To: Donald Trump

Re: My willingness to die for the economy and your reelection campaign

I’m on board with your old-codger kamikaze plan, as espoused by surrogates like the Texas lieutenant governor and not disavowed by you. I accept that old people should place themselves in harm’s way, as a patriotic duty, and die for the Dow. I acknowledge I’m old (68) and pretty much over the hill. Plus, I am sort of wasting away in self-quarantine. I haven’t shaved in several days; I have passed the van Gogh look and am heading for Santa Claus. I also have missed some showers, and I am sleeping about 14 hours a day and only sporadically remember to brush my teeth. I have twice forgotten what day of the week it was. I am living with Rachel, a woman I deeply love but cannot come within six feet of in case one of us is asymptomatically sick. This encourages the aforementioned hygiene lapses. I have just now smelled my armpit, and the results were unnerving.

Just yesterday, Rachel informed me that because laundry-doing had been replaced on her list of concerns by a death-dealing virus, she was wearing my jeans. I shrugged. She looked great in them. No human rules apply anymore. I live in a really nice house, but one of the two bathrooms is entirely carpeted in newspapers. I read them while pooping, then leave them there because who cares? The newspaper layer is 1½ inches thick, a fine and elegant carpet pile, actually. I recommend it to all of you, and frankly it might save the newspaper industry.

In short, though, I’m ready to sacrifice myself for you, Donald Trump! I am despairing enough that Rachel and I recently had the following conversation, which I swear was at least partly serious: If we both died, how long could our dog and cat feast on our corpses before they needed rescuing? Would the dog eat the cat? Would toilets provide enough water, and for how long?

Barnaby the cat is, of course, oblivious, and opportunistic. (“The cat is licking the pizza,” Rachel said. “Fine,” I said.) Murphy the dog is anxious and concerned. She knows something is up — dogs are phenomenally stupid but amazing at knowing when something is up — but doesn’t know what it is. She keeps coming up to us, presenting her wagging butt as a gift and asking if we need face-licks or something, because she is there to serve. There are some ants in the kitchen, but we don’t care. A bottle of wine has been on the floor for four days. Rachel is not disturbed by this. “Well, it’s empty,” she observed. Of course it’s empty.

I am now, finally, willing to admit deeply embarrassing things. For example, I love iceberg lettuce.

So, yep. Ready to go. Gene takes one for Trump. I just have some logistical questions for the president.

1. How can my death best serve you? I do understand that you are an egomaniac and all that matters to you is you, so I am asking this question seriously, and it is of course about you and you alone. Do you need my actual body? Can you burn it to run a generator to power the sprinklers at one of your golf courses for a day?

2. In the final few minutes of my life do you want me to issue a statement about my fealty to you? I know you like these things, and you once said that Jews (I am one) would be disloyal if they vote for a Democrat. So I am happy to make my last words (after expressing love for my family and friends and Rachel and humanity) be something like “and hail to our dear leader.”

3. Or maybe you’d like to have me butchered for one of those greasy overdone burgers you love. I guarantee a high fat content.

4. How about some leadership, dear leader?

Email Gene Weingarten at weingarten@washpost.com. Find chats and updates at washingtonpost.com/magazine.

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