Greg Schwem is a corporate stand-up comedian and author.

I’d been putting it off for months but, once my health club reopened, I saw the fancy, digital scale still tucked in the locker room corner and realized I had no choice. I shed my clothes, climbed on and sucked in my stomach while waiting for the numbers to appear.
It read 203, a 6-pound gain since my last club visit in, uh, wait a minute … March? April? All I remember is that snow was still on the ground.
Much like first-year college students must grapple with the freshmen 15, a 15-pound weight gain typically attributed to late night pizza orders, dime beer specials and unlimited dorm cafeteria desserts, “the COVID 15” has become part of our physiques. And, as states retreat from their reopenings, forcing us back into our homes where a television, a couch and a giant bowl of French Onion potato chips await, we can do one of two things:
A. Start that rigorous home exercise program we should have begun in mid-March
B. Become more creative in our excuses for weight gain.
If you chose B, allow me to comfort you with these five reasons your pants fit about as well as the glove OJ Simpson tried to force over his hand during his murder trial:
1. Masks add weight. If you stepped on a scale, yet were simultaneously practicing social distancing, you wore a mask, am I right? I said, AM I RIGHT? Subtract a few pounds for that. True, my mask weighs less than an ounce; but I didn’t bedazzle it with slogans, sequins and the like. Those additions add unnecessary pounds. It’s not your fault you gained weight. Blame Dr. Fauci.
2. You didn’t know which products would be in short supply. Remember when we were fighting with one another over toilet paper? When we left the store with not one container of anti-bacterial wipes but an entire pallet? You became anxious, correct? You started wondering what else might disappear from grocery shelves and never return. It could be M&Ms. Or peanut butter. Or that heavenly, buttery toffee you only treat yourself to at Christmas time. So, during that Costco run, you purchased the industrial sized container of all three. Then you went home and consumed all of it because, “If I die during this quarantine, at least I’ll die happy.” Good for you!
3. Repairmen are booked solid. It’s true, the coronavirus has made it harder to find a technician willing to come out, promptly, and service those vital appliances like air conditioners, dishwashers, washing machines and, perish the thought, refrigerators. Suppose your trusty fridge decided to die when it was housing the dozen cartons of Ben & Jerry’s you purchased? (See No. 2 for why you made that purchase). That’s why you ate the ice cream so quickly; you hate wasting food.
4. The Food Network. Leave it to this easy-to-find cable channel to expand our waistlines during quarantine. Don’t Food Network executives realize that more than 10% of this country is out of work and has nothing to do except watch “Ridiculous Cakes,” “Girl Scout Cookie Championship” and “The Three Chocolatiers”? And take notes? We may no longer be able to see our shoes when we emerge from quarantine, but we can take comfort knowing we became avid Girl Scout supporters.
5. Liquor stores and marijuana dispensaries. Both were deemed “essential” businesses by most states once it became necessary to decide which types of establishments to shutter during quarantine. That left millions unable to see a doctor for routine wellness checks or incapable of getting their hair cut for that upcoming Zoom job interview but able to get drunk, high and, subsequently, hungry at any moment. If your liquor or weed consumption spiked during the pandemic, it’s your governor’s doing.
So, you see? It’s not your fault you’re an overweight, slovenly mess. So many factors beyond your control contributed to your “COVID 15.”
Which, based on recent developments, may soon become the “COVID 20.”
(Greg Schwem is a corporate stand-up comedian and author of two books: “Text Me If You’re Breathing: Observations, Frustrations and Life Lessons From a Low-Tech Dad” and the recently released “The Road To Success Goes Through the Salad Bar: A Pile of BS From a Corporate Comedian,” available at Visit Greg on the web at
You’ve enjoyed reading, and laughing at, Greg Schwem’s monthly humor columns in Senior Living News. But did you know Greg is also a nationally touring stand-up comedian? And he loves to make audiences laugh about the joys, and frustrations, of growing older. Watch the clip and, if you’d like Greg to perform at your senior center or senior event, contact him through his website at