photo courtesy David Winter

Last Friday I received my second Covid shot which isn’t exactly a “stop the presses” bulletin but I’m still very grateful to St. John’s Hospital’s remarkably friendly and efficient staff and the benevolent folks at Meals on Wheels. A month ago it was M.O.W. who alerted me there was an open appointment the following morning which I immediately grabbed, despite, for night owl me, the ungodly hour. I’d been diligently searching online but I hadn’t obtained an appointment anywhere. (To avoid any confusion, soon I’ll explain how Caitlyn Jenner “worked” her way into this column.)

As I was in a rush for my 8 a.m. appointment I put my I.D. and a note pad and pen into my backpack in case there was a long wait for the shot and I thought of an idea for the great American novel (or even a so-so novel.) In my haste, however, I forgot one small but vital item.

At St. John’s I was immediately impressed with how intelligent and courteous the busy staff was in processing the large crowd seeking to get vaccinated. It was uplifting to see, that during the worst pandemic in over 100 years, so many dedicated workers were helping to eradicate the deadly virus.

I was given a form and a pen to fill it out and then discovered to my alarm that I had forgotten to put my reading glasses in my backpack. As the staff seemed so incredibly busy I was too embarrassed to ask if anyone could read the form to me like I was a child. So I held the form so close to my eyes I must have looked like Mr. Magoo. (For those unfamiliar, