Dear Dr. Fauci,

Who knew I’d be writing another letter — remember how we thought all this mishigas was only going to last a few months? Now here we are, a year later in the world’s slowest apocalypse nestled between two Passovers. It’s a real Hillel poop sandwich.

The Seder is almost upon us, and, despite progress, it’s not exactly like this night is going to be terribly different from the last 365. After all, Passover is the ultimate at-home holiday where we recline while we eat and tell our kids stories replete with symbolism and forces beyond scientific understanding. That’s just a Disney+ subscription and a twinge of acid reflux away from our regular pandemic Tuesdays.

I have some more questions for you, if you don’t mind. I tried to ask Alexa, but after the millionth time I begged her to explain everything that’s happened this year, she’s asked me for a little time to herself:

  • Is wishing each other “Chag Pesach Sameach!” inherently risky given current research on droplet transmission?
  • After a year obsessively pouring over both the CDC website and The Joy of Cooking, I managed to jar gefilte fish in convalescent plasma. Is this going to prevent anything other than a good night’s sleep?
  • Even though we bought Grandma Sylvia a geodesic yurt that safely accommodates the entire family, she wants to host everyone indoors. Can you please tell her that keeping her 1974 living room set sealed in the original plastic is not enough of a COVID mitigation strategy?
  • What is the most reliable sign my kids have had too much screen time since last March? Is it the fact they haven’t blinked in six months? Is it them screaming “Stop the Steal” after finding the Afikomen? Or is it their nuanced conversations about plurality votes after playing Among Us with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez?
  • The Seder begins with us declaring, “Let those who are hungry come eat.” What should we do if the QAnon Shaman shows up? Not only would he want my farfel to be certified organic (that is not a euphemism), but he has a history of disrupting important ceremonies and would muck up “Chad Gadya” at the very least. I do, however, appreciate his commitment to dressing as Cattle Disease.
  • The pandemic has aged me in dog years. Do you have advice for reducing visible signs of stress? I’m not sure I want to take my niece up on her suggestion of trying a Red Sea hairstyle: youthfully parted down the middle with marine life trapped on one side or the other.
  • Before I begin the ritual housecleaning, are we officially in the phase where we’re cleaning in terror, boredom, or necessity?
  • Early on, everyone suggested we use this time to finish our version of Shakespeare’s Lear, or Newton’s calculus, or Lauren Boebert’s NRA Home Office Decorating Course. All I’ve managed to do is ask my mammogram technician to Photoshop the Bernie Sanders inauguration meme onto my images. Are my fears justified that, during these unprecedented times, this is probably not the best use of medical technology? Or Photoshop?

We’re seeing the light at the end of the tunnel and doing our part here by limiting gatherings, masking up, and hand-washing. Of course, we’re trying to keep a sense of humor, although there have obviously been times in the last year we’ve needed a little help with that. Take my word on this one, though: Do NOT randomly ask Twitter to share their favorite Jewish memes unless you are exceedingly specific about what you are looking for.

Thanks in no small part to you, I’m ready to use the only four-letter word I’ve held in since last Passover: Hope. Sure, murder hornets are loaded in the plague chamber, but there’s a lot to look forward to: smelling other people’s lunches on their breath; awkward ice breakers at in-person meetings instead of awkward ice breakers over Zoom; being grossed out at Chuck E. Cheese for only the regular reasons.

Next year in Grandma’s geodesic yurt. I can’t wait to send you an invite along with a copy of my vaccine selfie.

— Jackie