Over Easy: Dan Mackie gets vaccinated

  • Dan Mackie (Courtesy photograph)

For the Valley News
Published: 3/12/2021 9:33:35 PM
Modified: 3/12/2021 9:33:33 PM

It’s difficult to express how pleased I was to receive my second vaccine shot a week ago Friday. I was tranquil as the Dalai Lama, even though we had to wait two hours in a car line in Claremont.

I was told they had a staffing shortage as my late afternoon appointment stretched into evening. Two-and-a-half-hour wait? No problem.

It might have been raining. No problem. It might have been snowing. No problem. They might have been playing disco music. No problem. If I had to do the hokey pokey to get the shot, I would put my left arm in, and take my left arm out. If medically necessary, I’d shake it all about.

COVID-19 isolation — our lonely year — has made the hours so uneventful that waiting in a car for a vaccine shot on a Friday is almost like date night. “It’s not as if we can leave,’’ my wife Dede said with a philosopher’s shrug. We both were practically floating with equanimity, defined by an online dictionary as “mental calmness, composure, and evenness of temper, especially in a difficult situation.”

Difficult? Not really. Now that we are technically seniors, waiting is our superpower. I used to smile at old folks who showed up an hour or more early for church suppers. Now I understand. You can pass time with eavesdropping, light conversation or silence. When all else fails, doze.

Thankfully, the seats in our vehicle are pretty comfortable. We had bought a couple of sandwiches — a meatball for me and a chicken parm for her — before my 5:40 p.m. appointment. We had expected to bring them home, but as we inched along in the car we had a movable feast, a tasty treat for our personal holiday, Vaccination Day.

I listened to the radio, switching back and forth from serious public radio to a local sports station, which now brings talk radio out of Boston. It has been caught in an endless loop of chatter/nonsense about the New England Patriots’ quarterback debacle. Fewer words have been employed to analyze the fall of Rome.

Before the long wait, we stopped at the super big box store that killed the little stores where we would have felt more comfortable shopping. As we passed a woman and three girls who were clumped together, the mom snapped at her daughter, “You’re in quarantine. You need to be six feet apart.” They were maybe two.

The daughter hopped back just a little. “It’s already been a week,” she said with a huff. Ah, the sure, sharp exasperation of youth.

I could have said something about the true meaning of quarantine, but interventions such as that are often not welcomed. I’m getting my second shot, I told myself, and all will be well.

Even if I have to wait. Even if mothers bring their quarantine kids shopping. Even if the Patriots have no quarterback. All … will … be … well.

Sadly, many people get no such peace. They are being enlisted into the culture wars by Fox News and its fellow travelers, who have been promoting hysteria about, of all things, Mr. Potato Head. He has lost top billing in the Potato Head universe, a national disaster. Then there’s the decision to stop publishing six Dr. Seuss books with objectionable race images, and President Joe Biden’s quip about “Neanderthal thinking” leading to dropping mask bans. This is the liberal apocalypse.

Regarding Mr. Potato Head, you can take any potato and make a he-man if that’s what you want. Dress him in camo, with an AR-15 made of broccoli. Call him a Proud Potato, or a Spud Keeper. Or even craft a President Potato Head, after Donald Trump. (It would suit his figure.)

The Seuss images of African people were awful. Sorry to be a Grinch, but good riddance. As for Neanderthals, I think a Forest Gump quote could be adapted to “Neanderthal is as Neanderthal’ does.” We’ve all got some H. neanderthalensis DNA in us, but we don’t have to flaunt it.

I guess the Fox News/Republican Party strategy is to keep people, many of them older, stuffing themselves on twice-baked outrage and over-boiled resentments. I want nothing to do with that agita. I’ve got my shots, and I think better days are ahead, not just for me but for all of us. Vaccines are on the way. Hope is in the air. Stay calm.

The task ahead for my fellow Americans is as simple as finding a comfortable chair and waiting. Maybe without that damn TV on.

Dan Mackie lives in West Lebanon. He can be reached at dan.mackie@yahoo.com.

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