Many of my friends are musicians. Life’s a funny thing. Most have taken advantage of this claustrophobic pandemic to write too many songs. I have done so myself, remembering the good old days when I had a band called Los Elegidos (The Chosen Ones). What’s more, confined, I’ve composed a wonderful song to which the chorus goes something like “I wanted to be James Stewart/ in A Wonderful Life/ and you see/ it all went wrong.” You don’t have to tell me. I know it’s a hit, although I won’t be going back on stage in a hurry. But that’s not what I wanted to talk about.
Most people are taking advantage of the lockdowns to work more, whatever their profession, I guess to avoid having to communicate with the rest of the family. What’s more, everyone has become a writer. My editor in Spain, for example, says that he has never received so many manuscripts. They are all children of the pandemic. The problem now is finding readers; most of them have moved on to TikTok, where they can find exciting stories without having to read more than a couple of lines of text wiggling around some Katy Perry wannabe.
I admit that I have also written a lot during the pandemic. By the way, now that you mention it: my last book, Todo iba bien (Everything Was Going OK), published in Spain a few months ago, is looking for a publisher in the United States (Note: if you are dedicated to the noble art of abusing poor writers — that is, if you are a good editor, and you are crazy enough for a guy like me — you can ask The American Spectator for my contact information. Abstain from proposing blind dates and sending locks of hair, perfumed postcards, or love letters. In fact, if they come from men, I reply with tomahawks). I must confess that I would love to publish my first book in English. Since 2006 to date, I have published 10 in Spain, and I’m starting to get bored. In fact, I am about to retire here in my country, if it is possible — that is, to retire without ever having actually started to work. Maybe I could start from scratch in America. Uncle Joe knows I love him, and I’m sure he’ll give me a diplomatic visa or whatever I need to get drunk with my American readers, which is pretty much what my line of work as a columnist is all about. But that’s not what I wanted to talk about either.
I had already brought down my summer clothes out of the attic. Everything was perfect. It’s spring, and the bars in my city are reopening. Very blonde girls, incredibly blonde, are on the terraces, drinking those very sweet cocktails that only very blonde, incredibly blonde girls drink. Sun and sand. Except that it’s been a constant downpour for the last five days. Some of February must have got lost and has just found its way back. Nothing depresses a Spaniard more than the type of weather that makes snails happy. If we have to live here and put up with a professional idiot like Pedro Sánchez in the Government, we do it only to avoid having to endure London’s weather. But that’s not what I wanted to talk about either.
In the last few days I have returned to writing speeches for politicians, an activity to which I devoted myself for some time years ago. Perhaps that is why I now have the feeling that I am ready to change from essayist to novelist. I love it when they tell you, “It’s true what you wrote in the draft of my speech, but we can’t tell people.” And this is all you need to know about the way politicians have adopted and enforced anti-pandemic measures, including arbitrary lockdowns, millions of liters of hydroalcoholic gel wasted in vain, and that elbow-greeting nonsense, which has caused more bruising than all the bombs of the first and second world wars combined. But that’s not what I wanted to talk about either.
Actually, I’m running out of space and I’m a bit confused. I think that having endured a full hour of televised debate from those dinosaurs in the European Parliament has melted the last of the wires sending any electricity to my brain. I feel like a politician at the job center. Like a medieval knight at Google headquarters. Or like Bill Gates uploading his profile to Tinder. I feel dazed, thick, and any other synonym you can find in the dictionary (hey, maybe this is my first interactive column ever!). I don’t know, don’t think I’m trying to make fun of ol’ Joe, but tell me something: do you even know what the hell I wanted to talk about?
Itxu Díaz is a Spanish journalist, political satirist and author. He has written nine books on topics as diverse as politics, music, and smart appliances. He is a contributor to the Daily Beast, the Daily Caller, National Review, the American Conservative, The American Spectator, and Diario Las Américas in the United States, and is a columnist for several Spanish magazines and newspapers. He was also an adviser to the Ministry for Education, Culture, and Sports in Spain. Follow him on Twitter at @itxudiaz or visit his website: www.itxudiaz.com.
Translated by Joel Dalmau
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