Beloved readers: Like many Pentagon dwellers, your friend and humble narrator has been working from home recently to avoid coming down with the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), hereafter referred to as the crappy little bug. While this reporter has not yet befriended a volleyball named Wilson, it has taken some time to get used to the isolation.

The Pentagon is more than a large low-rise office building. It is a self-contained community. The best way to know what is going on is to be there every day, yet now most of my communication with the people I work with is done electronically. (I had to ask someone by phone if the Pentagon wanted to respond to Cardi B’s plea for help. A query of that importance should really be delivered in person.)

Over the past few days, this reporter has come up with some survival tips for those of you who are also separated from our beloved five-sided fortress of solitude. Hopefully, this information will come in handy as we all work to flatten the curve.

Try crying a lot

At least once a day, you should curl yourself into a ball and cry. Your humble narrator learned how to do this during countless disappointing Philadelphia Eagles seasons. Not only does it relieve tension, but it is both aerobic and anaerobic.

Keep your bosses up to date on the work you’re not doing

Let’s face it: Everyone’s productivity is going to head straight into the toilet for the foreseeable future, but we can at least pretend to be doing something. It’s good to send your supervisors reassuring emails letting them know you’re “on top of things’ when you are really watching erotic clips from “Outlander,” especially the one where Claire tells Jamie: “Do it now. And don’t be gentle.”

Get dressed

If you are talking to people on Zoom, FaceTime or Google Hangouts, you will make an infinitely better impression on them if you are fully dressed. It may be tempting to treat every day as if it’s a weekend – when pants are totally optional around the house – but “work’s out” does not mean “balls out.”

Forage for food

The crappy little bug has turned grocery shopping into a full contact sport. Good luck trying to have food delivered. If you want a challenge to keep yourself occupied, head out to food stores to find what’s left in the empty aisles. For tips about locating food, read “All Quiet on the Western Front.”

Avoid touching yourself

You know what I mean.

Watch videos of people working out while eating comfort food

Gyms are not the most sanitary places in the best of times, so your workout facility is probably closed right now. Fortunately, there are plenty of videos online about how you can do intensive workouts from home. This reporter has a friend in Israel who volunteered to do virtual Pilates lessons. (Pilates are what beautiful women do to prove their tolerance for pain is Christ-like.)

I’ve found that rather than actually doing these intensive workouts from home, I feel better watching videos of people exert themselves while eating peanut butter straight out of the jar. It’s like PT for your mind combined with chicken soup for your soul.


It’s dry skin season. Just saying.

Become a Twitter expert

There’s a lot of bad information floating on social media about how the military is responding to the crappy little bug, so why not throw your hat in the ring? If you are a Marine veteran who served in motor transport, you know more about mobilizing the National Guard than every federal, state, and local official on TV all the time.

Now is the time to tweet about how your experience in the military provides a unique window into the Defense Department’s capabilities to slow the spread of this pandemic. Please be sure to make Instagram videos too about “What the Pentagon doesn’t want you to know about coronavirus.”

Keep in touch with loved ones

In all seriousness, make sure you stay connected with family and friends. This miserable bug will be around for quite a while and all we have is each other.

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Jeff Schogol covers the Pentagon for Task & Purpose. He has covered the military for nearly 15 years and embedded with U.S. troops in Iraq and Haiti. Prior to joining T&P, he covered the Marine Corps and Air Force at Military Times. Comments or thoughts to share? Send them to Jeff Schogol via email at or direct message @JeffSchogol on Twitter.