Advice King: Reflecting on a Year of the Pandemic

Comedian, musician, host of Chris Crofton's Advice King Podcast and former Nashvillian Chris Crofton asked the Scene for an advice column, so we gave him one. Crowning himself the “Advice King,” Crofton will share his hard-won wisdom with whosoever seeks it. Follow Crofton on Facebook and Twitter, and to submit a question for the Advice King, email bestofbread[at]gmail[dot]com or editor[at]nashvillescene[dot]com.

Dear Advice King,

After a full year in lockdown, it seems like a good time to reflect on things. What do you think should be my main takeaway from this whole experience (so far)?

—George in Eugene, Ore.

Hi George! I don’t know what your takeaway should be. I can only share mine. Do you want the good news or the bad news first? I’ll start with the bad news.

I found out that a bunch of people FREAK OUT at the mention of death. Some of them freak out so badly that they pretend it isn’t occurring. They say it’s fake. They say that there is no disease. They say there are no people in the hospital. They say it’s just the flu. They say it’s a plot. They blame preexisting conditions. They say, “It’s only the elderly,” as if they themselves are not mortal, and will never be old.

I don’t think these people are evil, George. I think they have been cornered, like rats, in the consumerist maze we call America. A cornered rat lashes out because it fears for its life. A cornered American lashes out because it doesn’t know what to do with itself if it can’t go to restaurants. 

Death is dignified, consumer tantrums are not. They are disheartening. It has been deeply disappointing for me to discover that some humans are so obsessed with restaurants that they will deny death, and disrespect the dead. Death is not just “a time when you can’t go to restaurants.” It is something we all have to face. It’s part of “God’s plan,” for chrissakes. We MUST do better in this area.

Now, the good news. I love nature! Before the pandemic, I had a hard time connecting with nature. If I went on a hike, it was because someone forced me. Usually, that person would be a woman, because women are smarter than men. And before you can say, “Hey, get a load of ol' Advice King, trying to score points with the ladies,” consider this: When I was in college, my girlfriend had to convince me to spend a semester in Italy. I told her I didn’t see why we had to travel all that way since “there was plenty of beer in Connecticut.” Haha. 

OK, women are smarter than me. How’s that?

Anyway, before the pandemic, the whole time I was hiking I was thinking that I wished it would be over soon so I could sit in a coffee shop and play with my phone. I was preoccupied. I was itching to get back to the consumerist maze. I wasn’t really in the woods — I was in my head. 

When the pandemic hit, I couldn’t go to the gym. I’m not a bodybuilder, but 30 minutes a day on the “hunting and gathering simulator” (elliptical) helps immensely with my depression. I didn’t know what to do.

FUN FACT: I live in Monrovia, Calif. I live about 2,500 feet from the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains. I had rarely even looked in their direction before the pandemic. I had always looked in the other direction — toward the coffee shops and movie theaters. For the first time in my life, I turned away from civilization. I turned toward the mountains.

I have now hiked those foothills HUNDREDS of times! I rely on them, and I love them. My new friends are bears, deer, flowers, oranges, avocados and the setting sun. I am a new man. 

Death is nothing to fear. It’s a sunset. And an orange. Fuck restaurants.

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