Be Selfish with COVID

I don’t have COVID, I haven’t had COVID, and I’ve been doing everything in my power to not get COVID.

But I’ve known more than a few who have had it. People I know and love, my friends…

And my neighbours.

The family across the street from us got it a year ago, when it showed up in their home. There were no vaccines yet, certainly not for us ordinary types, and it went through all five of them. Fortunately, it was mild and there were no lingering after effects.

A year later and a large part of the Alberta population is now vaccinated, large enough that were it a scholastic grade, parents wouldn’t be immediately scrambling for a tutor. Alberta (as of today) can claim that just over 80% of its population 5 years of age and older has one vaccination; 73.5% has two vaccinations. Which, when you think about it, isn’t too bad. It’s passing grade, isn’t it? Sure, people are dying but everyone has their God-given right to do whatever the hell they want…

Sorry, almost ranted there. It’s hard, as we near our two year anniversary of the pandemic in the province and our beloved Government doesn’t seem remotely intelligent enough to look at historic data and do some basic predictions.

On the weekend, I learned that another one of our dear (former) neighbours had contracted COVID. It’s one of those “oh, that sucks” moments when you first hear about it. We’re at that point of the pandemic, after all: the fear is long-gone, we’re set in our “try not to catch it” ways, but we’re all starting to understand that no matter what we do, there’s still a decent chance we’re going to get infected because of all the flagrant idiots out there who protest mask mandates and are up-in-arms over vaccination requirements.

Ack, sorry, ranted again.

My (former) neighbour is … how do I put this? … a conscientious objector to the vaccines. I kind of knew this before we moved away (I swear this wasn’t the reason we moved!), as I’m pretty sure we had a (physically-distanced) over-the-fence conversation about it and the science involved.

Don’t get me wrong, my (former) neighbour isn’t an idiot. Far from it: he’s a gifted artist, a teacher, is very well-read. It’s the reason I talked to him as much as I could, because the conversations were so great! He’s definitely not one of those protesting anti-vaxxer fucktards who need to be tied up in forests and left in the woods. He is more … well, granola … y’know, natural. I won’t go into those details (honestly, aside from being moot, I genuinely don’t remember them all because of all the times I got drunk with him … but I digress), suffice to say that there were questions about how “natural” this vaccine is.

To be fair, the vaccine isn’t natural. Not one bit. It’s born of decades of science and sheer, daunting, persistent, two-fingers-to-nature science. The kind of “fuck you” we’ve been dropping on the world since the first time one of our ancestors selected a particular sheaf of wheat because it looked better, took the seeds, and decided that it was superior to the others. Or the person who dug a trench to irrigate a waterless field. Figured out how to put two round stubs of wood on a long shaft and balance a pallet on top. Make fire just because. Dug up the residue of long-dead monsters and realized it would burn. Told the birds to get the fuck out of the way as we blitzed past them at Mach 3.2. Walked on the surface of the motherfucking moon.

Tonight, he’s in the hospital, near-comatose (medically) and intubated. His family is praying for him. His friends and (former) neighbours are anxious for good news. I have confidence that he’ll pull through (partly ‘cuz he’s too stubborn to give up) and return to life.

But at what cost? This is his second COVID infection. (Wait, what? You can catch it repeatedly??) And in the ultimate anti-thesis of “natural”, he’s required a machine to force him to breathe oxygen, irony thicker than COVID phlegm. He’s going to have problems for weeks, if not months, after having gone through this. I don’t envy what he’ll experience. I won’t “we told you so” him. I can’t. I might want to, but after this kind of an experience, I’m pretty sure it’ll be staring him plainly in the face. There is nothing I can say that could, in anyway, get the message across more clearly.

So let me give it to you, if you’re still hestitant. I’m three shots in, as is my wife. Monkey is two shots (she’s not eligible for her third yet) and Choo Choo is waiting for her second (despite the fact that she could easily take an adult shot). There is zero hesitation in this family, not because of fear, but because we’re being selfish and don’t want to catch COVID.

Yes, that’s right, selfish. I know what my rights are. I don’t want to wear a mask, I want to travel, I want to go to a bar with my friends and be loud and obnoxious (okay, more loud and obnoxious). And so should you. You should want to simply walk away from all this like it’s not happening. But it is. And it will continue to until it ceases being a threat. That means giving the virus no foothold and giving it a hostile environment in which to live.

You, my friend, need to be a dick to the virus. (In case it’s not clear, you’re being a dick to everyone else. It’s why we don’t like you right now.) You want to be selfish? You want to get back to doing other stuff? The only way is to butt your way through the vaccine lines, walk right up to a nurse, roll up that sleeve and declare you’re more important than everyone else in that room and everyone can go fuck themselves!

Go on, be a dick. We’ll even thank you for it.

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