The Luv Doc: A Bad Case of ZTSD

The Luv Doc has a fat Santa's bag of helpful advice

The Luv Doc: A Bad Case of ZTSD

Dear Luv Doc,

Before I sound too whiny let me say that I know times are tough and we are all dealing with similar issues, but the one thing that bothers me about the coronavirus pandemic that doesn't seem to bother other people as much is Zoom. Now it seems like my whole day consists of staring at little boxes of people on my computer screen and all of those people seem just as bored and anxious as I am. They also very often have questionable taste in interior design, bad lighting, sketchy internet connections, poor personal grooming, and terrible posture. And, just when I think I am going to get a break from it all, my friends want to have Zoom happy hours so they can drink and tell each other how boring their days have been. I am also now Zooming regularly with my mom and dad, my sisters, and sometimes their kids. I didn't talk to any of them this much before the pandemic, but now they seem to expect my attendance on a regular basis. The problem is, I am having trouble coming up with reasons to beg off. It's not like my social calendar is extra full these days. What's your best excuse to get out of a Zoom meeting?

Feeling Zoom Gloom


So there's this new thing called "Messenger Rooms" on Facebook. It's almost exactly like Zoom but you're limited to only 50 people per meeting. Google Meet, however, allows up to 100 people in a meeting and has no time limits – at least not until September 30, by which point no one will be able to watch the intro to The Brady Bunch without wanting to gouge their eyes out with forks. I feel you. We are only three months into pandemia and I have a bad case of ZTSD – not just because with each new day my hi-def Zoom face looks just a little more like the Crypt Keeper, but because my singular talent as a conversationalist – the ability to interrupt a perfectly good conversation with a boorish, bloviated interjection that is almost entirely tone-deaf to the topic at hand (not unlike what I do in this column on a weekly basis) – is severely limited by the everybody-must-wait-their-turn, democratizing technological limitations of the Zoom interface.

It's just fucking terrible. My overinflated ego wants all the screen time it can get ... right up until I actually get said screen time and the visage of Bret Kavanaugh crossed with a shar-pei and the rotting corpse of my great grandfather pops on the screen and I feel a deeply unsettling but probably healthy instinct to just STFU. Gone are the heady days when a saggy-necked middle-age white man could indulge in the fantasy that he should either be seen or heard. Time's up. Maybe I should just shuffle out on the front porch and wave my clenched fist at all those hooligan kids whose smooth, youthful, liver-spot-free complexions are being wasted beneath those multiple layers of prophylactic PPE. After all, if you can't be resentful of youth, beauty, and intelligence, what's left? Oh, shit! It's flapping its jaws at me in hi-def from my Zoom screen! Abort! Abort! STFU!

Oh, but I do have a fat Santa's bag full of helpful advice for anyone willing to slog through a couple of paragraphs of dense meandering prose. Here's yours: If you want to get out of a Zoom meeting, just mute the camera and microphone and go make yourself a drink or maybe masturbate awkwardly in front of your embarrassed house cat. I am mostly sure the Illuminati won't secretly be recording you through your webcam. If you lack the confidence to roll like a baller, you can always leave a message in the chat that you're "cleaning up a really ugly mess," which, if you're a sloppy drinker or masturbator, won't be far from the truth. Otherwise, you're going to have to raise the white flag of honesty and tell your friends/co-workers/relatives that you're a little burned out and you need to do something that doesn't involve your face emblazoned across a few million pixels. If they're not OK with that tell them they can write you a complaint letter – ideally on some nice fucking stationery.

Need some advice from the Luv Doc? Send your questions to the Luv Doc, check out the Luv Doc Archive, and subscribe to the Luv Doc Newsletter.

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