Going Stir Crazy

I have here an email from a woman named Ella who lives in New York City. Ella writes:

“I turn 76 years old in two days… I’m trying not to lose my mind, but being trapped inside this little apartment and self-quarantining with my daughter and her roommate, I’m starting to go stir crazy!

“It’s been a long two years for me, I have survived breast cancer, and an autoimmune disease, please write something upbeat just for me that doesn’t even mention COVID-19 and take my mind off of it.”

Ella, since we don’t know each other, and since I don’t have your personal details, I guess I’ll just start writing something based on what I DO know about you.

For starters, you’re turning 76. This means that, if we do some basic math… Subtract the six… Carry the two… Divide the coefficient… Take the remainder and shove it up the cosine’s exponent… Made a mistake and kissed a snake, how many doctors did it take…?

You were born in 23 BC.

No wait. That can’t be right. I’m sorry, Ella. Math has never been my strong suit. Let me try that again. You were born in 1944.

Before I wrote this, I was doing some research on your birth year and found out that ‘44 was a pivotal year. The war was still on, Navy ships were still being attacked, Roosevelt was president, America’s most edgy pop-star was Bing Crosby. There were also several historical figures born that year, such as Diana Ross, Jerry Springer, and of course Boz Scaggs.

Boz Scaggs. Now there’s a name I haven’t heard in ages. Do you remember him? Of course you do, who doesn’t? He was a singer-songwriter who had a big hit from the movie soundtrack “Urban Cowboy,” starring John Travolta. The song was titled “Look What You’ve Done to Me.”

This song was majorly depressing. My friend’s older sister, Sandy, had this cassette tape and played this song roughly 53,202 times every single day. Whenever we would walk by Sandy’s bedroom door, there would be lots of estrogen coming from her room. Sometimes you could see it seeping from beneath the door.

And Sandy’s little brother would always say in a serious voice, “Stay away from Sandy today, my mom said she’s got the hormones.”

This was bad news. We boys had never known anyone who actually came down with a case of the hormones. We’d only heard about things like this happening in Third World countries where they didn’t have clean drinking water.

You didn’t want to catch the hormones. Teenage girls who caught the hormones, according to my pal Johnny Randall, wound up so bad off that for the rest of their adult lives they had to visit bathrooms together in groups.

So we steered clear of Sandy. But I still remember her listening to that music. Sometimes she would be crying in her bedroom, mostly because of various boys. Her boyfriend, H.J., was always doing something to tick her off.

Sandy once got so upset with H.J. that she offered to pay me and my buddy, Todd, three bucks to slash H.J.’s bicycle tires. Todd and I were about to cut the tires when we came up with this brilliant plan.

Our plan involved waiting beside H.J.’s bicycle until we saw him, whereupon we would announce, “Hey, H.J.! Sandy’s paying us three bucks to slash your tires, how much will you pay us NOT to slash your tires?”

It was a great plan. And it worked, too. H.J. was very generous. He gave us two broken ribs and a few atomic wedgies from hell.

What was I talking about again?

Oh, yes. Boz Scaggs. Well if there’s one thing old Boz taught us, it’s that girls can hurt you. My cousin Lydia, for instance, was always crying at romance movies when she was a teenager. All those tears made you sort of think she was soft and tender inside. But she was not tender, especially when it came to people messing with her Stuff. Lydia took her Stuff very seriously.

If we boys ever broke into her room and stole her Leif Garret poster, or God forbid, her Donny Osmond picture book, she turned into the Bionic Woman. Suddenly she could bench press Buicks, and turn her head 360 degrees.

She would chase us for seven miles without even breaking a sweat, then use our faces to scrub oil stains off the driveway. To this day, I’m missing a molar because I was once an accessory to stealing Lydia’s “Teen Beat” magazine with Scott Baio on the cover.

Well, darn it. I’ve come to the end of this special column that I wrote for Ella. I didn’t say half the things I wanted to say. I’ve never been very good under pressure.

Still, if you’re reading this, I want you to know something, all kidding aside. You deserve to have a happy birthday, Ella. Lord knows, you’ve been through enough this year.

I know this probably doesn’t mean much coming from someone like me, but when you blow out your candles, I hope you remember that some guy in Podunk, Florida, is sincerely wishing you the best year of your life.

May you make it through this self-quarantine with your sanity and your health. And when it’s over, maybe one day we’ll meet, and I can hug you in person.

Just as long as you can guarantee that I won’t catch a case of the hormones.


  1. Ann - March 26, 2020 9:28 am

    Fortunately hormones eventually pass just like other things will if we embrace…diversion…humor…common sense…caution..and FAITH and Sean columns to help us “see”….

