The author’s dog and cat share looks of loathing from across the bed. (Sierra)
The author’s dog and cat share looks of loathing from across the bed.


How to not kill your family during quarantine

April 20, 2020

Every morning of this extended, world-wide quarantine, I wake up, muster up the motivation to change out of my pajamas, and go to the kitchen for breakfast. My mom is in there, NPR on top volume; my dad crosses the entire expanse of the small room to fill the coffee maker with sink water one mug at a time; my sister occupies an entire counter preparing to bake something or other, flour dusting the counter and measuring cups piled up. Not only is our entire family of four converging on one space in the house at the same moment, but our dogs are underfoot, ready for dishes to clean, and our cats are on the hunt, paws shooting out to snatch any cheese, bacon, or berries – yes, berries – left unattended. I would just wait until everyone’s cleared out to eat, but I know the kitchen won’t be left unoccupied for many hours. Plus, I’m hungry. I join the fray.

These mornings wouldn’t be much different than mornings in a pre-apocalyptic world, except for the fact that these days, the morning fray never really ends. All four of us are stuck, on government orders, in a house that seems to get smaller every day. My sister’s crabbiness, my mom’s loudness, my dad’s teetering happiness, all are irritating qualities amplified by their 24-hour presence. None of these people are people I had any choice in knowing or living with. As a person with an all-around perfect nature, it is intolerable being trapped in an environment of such vexation. 

And I know I am not alone in my growing loathing towards my family. Other people are realizing, at the same moment I am, that they are capable of murder. Of assault. Of arson. Etc. It is alarming to learn such things about oneself. Knowing so many people are experiencing newfound urges towards violence, I thought I might save some lives by suggesting strategies to stop oneself from killing the people around you. After all, the hospitals have enough on their plate right now. 


  1. Remove all guns, knives, needles, and poison from your house for the remaining duration of the quarantine. I have found it most effective to bury them in the backyard. In the time it takes you to dig down to retrieve them, hopefully you will cool down enough to rethink your planned battery. 
  2. Lure your family into the front yard, and then lock them out of the house. This will give you some relief and time with the house to yourself. Put on headphones to drown out the loud banging on the front door. 
  3. Channel your irritated energy into productive activities. Hiding your family members’ belongings, watching TV on top volume and calling CPS are good examples.
  4. Communicate your frustrations to your family members. I find passive-aggressive comments to be the best method in which to do this.
  5. Take joy in driving your family even more crazy than they’re driving you. Make it a game. The more of their buttons you can push, the greater your success.
  6. Cause everyone to keep away from you by developing a cough and fever. The internet is chock full of information about how to fake these symptoms. Do make sure to keep them mild enough so that your family doesn’t take you to the hospital, where you may actually catch the virus. 
  7. Take the toilet paper hostage and use it to barter for better behavior on your family’s part. Make sure to trade the TP one square at a time. 

If these suggested strategies don’t do the trick, and you do end up seriously injuring someone, take comfort in the fact the government is reluctant to jail people right now. The delay in your criminal proceedings should give you time to think of an alibi, or to kill all the witnesses to your crime. 

Also, keep in mind that some of the suggested strategies may result in you being the victim of a murder yourself. 

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