Just The Vax, Ma’am


As Americans, we often feel compelled to acquire the latest new thing, whether that means waiting overnight in line for the newest iPhone, battling fellow shoppers to get our kids the “must have” toy each holiday season or racing out to the local gun shop as soon as a new, deadlier automatic weapon goes on sale. 

This being 2021, the situation is a bit different today, and the coveted item simply everyone who’s anyone is getting isn’t the latest gadget, newest designer bag or tickets to the hottest Broadway show — it’s the coronavirus vaccine. And that’s why you see so many people posting photos of themselves getting injected with the vaccine to Instagram and Facebook. Because if you can’t make your friends die of jealousy over your recent vacation to Tahiti, at least you can make them jealous that you’re less likely to die, period, because you’ve been vaccinated.

And yes, I’m sure all those healthcare workers and first responders posting vaccine photos on your timeline will SAY they’re just sharing because they want to emphasize the importance of getting vaccinated. Sure they do. And when I post a photo of myself sunbathing on the deck of a 58-foot yacht in the Caribbean I’m only doing it to raise awareness about the importance of maritime law.

Not Throwing Away My Shot

Which is my roundabout way of revealing that I, too, have joined the ranks of the vaccinated, although I’m not so shallow that I needed to post a photo of the event on social media (plus I left my phone behind in the car). The only hiccup during my vaccination came beforehand when the nurse held the needle up and asked, “Where do you want it?” I responded by asking, “What are my options?” With a sigh, she deadpanned that she was merely inquiring about which arm I preferred for the injection. For the most part she tolerated my nonsense with good humor so in return, after the procedure was done, I promised I’d give her a good Yelp review.

Since then, however, virtually everyone who hears that I’ve gotten the first shot responds with something along the lines of, “How did YOU get the vaccine? You’re not an essential worker. Hell, you’re not even useful!”, before adding, “No offense.”

I’ve taken to humorously replying that I used to go out with Dolly Parton, so she was just doing me a favor. This joke goes over relatively well if the person who asked is aware that the country singing legend donated $1 million to help fund the Moderna vaccine’s development. Otherwise, the questioner is usually confused and a clear sense of regret comes across their face about choosing to interact with me in the first place. Come to think of it, it’s the same face I got from the woman who gave me the vaccine!

The truth is that I was bumped up in line after the State of California decided to prioritize people living in the same household with someone with a disability. In my case, 17 years ago my wife and I had the foresight to have our son Dashiell, who has Down syndrome. I may not be an “essential” worker, but when it comes to getting vaccinated, I know how to play the long game.

Injection Rejection

Of course there are many Americans who have no interest in getting the Covid vaccine. My first reaction to hearing about these so-called “anti-vaxxers” is the same response my mother would give me when I refused her offer of “seconds” on string bean and Bisquick casserole when she would say, “Good, that just means more for me!” Unfortunately, that’s not really how vaccines work during a pandemic.

Then there’s Israeli Orthodox rabbi Daniel Azor, who has directed his followers not to take the Covid vaccine for fear that it might turn them gay. I don’t know if it’s just Jews who are prone to the side effect described by Rabbi Azor, but since I’m half-Jewish, perhaps I’m only at risk of becoming bisexual? 

It turns out, however, that the Rabbi is joined in this opinion by Iranian cleric Ayatollah Abbas Tabrizian, who has also warned HIS followers about similar side effects from getting the Covid vaccine. And you thought religious zealots from Israel and Iran couldn’t agree on anything! 

Despite these risks, I plan to go ahead with my scheduled second dose later this week. Sadly, I recently learned that immunity doesn’t kick in until a couple of weeks afterwards so, reluctantly, I canceled my plans for that evening to attend a 70s-themed party including Twister and that game where you all sit in a circle and pass an orange from neck to neck.

Instead, I guess I will bow to reality and just post my vaccine selfie to social media like everyone else. But it’s not like I’m going to try to impress people by getting the shot while I’m on the deck of a yacht.

That nurse already told me that wasn’t allowed, anyway.