  2. Nell Thomas - March 26, 2020 9:59 am

    Great job Sean. Don’t know about Ella in New York but this 73 year old in Mississippi sure got a laugh out of it. I want to wish Ella a very happy Birthday. Thank you. Stay safe. Watch out for those hormones.

  3. KiKi - March 26, 2020 10:36 am

    Happy 76 Birthday Ella! Enjoy your day knowing lots of people read about you today and wish you the best. Laugh and smile as you are being sent lots of hugs. If I could see you in person I would give you a big, long hug and tell you it’s all going to be okay.

  4. Marilyn - March 26, 2020 11:26 am

    ♪♫ Happy Birthday ♫♪ Ella! And thank you Sean for the upbeat message. You help keep us sane in these troubled times.

  5. Terri - March 26, 2020 12:38 pm

    Happy birthday Ella!

  6. Harriet White - Atlanta - March 26, 2020 12:52 pm

    Omg Sean. I laughed out loud! That was great especially the ending- a case of hormones! Perfect.

  7. Dickie Spargo - March 26, 2020 1:14 pm

    Hormones are REAL!! Happy Birthday Ella from a Southern Baptist Preacher in North Carolina!

  8. Connie Havard Ryland - March 26, 2020 1:23 pm

    I hope Ella is reading this. Happy Birthday Ella all the way from Alabama and thank you Sean. I don’t know about everyone else, but you made me giggle. I hope everyone out there is doing okay. Love and virtual hugs all around.

  9. Karen Good - March 26, 2020 1:40 pm

    Thank you – thank you – thank you for the laugh this morning! And, a very Happy Birthday to Ella🎁 PS – the Boz Scaggs song is my very favorite from Urban Cowboy! I have the soundtrack, and listen to it over and over. Still see the action in the movie when they played it! Safe and happy isolation days to all ! We will get thru this ❣️

  10. Mary Adamy - March 26, 2020 1:44 pm

    Happy Birthday, Ella! Eat cake and celebrate🎂 Thanks for another great humorous read, Sean of the South!

  11. Julia - March 26, 2020 2:04 pm

    Great article! Happy Birthday, Ella! 🎉🥳🎶 When condition permit, celebrate big, but for now, wishing you the very best health!

  12. AlaRedClayGirl - March 26, 2020 2:08 pm

    Just remember two things…”This too shall pass” and “That which does not kill us makes us stronger.” This coronavirus will pass away (hopefully soon) and the majority of us are going to be much stronger for having gone through it. Happy Birthday, Ella!!

  13. Cathi Russell - March 26, 2020 2:28 pm

    Happy Birthday Ella! You have a lot of folks (me included) sending you heart smiles & lots of love. We’re gonna come through this stronger & better than ever. And Sean wrote a column about you…that’s the best birthday present EVER!

  14. Susan Kennedy - March 26, 2020 2:50 pm

    Happy Birthday Ella!!

  15. MermaidGrammy - March 26, 2020 2:54 pm

    Lovely. May you never have another bad day

  16. Libby Murphy - March 26, 2020 2:58 pm

    Happy Birthday Ella. And thank you Sean for your funny self. You make me laugh and it’s a good feeling considering the Corona mess that we’re in.
    Just remember that one of these days all of this will be “Gone With the Wind”. And every thing is going to be alright.😊

  17. Sandi - March 26, 2020 3:10 pm

    Happy Birthday Ella! And thanks for the well needed laughs Sean, God knows we all need it.

  18. Diana - March 26, 2020 3:19 pm

    Happy Birthday, Ella!
    And, Sean, you really started our day off with laughter! We look forward to your post every day!

  19. Karla Kuriger - March 26, 2020 3:38 pm

    OMG! This made me laugh out loud! Thanks for this well-written piece of funny!!!!

  20. CAROLYN BLOUNT - March 26, 2020 3:40 pm

    Ella, I also am a dinosaur, born in ’44, and self-isolating in Florida…I feel you Sista’. We didn’t get this old without some rough navigating in our history, but this isolation business is different! We have grit that no one has even seen yet, so hang on.
    I wish you a Happy Birthday…this will certainly be one that stands out in your memory. Birthday wishes and hugs from the South.

  21. Linda Moon - March 26, 2020 3:53 pm

    My mother had a LONG-lasting case of the the hormones. Unlike her, I fondly remember my TEENAGE hormones – for catching boys. My mom caught me crying in my bedroom once, and ONLY once, because of one of those jerks…..I mean, “boys”. HAPPY BIRTHDAY, Ella! I sincerely hope that you will get one of Sean’s big hugs soon! WARNING: those hugs of his can give you a case of some good endorphins!!

