Good scientists keep good lab notes. I am not a good scientist.

Dear Hope Nation,

It’s Saturday morning at 8:27. Yesterday, I got my first vaccination for COVID-19. It was quick and easy and the only side- or after-effect was my left arm was sore this morning, with a minor pain that went away with a couple ibuprofens. I did have a dream last night in which my hair hung down in ringlets to my chest, but I don’t believe that was vaccine related. I endorse getting vaccinated. Period. If you have the opportunity, I think you should get vaccinated. Again, period.

Good scientists keep good lab notes. I am not a good scientist, but I have included my lab notes below—a real-time journal of my vaccination yesterday. While the notes were written during the process, please remember who the writer is: a pompous clown who enjoys amusing himself. If I can make myself laugh out loud with something I’ve written, I consider it a good day.

Please, be safe. Get vaccinated if you can.

You matter. I matter. We matter.


4:15 pm I am sitting in an incredibly long line awaiting a vaccination for COVID-19. (In the previous sentence, “incredibly long line” means behind one car with no one behind me.) Watching the vehicle ahead of me check in, I see a young female PFC handing papers to the driver and pointing toward a garage door.  Steeling my nerve, I am now pulling ahead to go through the same grueling screening process.

4:18 pm After determining the PFC’s qualifications—she claims to be a 91 Bravo, a field mechanic—I accepted the papers she handed me and sat, awaiting the opening of a garage door. Private [Name Withheld for Security Reasons] said it wasn’t bad duty, standing here helping people, much better than being out in the field repairing equipment. When I asked her if anyone had exploded inside the garage, she remembered an important task and left.

4:21 pm After an anxious two-minute wait, I drove into what seems a former Concord garage connected to a shopping mall of some kind. The whole experience was as frightening as a roadside vegetable stand, as invasive as buying a ticket to a drive-in and as medical as adding air to my car’s tires. A nice National Guard (Army/Air FORCE reservist?) officer asked me a few standard questions (none of which was, “Do you prescribe to the New World Order?” or “Do you object to having micromachines implanted in your arm?”) He then instructed me to take off my sweater and shirt, hold my left arm limp and to stop making jokes. I complied with the first two.

4:25 pm It is finished. I have been given the Moderna vaccine. Now, I sit in a parking lot, awaiting the vaccine to kick in and the walls of my Honda to start melting  evidence of negative response to the vaccine. (Halfway through the last sentence I had an acid-memory flashback and somehow pictured the vaccine as a hallucinogen.) This was NOT a side effect—I am not a side effect. Another PFC, this one male, tells me he’ll be observing me for about 20 minutes.

4:28 pm Strange thoughts flood my head:

–Since zero is not a counting number, the year 2020 was the last year of the teens’ decade, so 2021 is the best year of this new decade.

–As an adopted person, I’ve escaped the shackles of what physicists call the Marty McFly conundrum. Since my parents are the people who raised me, if my parents had never met, I would still exist.

–When parrots get very old, do they mutter meaningless phrases in their sleep the way old men do?

These should not be seen as vaccine side effects, since they are no stranger than the usual banter in my brain.

4:33 p.m. No signs of anything yet, except the car is getting a bit cold because I’m too busy writing to put my shirt, sweater or coat back on, and my damned Yankee frugality keeps me from idling the vehicle. I’ve not heard of coldness as a side effect, but if this continues, I’ll go on Facebook and spread the word.

4:37 pm More strange thoughts:

–What was the missing ingredient that led to the failure of my clam pancake experiment?

–Are there truly degenerate gamblers who bet balls and strikes at Little League baseball games?

–Is Gerry Moses still alive? He was my favorite ballplayer when I was a kid, although I can’t remember why I was drawn to a journeyman catcher who only started a couple seasons in the majors. (The next eight minutes were spent in an internet rabbit hole regarding Yazoo City, MS, Bill Freehan and the 1974 Detroit Tigers.)

4:45 pm I am waved away by the PFC, told to make sure I sign up for the second vaccination.

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