“Have you been vaccinated?” the hostess asked me. She was wearing a pink and orange striped jumper with a crocus fascinator set jauntily on the side of her head.

“Sure.” I said, thinking of all the shots I’d had over the years: Hepatitis A, Yellow Fever, that one year I got the flu shot — and then promptly got the flu…

“Oh, you mean for COVID?” I asked innocently. In my dream, I could see platters of donuts and little cakes in every color across the room behind her, and I really wanted to get into this party.

In reality, COVID vaccinations are the newest form of a long-standing social-standing determination tradition in society. What used to take five to 10 minutes within meeting at a cocktail party, is now one little loaded question. And from my answer they will know which side of the spectrum I live on, and whether or not they should cross the street when they see me coming.

Here’s a thought from the “wrong side” of the tracks, what if the vaccine inadvertently brings out our weaknesses? For example, someone with hay fever will experience mind-blowing allergies each spring. Or someone with poor digestion will live with gut-wrenching issues from now on. What if we become desensitized to the suffering of our friends and neighbors? Oh snap! It sounds like a Dean Koontz story, our health and sanity forever altered by our own doing, i.e. no good deed goes unpunished.

Frankly, I’m okay with whatever the outcome of the vaccine turns out to be as long as we still respect individual choice. If everyone you know eats and loves éclairs, but they make you sick, then for Pete’s sake, don’t eat them. And the rest of us will try to remember to politely chew with our mouths closed. Who encouraged us to chew openly and loudly while mocking the hungry? Oh yeah, that guy.

I saw a video on Jan. 6, 2021, of Trump and his family all hanging out in a white VIP tent like the kind you see at Jazz Aspen: tables set with platters of finger foods and bottled drinks, television screens showing the melee as covered by the many different-yet-the-same media platforms, and loud music playing in the background. This is my favorite part — guess what song was playing while Trump stood around, equal parts awkward and cocky in his dark trench coat, watching what I believe he believed was his confirmation as America’s first Fuhrer… 

Give up? It was “Gloria” by Laura Branigan. I am not kidding! It’s true what they say, you can’t make this stuff up.

Gloria, you’re always on the run now
Running after somebody, you gotta get him somehow
I think you’ve got to slow down before you start to blow it
I think you’re headed for a breakdown, so be careful not to show it

You really don’t remember, was it something that he said?
Are the voices in your head calling, Gloria?
Gloria, don’t you think you’re fallin’?
If everybody wants you, why isn’t anybody callin’?

I haven’t seen this video again since that day, but even if it played nightly on the network news, I’m sure there would be a contingent of the population that would still see Trump as a savior. Personally, I can only believe in things that are biologically possible, so I think Jesus was just an open-minded guy who had a knack for public speaking, but if he did come back from the dead, then surely he will attempt to reach us again… although, we’ll probably kill him or commit him for claiming to be Jesus.

Meanwhile, have we all forgotten about the philosophical idea that sacrificing our own comfort for the greater good is actually a really cool thing to do? And feeling as though we are punished for our goodness may be the immediate perception, but the ripple effect is what really counts. Looking back on history, the guys who took one for the team — guys like Jesus, Gandhi, Mandela; they are all revered. And the schmucks who could only think about their own wants and needs are remembered as narcissistic losers.

Incidentally, I hope eventually the word schmuck will be replaced in the dictionary. As in, who ate all the donuts?! What a trump!