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Commentary: So this is progress: Replacing COVID shaming with vaccine envy

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In the beginning, there was COVID shaming and it was dark, judgy and unpleasant. We learned that we are very good at, biblically speaking, whining about the sawdust in our brother’s eye and paying no attention to the log in our own.

You have COVID? Perhaps you shouldn’t have made that grocery store run. Or failed to wash your masks, like, ever. Or spent three hours at an indoor wedding reception. Yes, especially that last.

We’ve listened to Fauci, perched perpetually on our angel shoulder and have banished the devil on our other shoulder who thinks COVID is all made up like the moon landing. Because, NOT biblically speaking, that shoulder is kind of an idiot.

So comes the time of the vaccine. We are sore afraid this is going to take forever. Verily, we have checked our eligibility and discovered we are No. 184,000 in line, not even kidding. All y’all say Oy vey.

Now entereth the man of the house, who by virtue of toiling daily in the bowels of a large hospital system has announced he will receive the first of two vaccines in a few days. Whither he goest, I will go. Just 183,999 folks later. No matter! I’m happy for him. But if a look at my social media is accurate (and, hey, when has anything false ever been conveyed via social media?) a lot of y’all may be seething right now.

Yes, we have now left COVID shaming behind in the seems-like-forever ago 2020 and have advanced to the second stage of pandemic: Envy. Totally understandable, by the way.

A Facebook near-war erupted when one soul (followed by many, many others) giddily shared the post: “Vaccinated!” or similar. While there were a few “Yay for you’s!” that seemed heartfelt, it was mostly replaced with “Oh. Do you mind telling me how YOU GOT A VACCINE WHEN I’M THE ONE WITH MYRIAD UNDERLYING CONDITIONS AND EVERYONE KNOWS IT?”

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Blech. All caps. The refuge of the legit crazy newly disenfranchised Parlerians or, a world away, the sweet elderly aunt who doesn’t understand why people keep asking her to please stop yelling. She would never!

I have to admit, the Envy stage is a surprise. After all, as one picked-apart recent vaccine recipient noted: “Y’all don’t have any idea what is wrong with me! I don’t share my entire medical history with everyone like SOME people.”

Oh, snap! I have to admit at this point, I’m in full Michael Jackson eating popcorn mode. Occasionally, “Vaccinated!” is greeted with a more passive aggressive response, which is one way we know Southerners are in the house.

“Oh,” said one. “How nice for you. Biff and I are in Tier D-5 because we have exercised, eaten healthy and meditated. Was it your diabetes that allowed you to get an early vaccine? If so, Ima go cut myself a big fat wedge of PECAN PIE! HaHaHaHa!!! JK!!!!!”

Of course, we know she is soooo not JK. Can I get an amen?

Celia Rivenbark will find needles from that tree until about July 4.

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