The Long Goodbye (To Covid)

This past Friday marked the two year anniversary of my positive covid diagnosis. I had planned on posting a little something to mark the occasion, and to talk about how I am still, all this time later, dealing with the dreaded, ever mysterious, so-called long-covid symptoms; partly to inform people of why my output has been so sporadic and why certain projects that were supposed to be finished or launched by now haven’t been, and partly to to just bitch because it is really goddamned frustrating and annoying. However, as if to offer up a perfect demonstration of what’s been going on, I spent the majority of the last 5 days in bed, completely exhausted, with what felt like every bone and muscle in my body aching at least a little bit.

This was pretty much a daily occurrence for me from the end of March 2020 to late May of last year. Then I received my second Moderna shot and, fortunately, my long-covid symptoms mostly disappeared, but not entirely! I was able to get back to some semblance of normal, fully functioning activity, but the symptoms would still pop up after I had been particularly active for more than a week or two at a time. Just when I felt like I was on a roll and about to get back to normal, I would get completely drained of energy and my body starts to seize up. It’s not a normal stiffness or achiness like I’ve ever experienced, but feels like my body beginning to lock in place and shut down. At times I can even feel it in my jaw and tongue, to the point that swallowing is an effort. 

Not only is this just unpleasant to experience on its own, but it has been a colossal pain in the ass for me, because: while my body constantly needed to slow down or stop, my brain and the bills didn’t. I needed to work both to keep a roof over mine and Mickey’s heads and food in our bellies, and I also really, really wanted to work on all these new ideas I kept coming up with. To find myself unable to do either with any sort of consistency has been one of the most frustrating experiences of my life. Also, with bipolar disorder, where you’re constantly dealing with fluctuating energy levels and struggling to sit still or focus, throwing this on top can be, to use a phrase coined by Shane MacGowan, a real bitch’s bastard’s whore (the irony of this all happening just as I finally learned how to manage and live with being bipolar is both brutal and hilarious). Two years ago, when I tested positive, I was expecting a long, shitty weekend before going back to normal and getting back to business. Instead, I have probably spent more time in bed in the last two years than I did the five before that. I don’t care how many e-books, streaming services, or porn one has access to, that gets really old and really boring after awhile.

That’s the bad news. The good news is, I finally got myself some health insurance again and have been able to start seeing a doctor about all this. The entire covid experience: the virus, the inactivity, the living out of a suitcase in various hotels, the getting fat, the pouring coffee, Red Bull, ibuprofen, and booze down my throat all day just to power through the pain and fatigue and get any work done at all, those all really did a number on me. My cholesterol is through the roof. My vitamin D is in the basement. My blood pressure and sugar are high. So now I’m on a daily exercise program, a strictly regulated diet, and taking a fistful of pills with my morning coffee. Hopefully, just taking care of those things will alleviate most (I doubt they’ll get rid of all) of my symptoms and I can get back to doing what I want to do, and being who I want to be, on a full-time basis again.

I think that the two straight weeks of daily workouts combined with the lower calorie intake is one of the reasons I was laid up again these past few days (when I would still drag my ass out of bed for some sit-ups and push-ups in the morning before crawling back under the covers for the day). I probably have to build up my strength to get used to that. I am hoping, though, that this does work and that it’s the beginning of the end of my affair with covid. I’m sure that, like any bad long-term relationship, occasional reminders will continue to pop up long after the breakup, but I’m not going to say hello if I see it out at a bar, or like any of its Instagram posts.

I’m not looking for any sympathy or pity. I’m mostly writing this to explain why my production has been so sporadic and why jobs I took on and new projects I’ve announced have not been finished or launched yet. And because it is a giant pain in the dick and bitching about it feels nice. The hope is that what I’m doing now does alleviate most of this and get me fully armed and operational again. My goal now is to get as much done as possible in the next week or two, get every drawing and painting that was supposed to be finished weeks or months ago done and off my plate, and, by my birthday at the end of next month, to have a number of other new pieces done and all my new planned projects and ventures up and running (and spitting out dimes).

As you can see, I have piles of work to finish in addition to the piles of pills to take. There are also a dozen or so other pieces that have been started that aren’t pictured, not to mention a list of about 150 art and design ideas to do on the papers in that clipboard, two weekly podcasts I want to launch, regular live drawing and painting videos each week, Yankee commentary videos and interviews, and a children’s book or two to illustrate. I really, really hope I can get to it all soon. 

So, once again, thanks for following. Thanks for all the support, encouragement, and patience. Thanks for the business. Please continue to be patient and continue to follow along. I’m doing everything I can to make it worth your while. There’s some real cool shit coming. If not, there will always be cute dog pics.

Happy Thanksgiving!

I just wanted to wish you all a happy Thanksgiving. Hopefully you get to enjoy it a bit more, and with a bit more people, than you did last year. As a thank you to all my followers, here’s a li’l Thanksgiving turkey drawing to download, print, and color at home in between bites of pie (click here for the hi-res .pdf). Enjoy!

