The terrible plague of 2020 began last February and thereby launched the single worst year of our lives — a pandemic that will likely continue in a very real and suffocating sense for another four or six or (God help us) eight months or even (good God, please no) into the fall of ’21.

I just want it fully understood that there’s nothing the least bit funny about 2020. There can never be anything funny about 2020…ever ever ever. Not sardonically, bitterly, obliquely or ironically…2020 and the word “funny” will always be separated by vast oceans and deserts and mountain chains.

I thought I had it bad when I was a kid — little did I know. My despair and depression years began when I was six or thereabouts, or when I began attending Devil’s Island grade school. Junior and senior high were even worse.

Save for the fantasy release of TV and especially movies as well as books I actually wanted to read (Robert Benchley, Charles Dickens, Ernest Hemingway, Joseph Conrad) as opposed to ones I was forced to read in school, my life was a miserable gulag existence until I hit my early 20s, and even then it mildly sucked until I finally got going as a writer in my mid to late 20s.

The “happy” years, as they were, began sometime in the early ’80s, and then the kids came along in the late ’80s. And then the ’91 divorce and the in-and-out, up-and-down adventures of the ’90s, and then things dramatically improved when the column began in ’98, and then came the HE peak years — 2005 to 2017.

And then came the age of woke persecution and Khmer Rouge re-education, and the lugging of heavy sacks of salt and coal and trudging barefoot through the snow with nothing to keep me warm but the hot breath of the Cossacks.

Life will never be a walk in the park and will always be subject to the usual swings of luck and fate, but before last February I’d never begun to even imagine such profound feelings of stillborn lethargy and empty purgatory, such a paralyzing state of oddly levitating nothingness, as I came to know when the pandemic settled in big-time last March. My soul didn’t “die” exactly, but it stopped vibrating. Life, as I had known it for so many decades, stopped.

Nearly all of us feel the same way, I presume. What an awful draining thing to live through. Okay, not as bad as the Black Death that afflicted Europe for seven or eight years (1346 to 1353) but still…

Here’s another way of putting it.