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Once more with feeling (and taste and smell)

September 3, 2021

One more time then.

Hey you. Yes, you with the antivax t-shirt. Can I have a word? Thanks.

Before you take the horse-wormer you smuggled in from the States, please hear what I have to say. I recently had COVID. No idea where it came from. I took all the standard precautions, but the bastard still got me.

As you can see, I’m not speaking from a hospital ward with machines beeping and clanging around me, barely able to breathe, with medical staff turning me over every few hours. Is that because COVID is a hoax, or because it’s just another form of flu? Or am I just lucky?

By rights, I should be in that ward getting ready for the possibility that I might soon breathe my last. I’m 70, slap bang in the middle of the danger zone. I have a couple of medical conditions that should be helping COVID do its work.

But I’m not in hospital. The minor symptoms that led me to take the test – sneezing and a runny nose – have gone. My isolation period has expired. So yes, I’m lucky, but most likely my easy ride isn’t just down to luck. Thank you NHS, the Oxford wizards and AstraZeneca for the jabs that almost certainly protected me from a worse fate.

You, on the other hand, are not protected. And if you’re one of the people not wearing a face mask who shared my train journeys across London the other day, perhaps you gave me the virus. Or perhaps I gave it to you. Either way, you’re worse than a fool if you think that exercising your freedom of choice gives you the right to put others at risk.

I know these words are unlikely to have the same impact on you as the deathbed repentances of the unvaccinated which pop up now and again on TikTok and YouTube. And I know you resent being spoken to like this. But I don’t really care.

If you want to spend the rest of your life ducking and diving to escape the COVID sniper’s alley, or if you’re happy to take the risk that the time you have left might end up quite short because stuff happens and there are lots of ways to die, that’s fine, so long as you do die and don’t end up with a whole bunch of debilitating conditions that stretch endlessly into the future.

Perhaps you’re religious, and think that God will give you protection if that’s what He decides. But haven’t you considered that perhaps He has smiled on the scientists who are offering protection, and vaccines are also part of His plan? Does not the Lord help those who help themselves?

Those who love you would like to have you around a bit longer. They’d like to invite you into their homes, go to the movies with you and when the winter months come sit down with you in a crowded restaurant. But they’re afraid, because you’re the weakest link.

I don’t care if you’re “hesitant” or ideologically driven. I can only say this: get out of whatever hole you’ve fallen into, and get vaccinated. This is not a nudge. It’s a kick up the arse. It may not save you from a fate worse than life, but at least it improves the odds.

I leave you with the apocryphal exchange between Winston Churchill and Lady Astor:

“Mr. Churchill, you’re drunk!” Mr. Churchill: “And you, Lady Astor, are ugly. As for my condition, it will pass by the morning. You, however, will still be ugly”

PS: My brother, who is an authority in such matters points out that the butt of Churchill’s insult was in fact Bessie Braddock. However, there are others who stick with Lady Astor. Since we’re on the subject of Churchillian insults, another, which also involved Lady Astor, occurred when she said “If you were my husband, I’d poison your tea.”. To which Winston replied:  “Madam, if you were my wife, I’d drink it.” A good one, but equally apocryphal. S

From → Social, UK, USA

  1. I thought he said “but I will be sober in the morning”

    • Rachel, there are many versions of the insult, including the identity of its target. I’ve written a PS on this!

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