The Rear End

THE REAR END: Roll Out the Feral

when the pandemic’s got you going wild

Mike Paulus, illustrated by Eva Paulus |

I keep seeing people talk about going “feral” after 12+ months spent largely cut off from our normal social structures. They joke about the weird habits they’ve formed and odd people they’ve become as they’ve adapted to the isolation and coping mechanisms of pandemic life. Bizarre eating schedules, confusing clothing combinations, strange thoughts … everything feels off kilter.

Well, this is amazing news, and I am here for it.

If I could magically make the pandemic disappear, I would. I’d erase as much hardship and heartache as this magic would allow. But until my mystic, reality-bending powers kick in, I’ll deal with what we’ve got, and if what we’ve got is going feral, then good. Let’s go feral.

Maybe a return to our more basic instincts is good. Maybe a closer understanding of what our minds and bodies need to survive is a positive thing. Maybe we can all let our guard down and collectively agree to just chill out and wear jammie pants and not feel guilty about it.

We live in a world of social agreements and maybe we can just, I don’t know, agree on some different stuff right now? Let’s not be embarrassed about how we eat, dress, think, and live. Let’s go feral and achieve a kind of oneness with our world and each other.

I mean, don’t do anything dangerous. Stay hydrated. Check in on each other and don’t eat the entire bag of peanut butter M&Ms. But remember that we’re all feeling a little loopy. A little wild. We’re all a little lost and we’re doing our best.

I mean, don’t do anything dangerous. Stay hydrated. Check in on each other and don’t eat the entire bag of peanut butter M&Ms. But remember that we’re all feeling a little loopy.


I won’t judge your ninth binge of The Office if you won’t mention the fort I’ve built from empty Pringles cans, one of which is still stuck on my fist.

Some of you may have no idea what I’m talking about. You haven’t isolated as much, and you’ve tried to keep doing what you normally do, just safer. I know some people have still been taking vacations and traveling and seeing friends and they’ve been just fine. No COVID-19 for them.

And I know people who’ve died.

So if you’ve been isolating and just dealing with This Feral Life, I see you. And I thank you. Keep it up.

I’m defiantly on the more isolated side of the spectrum. And yes, I’ve been feeling more and more feral.

My family has settled into a more sequestered existence. Without a doubt, our homebody routines have sustained us through the pandemic. Yes, we’ve gotten on each other’s nerves. Yes, on some days, the house feels very small. Yes, I’ve totally freaked out over PEOPLE MESSING WITH MY OFFICE CHAIR.*

But I’m proud that our sanity has remained largely intact because we’re just … good at home. And yep, because we’re a little feral.

How far will we let it go? I don’t know. Maybe my kids will replace normal salutations with grunts and growls and head butts.

Throughout the pandemic we’ve been working our way through the Marvel Cinematic Universe as a family. I mean, minus most of the TV shows because, come on, there’re only so many hours in a week, and it’s not like we possess the Time Stone, am I right? Pretty sure Captain America returned it to the proper timeline following Endgame and also, it’s fictional.

Anyway, the majority of the family’s non-essential visual stimuli has involved super-powered people bounding around CGI set pieces while shooting lasers and mythical hammers and spider webs at each other. So, between that and a year of limited social interaction, I don’t think it’d be weird for my son to leap from a bookshelf brandishing a toilet brush and a frying pan lid while his sister yells PEW PEW PEW in lieu of a “Good morning.”

In fact, I’d really like that.

So thanks, pandemic! You did something right.