosemary scent, but that her grand-daughter bought it; I don’t either like it either, but I didn’t want to hurt her pride so I thanked her and told her if she needs anything to holler and I’ll come running.

I hope she gets a relief check soon.

Meanwhile, in the Philippines, the police and military have been ordered to shoot on sight the hungry citizens defying the lockdown in search of food and other necessities. We’re not going to come back from this, and sure as Hell not by the end of April.


Follow Louis on Twitter at @LouisFowler and Instagram at @louisfowler78.

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19 Responses

  1. Louis, stay well! I look forward to your column each day. Thank you!

  2. My biggest fear is it won’t get back to where it was. Eating out requires disposable income and I wonder when will we recover to the point spending five bucks for a coffee or ten bucks for a quick lunch or forty-fifty bucks for dinner is no big deal.

  3. do you really believe what you wrote? that “we’re not going to come back from this”?
    i hope you don’t.

    this, and worse, has happened before and it will happen again.
    i’m not quite ready to throw up my hands and give up.

    never ever give up.

    1. It ONLY took ten years for us to recover from the Great Depression. That’s a long time for an old guy like me. I think this is going to be just as bad, if not worse.

      At least this time we won’t be waiting for a stimulating World War before we start stimulating our economy peacefully and purposefully.

      I’m not giving up, but I’m not believing the daily Happy Talk from Washington either. This is going to be bad for a long, long time.

      1. agreed.
        A 10-year recovery is a long time for me too. for all of us.
        It just seemed like such a defeatist statement that “we’re not coming back from this”.
        It may look different on the other side and some of us may not come back from this but it can be done.
        Since we are all stuck in the world as it is now, the only thing you CAN do is move forward. Whats the alternative?

        Even if it is worse (or hopefully better) than expected, it doesn’t matter – it just is.
        The only thing we can control is our reaction and our attitude about it. It may very well be catastrophic. It could be horrific. But we’re still going to have to deal with whatever it is.
        We either move forward in hope or we move forward in despair and dread.
        That’s all I was really saying.

        I do fear that if it gets worse and drags on too long, there will be unrest and potential global conflict but I hope it doesn’t come to that. Civilization and clear heads disappear when the cupboard gets bare.

      2. The implication that a “stimulating” world War is not on the horizon seems overly optimistic considering the clown in the White House.

    2. I don’t think we’ll go back to pre-virus “normal.” Even though the economy will eventually recover (the leading party has a much smaller effect on the economy than either party will ever care to admit), we’ll see differences in life.

      We did survive the Great Depression, and 9/11, and the Great Recession, and everything else that has occurred, but in all those situations life was different afterwards than it was before.

      1. Have we gone back to “normal” since 9-11 yet?

        Not really.

        1. Every time I get on a plane, I’m reminded that we haven’t. Our normal is just different.

  4. Louis, your Pandemic Journal reads like an embedded war reporter’s dispatches from the front lines. Most of the media seem to focus on the flyover view – primarily the many small business owners who are suffering terribly. But they are only the visible tip of the iceberg of danger and pain out there.

    Keep up the good work, and stay safe.

    (We either will or won’t get our relief checks sometime soon, since we never get income tax refunds. We always owe, as we do again for 2019. Que sera sera.)

    1. Guilty. The challenge for myself and other reporters is that we’re not on the “front lines” like Louis and dropping in for a visit and a couple of interviews won’t get the job done. This is what makes Louis very special. He is among the best writers I know and yet he readily admits he struggles to get by every day. He LIVES on the front lines. He lives each day in quiet observation, taking mental notes, truly capturing the color, the context and feeling of the stories he later shared.
      There is no one like him…

      1. This defines it perfectly! Thank you Steve!

  5. About those checks… remember what my aunt says: if you said Trump isn’t your president, you shouldn’t be taking HIS money!

    See there, I’ve just given myself a case of the giggles! I’m not counting on getting anything from this administration except maybe lies and disappointments. And The Rona maybe.

    1. It isn’t his money, it’s our money. That orange psychopath doesn’t have any.

      1. I mean, he bragged about not paying taxes, so it’s way more my money than his.

    2. and if you scream socialism! every time a politician suggest actions intended to improve qualit of life for citizens then of course refuse the check. Better yet, give it to me, we need more socialism and not the corporate type in this rigged country.

  6. Louis…here is an article that explains pretty well the most likely way to ever see the $1200.
    If you did not file last year or the year before and have your bank account associated with that return…the best way to make sure that you get your money before the 3-4 month paper check thing (which will probably not happen at all) is to file a simple return for 2019 and have it associated with a bank account.
    Supposedly, even if you owe taxes you will not have to pay when you file and if you don’t trust the current govt. to not come back and rob your account later (right there with you on that)….just empty it as soon as you get your direct deposit.

    1. ^ E -file the simple return using the IRS website. It is free to do.

  7. to some the check will help but there is so much pork on the bill and the proposed bill cares 2 act , think our childrens children will still be paying for this 6 trillion gamble! big government to the rescue!praise stit praise trump!enjoy that FREE cash its going to cost you some FREEDOMS!

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