Archive for January, 2021

Vaccine Purgatory

Pima County, Arizona issued a new system and phone number for COVID-19 vaccination registration. According to the county health department, staff would be available over the weekend and on the Martin Luther King Jr. Day holiday, January 18, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. My 83 year-old mother dialed the registration line. “Your call is important to us and will be answered in 9 days, 8 hours, 36 minutes. Press ‘1’ if you like to continue. If you continue, we’ll play really crappy music and hope you’ll eventually beat the crap out of your phone. Press ‘2’ to be disconnected right away. Or do nothing and be disconnected regardless.”

My mother asked of the likelihood of receiving the vaccination prior to the 2024 Presidential Election. “Almost 90%,” I calmly stated. Following up, “However, you are more likely to get hit by a meteorite than receiving the vaccine within the next 60 days.” The Christian Science Monitor reported just that, that some unlucky dude got whacked by a meteor in 2016. To be clear though, a professor at Tulane University calculated the odds of getting killed by a meteorite at about 1 in 250,000. That’s better than death by airplane crash (1 in 30,000) or tornado (1 in 60,000). Sorry, I digress.

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And Your Dream Is?

When you are a walking medical wonder, you tend to take every day as an adventure. Some days will suck; other days do not. I don’t wallow in pain. Most never know I have a specific medical issue, let alone a sandlot’s worth. Flippant of medical problems plaguing my body, I placed a ‘GoFundMe’ request that would allow me to hike both the Appalachian Trail and Continental Divide Trail in consecutive years.

After watching ‘A Walk in the Woods’ and ‘Wild’, I was convinced many would contribute to a self-imposed work sabbatical, fund my opportunity to hike both trails, and allow me the opportunity to write books or articles. A teeny-weeny part even envisioned a blockbuster movie deal. Sixty days later and zero donations, I realized many considered my request akin to the ‘Powerball Reimbursement Fund’ or ‘Let’s Buy The Loin’s’ [as in Detroit Loins]. Having no desire to purchase an NFL team, I do think of those who did something similar.

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Working well into late Friday night, my boss messaged from California. “Why are you online this late on Friday?” I responded by texting that I was working on COVID research. “I thought so,” he said. “I remember you stating you slept 12 hours a day during Christmas break. You perform outstanding work for us, but I need for you to logoff. Get some rest. NOW.” He’s right, I should rest, but the battle is personal.

My boss doesn’t know my father died from COVID. My mother called on a Friday “…Dad was tested for COVID this past Tuesday. His results came back today indicating he had COVID. But there’s good news. The nurse indicates he only has a fever. So, he might be ok. Right?” I knew otherwise. I knew that an 89 year-old man, paralyzed on the left side from stroke, suffering dementia, and possible heart issues would probably not survive. I knew that the eleven days post-COVID infection would be critical. Sure enough, when I received my mother’s 3:15 AM text eight days later, “Call me,” I instinctively knew he passed.

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I texted a friend in Missouri, “Oh my God, new reports indicate a woman was shot and killed during the riots. This is insane.” A few minutes later, she responded that she wasn’t watching the ‘lamestream’ media coverage. Several more minutes passed and she texted Fox News reports the woman was ‘a peaceful demonstrator’ shot by ‘ANTIFA.’ (ANTIFA is a false allegation. CNN identified several notable figures in the crowd of rioters as conspiracy theorists linked to right-wing extremist movements, QAnon and the Proud Boys.)

During a 2016 campaign stop at Dordt College (Iowa), Trump stated, “I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody, and I wouldn’t lose any voters, OK? It’s, like, incredible.” I thought then, as I do now, the logic is insane. Members of President Donald Trump’s Cabinet issued harsh rebukes of the mayhem at the U.S. Capitol, but stopped short of criticizing the president, who had urged his supporters to take action.

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The Repeat

I made sure I had all the right equipment necessary to get into work. After four days off, the biggest challenge for many coworkers today will be ensuring they can find their company issued badge. One would be surprised where ID badges meet their untimely end. For whatever reason, some get shoved into the Christmas tree and recycled with it. Some badges get chipped when used as an ice scraper on winter days. One employee brought their badge to security. “Wow. Smells like urine.” After convincing security that the employee was unclear how the smell originated, she was issued a new ID. Later I overheard her confession, “Yeah. My cat dragged it [the badge] into the litter box and p***ed on it.” Tragedies like this never occurred to my badge.

In the three years on the job, I have left my badge at home on two occasions. Upon getting to work, I have to return home, determine where in the hell I left it, reclaim it, and drive back. Sure, I could have requested and been issued a temporary ‘day pass,’ find my ID post-shift and return the next day. But that’s not my style. To me, a ‘day pass’ [and its flaming neon orange] screams, ‘Stand Clear! ‘Stupid’is attached to me.’ Nowadays, mine is always in my bag.

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Most begin the New Year almost precisely where we left the old year. Same for you, same for me. Sure we pause during that small sliver of time between Christmas and New Year’s Eve. We reflect, evaluate priorities, and baseline ourselves to our’ true north.’ After much reflection, we begin where we left off. A friend’s resolution was to start anew, to ‘cease and desist’ she proclaimed. She vowed never to read another romance novel. Late evening of January 1st, I received the following text, “I failed.” Another promised to purchase all leftover 2020 calendars and burn them. Unsure if that resolution is achievable, I touted, “Good Luck. Oh. You can have mine for starters.” Then there are business resolutions. One user posted, “Put on a full outfit for Zoom calls (although business-on-top-PJs-below never hurt anyone).” Large or small, everyone has a list of to-do’s from the prior year. And that’s usually where we usually start.

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Day One, 2021

We made it to 2021, and the world has not self-destructed, unless, of course, should you be a Notre Dame fan, the year is ending like many others, losing (Alabama 21 – ND 7 at half-time).

As for ‘new,’ you will notice changes to the blog’s appearance. Even though I am likely to ‘check out’ this year, I made a hard decision to keep this blog. Year-to-year, I’ve maintained Unknown Buddhist’ in a WordPress ‘business’ subscription. And was it beneficial? Well, sort of. For me? Nope. For Google? Yup. Three-hundred dollars more per year. Blog changes allowed for several modifications.

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