Happy Birthday Mickey And Minnie!

Happy 93rd anniversary to the world’s favorite mouse couple, who made their debut on this date in 1928’s “Steamboat Willie”. As a birthday gift, here’s a little pic I drew depicting their iconic kiss from 1938’s “Brave Little Tailor”, and scanned for you and/or your kids to print and color at home (I’ll post my coloring job later😉). Enjoy! (Click here to download the .pdf file)

The Great Trick Or Treat Sneak

It’s been a horrible year and a half for damn near everyone, myself included, so, as a Halloween treat for all my followers, I’m offering a free preview of a Halloween-themed children’s book I’ve written, as well as the first rough of the cover design, which you can also download and print as a coloring book page!

This is a little dark and may not be suitable for the youngest of kids. There is talk of monsters who eat children, so parents might want to give it a once-over before handing it off. But, if you’re the type of person who loves darkly comic, yet kind-of-cute stuff like The Addams Family, The Nightmare Before Christmas, or Disney’s Haunted Mansion, then I think you’ll dig this. I hope so.

I’m putting this out to gauge reaction, then hope to have it fully illustrated edited, and published in time for next Halloween, so, please feel free to share. And, if you really enjoy it and want to help a struggling artist and his dog enjoy some Halloween treats of their own, you can leave a tip on the bar at paypal.me/craigmahoney or through Venmo at @Craig-Mahoney. Thanks and enjoy!

THE GREAT TRICK OR TREAT SNEAK

(Click to here to download a black and white .pdf of the above image to color.)

Long ago, near a town, not much unlike your own

In a cave in the woods, monsters made their home.

And every October, on the 31st

That’s when these monsters got up to their worst!

It’s the biggest night for each ghoul, ghost, and beast.

We call it Halloween. They call it The Feast!

A night when they’d chomp on the flesh and the bone

Of each naughty child who wandered off alone.

In this cave lived a father, a mother, and son

And they did not like people. They did not like fun!

Well, actually, that is not really quite right.

The son was intrigued by what he saw on that night.

The costumes! The candy! The whole colorful riot!

It seemed like such fun, and he wanted to try it!

So he went to his parents, asked if he could go

And was met with the loudest, most monstrous “NO!”

His father said:

“This night’s not for fun! Not for tricking or treating!

This night is for growling and snatching and eating!”

Then mother chimed in:

“Listen to your father. He knows what he speaks.

Why, we’ll feast on this feast for at least weeks and weeks!”

“Ok”, said the son, but deep down he was glum.

It was candy, not children, he wanted in his tum-tum.

He wanted chocolate and cider and costumes and toys

To go bobbing for apples, not for girls and for boys

So he made a decision, though his parents would freak out

“If they won’t let me go, then I’ll have to just sneak out!”

While his parents prepared for their night of debauch

He began his escape out from under their watch

He crept past their room and took one of the sacks

That this year would be filled with different kinds of snacks.

Then he dashed from their cave, through the woods, toward the streets

To join all the children in costume on their quest for treats.

As he walked to the door of the nearest house

This little monster was nervous as a mouse

 A jack o’lantern sat there as his reception

Was this the skull of some other monster who tried this deception?

But when the door was opened, instead of reacting with fright

The humans said his costume was a spooky delight!

And so it went on, from door on to door

No one had seen a costume quite like his before!

He received “oohs” and “ahs” and compliments grand

And best of all, candy, filling the sack in his hand!

He met other children and they invited him there

To the Halloween party held in the town square

As the evening wore on and the sky grew dark

He played games with the other children in the park

He went bobbing for apples, he ate cakes and pies

And in the costume contest he took home first prize!

But when he saw the full moon floating high in the sky

He knew that he must bid his new friends goodbye

With a quick farewell he ran off back to his lair

Fearing the punishment that awaited him there

At first when he’d gone, his parents were just curious

But, after all of these hours, now they were furious!

He nervously crept back into the cave

To stand there and take it while they ranted and raved.

“Where have you been, my dear? Where did you go?

Please tell us you weren’t with those humans below.”

“I went trick or treating! I played games and ate pies!

I went bobbing for apples! My fur won first prize!

And when I saw it was late I hurried right back

To bring you this candy I have in my sack!

Please do me this favor. Won’t you please try it?

You need more than bad little kids in your diet”

His mother and father both agreed cautiously

Then reached into his candy-filled sack a bit nauseously.

They each took their time engaged in close inspection

Before warily ingesting each bright confection.

Then their eyes opened wide, both lit up like the moon.

As they started to chew they began to swoon.

“This is the most delicious thing I’ve put into my mouth!

And I’ve eaten my fill from far north to deep south.

If only we’d known what we’d missed all these years

Skulking in the dark and hiding in fear.

No more scaring and growling and snatching and eating

From now on, each year, we’ll ALL go trick-or-treating!”

So, next year, when monsters come knock at your door

Look a little bit closer than you did before.

How do they look? How do they smell, sound, or feel?

Because most of them will be children, but some of them… may be REAL.

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

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