As discussed previously in the Gazette, a useful coping mechanism in these difficult times is to look for the positives and to write them down. According to mental health professionals, this exercise is more effective when it’s done on a regular basis. The following are additions to the previous list.

All comfort food is now guilt-free.

Tele-happy hours have been a blast. Why didn’t we think of this before? Catching up with far flung friends over cocktails is very restorative, and the chances of getting an OUI are practically nil unless I get pulled over between my couch and my refrigerator. One drawback — my friends in Scotland are five hours ahead. And they’re Scottish. By the time I get to commune with my California friends, I’m luggage. I once tried substituting tea with my Scottish friends but they hung up on me in disgust.

Thanks to YouTube I’ve learned knitting and needlepoint. I made a cardigan depicting the Big Bang. For some reason, it keeps getting bigger.

I broke new ground and clicked on “rent now and watch later” for the first time.

I don’t wake up to an alarm anymore. Being middle-aged, I lost the youthful ability to power sleep decades ago, so I still wake up early. But it’s nice not being jolted awake by a machine, especially on the mornings after I’ve Skyped with my Scottish friends.

My spice rack is finally alphabetized: Pepper. Tabasco. Salt.

I can wear sweat pants every day. That comfort food hasn’t added a pound.

I remain undefeated in chess matches against myself.

The parental response “Because I said so,” is enjoying a long overdue renaissance.

I can put off putting off my taxes for another three months.

I’ve had the chance to hike all over the Island and I have a renewed appreciation of how lucky we are to live in this idyllic place. I’ve also been picking up nip bottles. When they finally put a five cent deposit on them, I’ll have a downpayment for a waterfront house on West Chop.

I’ve just realized my entire spice rack is out of order. That’s tomorrow shot.

Maybe I’ll have to set an alarm after all.

Barry Stringfellow lives in Edgartown