Unfortunately, we have to extend our hiatus by an extra week. There is plenty of blame to be assessed, but ultimately it comes down to insane work policies at Codex’ ‘Day Job’, and her optometrist.

For those of you sipping either coffee or an adult beverage: Engage yellow alert.

If we could scientifically measure the policies put in place where Codex works, it would be about 12º Kelvin. It isn’t absolute insanity (0º K), because nothing at all would be done and that would be an improvement. They have to wipe everything down with a toxic solution designed to kill all viruses, germs, and bacteria, and yet is perfectly drinkable by children and leaves skin and furniture silky-smooth. Science says it is extremely difficult for the Covid virus to be transmitted via surfaces, but her workplace only follows CNN Science. We’ll just shorthand that to SCieNNce.

I don’t want to doxx Codex so I’ll just say there are a lot of books that people use where Codex works. Yes, they have to wipe down every single page after each shift. So in addition to killing all natural or artificial viruses, germs, and bacteria, and being perfectly drinkable and leave a smooth tequila aftertaste for school board members, while leaving skin, furniture, and house plant fronds silky-smooth, it also must be extra-gentle to paper and ink.

I’m not sure how they developed such a solution but it must have been very, very, expensive. It explains the budget at the institution where Codex works. I was, frankly, relieved when Codex explained all this because I thought it was all going to the Diversity Compliance Department.

Sadly, nobody tested it on glass. Codex has a habit of finding all the weird, obscure bugs in any product, and she managed to catch some back-spray on her face. It left her cheeks and forehead silky-smooth, but it left little blotches etched into her glasses. Codex normally comes home and compliments me on my dashing Fedora and well-polished tines, but when she got home she asked why I was wearing an old leather bag and digging through the leavings off the floor of the internet.

Something was off. I had been digging through the leavings off the floor of the internet – looking for something funny to write about – but the leather bag on my head? What? We rushed to the optometrist, who needed to examine the glasses under special, expensive, light.

“I can fix these,” the optometrist explained. “We can send them back to the glasses factory, where specialized technicians can put in a new lens.” I asked if they were Oompa Loompas. She said, “Sure, if you’re 8.” Our optometrist either doesn’t have a sense of humor or she had a few too many jabs and was dealing with the side effects. Sad either way.

I learned something about Codex, something I hadn’t known in the thirty years that we’ve known each other. Here’s the problem.

That’s Codex with glasses on the left. That’s Codex without glasses on the right. Do you see the problem? I certainly do. In fact, everyone does. Except for Codex, who doesn’t, technically, have eyes. Every time I’ve seen her without her glasses I assumed she was sleeping, and that she had very dainty eyelids.

So for nearly two weeks Codex has been wandering about the house eerily uneyed, and drawing occasionally by braille. She got her eyes glasses back last Wednesday, but we’ve obviously lost a lot of time so we have some special things planned for this week, which sadly doesn’t involve Kit and Ionë having competitive tea. It does involve the longest comic we’ve ever done, coming on Friday.

We’ll be back on our regular schedule come Monday. At least Codex hasn’t had to wipe down book pages with special spray. Next time she goes to work, she is going to suggest they put the books in masks. That’ll save her office tons of time.