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The buyer’s guide to avoid feeling dead inside this winter

Indoor season is coming. But we’re Americans! We can buy our way out of anything. Right?

Dreading the looming nightmare of winter? Here are a few ways to keep your spirits from cratering.
Dreading the looming nightmare of winter? Here are a few ways to keep your spirits from cratering.Brendan Lynch

Indoors is different now, as you may have heard. Which is why it has been so nice to be able to safely socialize with friends during the five-minute outdoor season we have in New England.

Yet the arrival of cool nights signals that there will soon be cold weather, and then very cold weather, and then weather that is actively trying to kill you, and then winter. Which means we’re going to be spending a lot of time indoors, and you are going to need supplies other than booze.

You already know you need some new sweatpants because the ones you wore all spring are kinda ragged and there’s no way they can support the amount of weight you’re about to gain, but that’s only the beginning of your coming shopping spree.

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This is America, goldarnit, and there is no problem we can’t buy our way out of.

A wetsuit: Nothing lifts the spirits quite like a dose of Vitamin Sea. The problem in these parts is that the ocean is murderously cold for most of the year. But did you know that Jack O’Neill, the inventor of the wetsuit, liked to say “it’s always summer on the inside”? So head down to your local surf shop, tell them you feel dead inside, and they’ll set you up with some neoprene and probably some edibles.

A good pillow: Just think of all the things a pillow is used for, and tell me you don’t love every one of them. Sleeping: Great. Pillow fights: Awesome. Padding when you need to hit your head against a wall: Here for it. And since they’re super light, you can just keep it strewn over your shoulder as you travel from room to room in your home. There are walls everywhere in your future. Walls. Everywhere.

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One of those “happy light” things: I ended up with one of these devices from a story I wrote a couple years ago, and everyone needs to buy one immediately. They’re supposed to mimic sunlight, or something like that. All I know is that if I place it next to my monitor while I’m on a Zoom call, it does two important things: it lights me up like an angel; and it blinds me, so I don’t have to look up the nostrils of my co-workers. Happy indeed.

Noise-canceling headphones: Also known as socially acceptable ear plugs. I don’t even listen to music or anything with mine. I just use them to let the rest of the world know I’m not listening to them. So when one of my kids appears in my face yelling about how the Zoom froze again, I simply point to my ears and shrug my shoulders, which confuses them every time. I don’t plan to remove them until we have a vaccine.

A cord of firewood: If you can’t have a fire in your backyard then now is the time to find a friend who can, because this winter we’re going to need to gather round the fire pit. It will keep you warm and allow you to socialize without a mask on, which is kinda vital if we’re going to safely drink our way through this together. Plus, there’s just something about a fire that soothes the soul and makes everything seem right in the world. Fires are great liars.

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That homemade sanitizer on the counter: Safety is still our number one priority, right? Are we still saying that? I think we are. In that vein, we all know it’s next to impossible to get your hands on some actual Purell. But what about those giant jugs labeled “hand sanitizer” on the counter of every convenience store you walk into? Those are legit, right? They’re always right next to the bottles of 5-Hour Energy, which totally give you five hours of energy. And hey look, they’re also selling N95 masks that I’m sure are hospital grade!

New indoor sneakers: They worked for Mr. Rogers, right? I just got my back-to-Zoom sneakers in the mail, and they look so fresh and clean when I put them on each day to go nowhere. Not to oversell it, but I already feel a little extra pep in my step when I make the short walk from my keyboard to the bathroom so I can have a good cry.


Billy Baker can be reached at billy.baker@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @billy_baker.