I got my shot! For a procrastinator such as myself, that is a big deal. I usually wait for priorities to set themselves. Toilet won’t flush? Better fix it now. Last day before tax filing deadline? Better file the taxes. My supply of chocolate-covered peanuts is down to one nut? Uhmmmmm, I’ll wait until the last one is gone.

But getting a vaccine for a virus I have managed to avoid for the past year just seemed like one of those things I could put off. My wife already had her first and second shots, but I was still making excuses: the closest possible place didn’t have my vaccine of choice, or wasn’t taking new appointments. Oh well, I tried, leaving me no choice but to put it off.

When I mentioned I had a clear preference for the type of vaccine, you may have thought “he should take whatever they have.” First of all, how dare you judge me, and second, I would have loved to have been that flexible, but ever since Johnson & Johnson announced that only one shot was required, I was sold. I knew it would be difficult enough to push myself into one appointment, let alone two. Even after the 10-day delay, I was still game, since the tiny fraction of recipients affected made my chances of being fine with it astronomically high.

Oh sure, there was that little bit of paranoia that feeds those pesky negative thoughts to my brain: “What if you’re one of the unlucky ones?” On the other side of the coin, this is like the optimism that tells you: “Buy a Powerball ticket! Somebody has to win!”

When a nearby location offered my vaccine of choice and had available appointments, I ran out of excuses. Yet my finger still hesitated over the “Make appointment” tab on my iPad.

A new excuse came to mind: There is a governor of some state that is offering $100 savings bonds for the young to get vaccinated. Some bars are offering a free shot of booze with a shot of vaccine. What other little perks might come along that could benefit me in some way? What if I miss out on a free oil change, or gas points at my local Hy-vee? Then something happened, giving me a clearer perspective.

I was at a nearby store and up ahead of me in line was a gentleman with a bad cough. Well, that’s putting it lightly. He was hacking his lungs out and the audible was far more disturbing than the visible, which was bad enough. The force of each cough was strong enough to blow his loosely-fitting mask away from his face, which was already hanging below his nose. I stood watching in horror as he punched the credit card keypad (the same one I would soon be using) and had to ask myself, “Do I really need these chocolate covered peanuts?”

Just then another register opened, and I ran to it with the speed that won Jesse Owens a gold medal in 1936. I don’t know that the man coughing had COVID, but it made me painfully aware that COVID is still out there.

So, I made my appointment. It was fast, easy and relatively painless. Afterwards, it crossed my mind how many lives were lost, and the many who were afflicted by hospital stays and long-term side effects. I’m sure the family and friends of the victims and also the survivors who suffered the most would have loved to avoid or mitigate everything they went through with a simple shot.

With great relief and satisfaction for a job well done, I put the card in my wallet and got down to less important matters: Should I mow my lawn, or wait till the city leaves a note on my door?

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