If even for a moment you think that this week’s blog title means that moiself is an anti-vaxxer, you must stop reading right now, go to your bathroom, and somehow administer yourself a swirlie.
Moderna; Pfizer; Johnson & Johnson – when referring to the three currently available (in the USA) COVID-19 vaccines, the nomenclature seems to be, “The Vaccine.” As in,
* Have you had the vaccine yet?
* Have you scheduled your appointment for the vaccine?
It is *THE* topic of conversation, especially among People of a Certain Age.® Ahem.
Gawddammit, it seems that being this old of or near a certain age should be good for something, besides obtaining the wisdom we’ve accumulated over the years which we impart to appreciative youngsters at every opportunity.
But in my state (Oregon), having no “predisposing” conditions and not being in occupations deemed frontline/essential…and being oh-so-close to that magic cutoff age, yet not actually turning 65 until December, means that I, (and MH, who is 5+ years younger than moiself ) will not be eligible until the vaccines are opened up to the very last group – everyone above age 16 (May 1). Judging from the experience of others when “their group” became eligible, this means we will be part of a massive online stampede, the scheduling systems will be overloaded, and some baggy-ass pants-wearing 17-year-olds will get the first appointments and we’ll still be two weeks out.
Reality check: I am grateful for my good health, and for not having the health conditions which would qualify moiself for The Vaccine ® ahead of others. And although the first reports I heard about people gaming the system (read: cheating/lying, to get a vaccine) frosted my butt, I’m getting philosophical about it. As in, I’m trying to keep the larger point in mind: we need as many people as possible to be vaccinated, for the health of us as individuals, for our country, for our economy, for the world….
Sure, I clenched my jaw when I read a young woman’s brag on social media of how, because her parents (who are in their mid-40s with no health problems) came to visit her for three weeks, she decided to check her state’s vaccine box of “Living in a multigenerational household”  and thus she, who is in excellent health and works from home in a non-frontline occupation, got the vaccine at age 23. Besides being deceitful she arguably jumped the line/took the spot of someone else…but, okay. I’m gonna look at it this way: that’s one more person who is vaccinated. My turn will come.
Last week MH and I participated in a Zoom call with MH’s mother, who lives in Florida, to celebrate her 85th birthday. Her children and their families dialed in; our family was the one most West-est, with daughter Belle participating from Tacoma, MH and moiself from Hillsboro, and son K from Portland. There were four callers from the Midwest, three in Florida, and the prize to the Easternmost went to my MIL’s other granddaughter, who joined us from Germany.
The call reaffirmed my distaste for Zoom communications with multiple people. It reminds me of how much I miss being in the same room with a bunch of people and being able to hear everyone even when everyone is talking “over” and under and around one another. It’s just…awkward, but what can you do? Oh, that’s right, I forgot: if we really cared, MH and I could have been in Florida, in person. It’s totally fine for us to hop on a plane and fly across the country – it’s perfectly safe to travel or do just anything, because, as one of the Zoom participants brayed, COVID-19 is no big deal:
After that declaration, the (other) callers’ screens went totally silent, for a couple moments of unintentional comic relief masked as uneasy pauses. I noticed a few faces, like mine, turned downward, in an effort to hide our eye-rolling expressions of bemused revulsion.
The topic of conversation turned to the questions about who has been vaccinated, which is how MH and I found out that Belle had just been able to schedule her first vaccine.  As happy as we were for her, MH and I had to do our obligatory pouting – Both our kids are going to be vaccinated before us, wah wah wah!  Belle had a good story – or perhaps more accurately, an interesting-as-in-an-indictment-of-certain-political-mindsets tale– as to how this happy event came about.
Washington state had just entered “Phase 1B tiers 3 and 4” for their vaccination program, which meant that Belle, as a Kitchen Asst. manager for a McMenamin’s flagship establishment, was eligible, along with her fellow “high critical…restaurant” workers. But, she said, finding a vaccine appointment proved impossible, until her boss told her a trick: Google a political map of your state, find a county, or a district in your city, that voted “red” in the last election, and that area will likely have more unclaimed vaccines. She did that, and got an appointment right away.
That chickenshit, lamebrain, chief bunker bitch esxuce of a former president #45 downplayed the seriousness of the pandemic, costing thousands of lives. He then quietly got his own vaccine ASAP (in January), even as he did little to quell the anti-VAX anti-science sentiment of his pathetically deluded followers. But hey, thanks, chumps, if that allowed my daughter to get safer before y’all.
* * *
Department Of Is It Just My Imagination…
Or do people play less April Fool’s Day jokes than they used to?
Nobody played one on moiself this year. Wah.
Oh well…maybe next year I’ll try something like the following:
* * *
Department Of Paying Close Attention
Feminist Radar Edition
“The first lady is often remembered as a genteel Southerner who promoted highway beautification, but author Julia Sweig says archival records show Lady Bird was also a savvy political strategist. “
(intro to the Fresh Air podcast,
“Correcting The Record On Lady Bird Johnson” )
As I was listening to the interview with the “Lady Bird” Johnson biographer, I was struck by what biographer Sweig *didn’t* say, when it came to crediting Lady Bird with being smart about exercising power without taking credit:
“They shared their political operation and he (LBJ) relied on her…because he knew she had her own version of ‘The Johnson Treatment,’ being that ability to twist arms and manipulate and guide. Lady Bird was expert at that…. The difference, of course, is that Lady Bird… was able to let people think that *they* had come up with the idea. She was a collaborative deployer of power; she let people feel that they had some sense of ownership – she didn’t need to take the credit. A very different, approach in a way.”
Here is where the feminist nuances of listening, and analyzing history, should have kicked in. I waited for Sweig to add the observation as to why Lady Bird got people to do things by making them think it was their idea in the first place. But the author never did.
Lady Bird Johnson’s collaborative, credit-shunning approach was just not a smart or “savvy” way to deploy power – for a woman, especially of that day, it was often the only way. That indirect approach was *directly* taught to women (“You cannot – or should not – aspire to the throne yourself, but you can be the power *behind* the throne,” or “the hand that rocks the cradle,” ad nauseum). It was implicitly stated and explicitly understood that anything beyond a collaborative strategy toward exercising political power would have been considered unseemly (for a woman).
Also, why bother to take credit for an idea or accomplishment when a man – even  your own husband – will just claim it for his own, and be believed?
* * *
Pun For The Day
“I’m not getting a COVID vaccine so they can microchip me!”
the man typed into his smartphone,
which tracks his every thought and constantly logs his location.
* * *
May you collaborate for power and still take credit when it’s due;
May you start planning for next year’s April Fool’s Day jokes;
May you claim all the “red” zone vaccines you can;
…and may the hijinks ensue.
Thanks for stopping by. Au Vendredi!
* * *
 Which is meant for those serving as actual caretakers for their frail/elderly parents or relatives at home.
 Which she had on Monday, yay!
 Our son K works in research at OHSU – Oregon Health Sciences University, which vaccinated almost all of their employees during the past two months.
 Or especially, in the case of Lady Bird’s husband, President Lyndon Baines Johnson.