  22. H J Patterson - March 26, 2020 3:59 pm

    Ah yes – William Royce Scaggs, actually better now than he was 30 years ago and can play many genres very well. Coming to the Gouge Center at Auburn University in October, I hope. Check out the live version of this tune – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oI08u7md2TQ And Happy Birthday Ella! May there be many more and hang in there.

  23. Edna Barron - March 26, 2020 4:59 pm

    Happy Birthday to Ella. We’re all in some sort of isolation, but we keep waking up in the morning. For that I’m very thankful. You have a wonderful day, hugs, Edna B.

  24. Brenda Turner-Griffin - March 26, 2020 5:02 pm

    Happy Birthday, Ella! Thank you Sean. You bring laughter to every day and that is in short supply right now.

  25. Susan Parker - March 26, 2020 5:57 pm

    Have the happiest of birthdays, Ella! And may this be your only “quiet” one!

  26. catladymac - March 26, 2020 7:41 pm

    Happy Birthday Ella ! I am the youngest member of my high school class of 1963 – meaning bunches of them are already 75 and I am still only 74. Even sol, I believe I can sense a bit of your angst/boredom.
    Sean’s mention of all those HORMONES seemed to overlook the fact that, if you are isolated with your daughter and her roommate, you may STILL be dealing with hormones.
    Best wishes, and sounds like you have worked hard to get this far, so just keep at it.

  27. angie5804 - March 26, 2020 10:46 pm

    Finally – someone else who knows Boz Scaggs! https://angie5804.wordpress.com/2017/12/15/30-things-i-love-right-now/

  28. Berryman Mary M - March 27, 2020 12:06 am

    Happy Birthday, Ella!

  29. Rebecca J Cotney - March 27, 2020 1:45 am

    Happy Birthday Ella!!!!

  30. Teresa - March 27, 2020 2:54 am

    Happy Birthday Ella!

  31. Nancy M - March 27, 2020 3:50 am

    Happy Birthday, Ella! Have a great day with your family!

  32. Mary Hinton - March 27, 2020 3:26 pm

    You’re so funny, Sean. You remind me of my son, Walter, who died 4 years ago. He had red hair, long, and a beard.and a sense of humor, too.

  33. Mary Hinton - March 27, 2020 3:27 pm

    How can I get you on Facebook?

  34. Fran Nance - March 27, 2020 10:31 pm

    Mary, If you go to search on Facebook, and type in Sean of the South, his page will come up. Just like or follow, and you will see his posts on a regular basis!

  35. Cindi Blackburn - March 30, 2020 9:01 pm

    You’re a nut! I love your stories and the insight you have to everyday things. Keep them coming please.

  36. Hester Guest - April 16, 2020 1:11 pm

    Sean, you are absolutely an amazing blessing!

  37. Christina from Colorado - May 3, 2020 1:24 am

    Well done Sean. For three point two minutes, I didn’t think about anything but my old Leif Garrett poster and Ella’s birthday. I hope she enjoyed her day! Thanks for taking our minds elsewhere…

  38. Donna McPherson - May 3, 2020 2:52 am

    Happiest of birthdays Ella! May you find a little something to smile about every hour of every day!

  39. Teena Kennedy - May 3, 2020 11:35 am

    Happy Birthday Ella!
    I computed Seans’ Math😄.
    You came along just two years after my Mama, who God Bless Her, isn’t minding not getting out & about, so much as she is weekly hugs at least once ir twice, more if we are out & about. Ive only been “out” 4 times since mid January.
    Mainly, because I have a five year old Granblessing that I care for everyday while her Mama works with the mentally handicapped. They both also live here, since a month after she was born & I committed to getting her & her Mama out of a bad situation.
    Anyways the little one has been undergoing testing as to why she has seasonal bouts of Croup that is/has been bad enough to recieve liquid steroids & or breathing treatments. She had a special appointment with an allergist the week she came down with positive Flu B.
    Yeah, that was mid January. The quarantine has affected her socializing more than mine.
    As it is we were spo’se to “slowly”
    open up here in Ohio, on Friday, Governor said, “not yet”. I went out to get a few things yesterday & the traffic was “normal” for the first time since Feb.
    I think folks are feeling, “enough” & prayers for Gods’ protections
    So the same to you & may he Bless you Real good!

  40. Mary Hicks - May 12, 2020 9:55 pm

    I know this had to thrill this going stir crazy lady!! Thanks Sean. God bless you and Jamie.


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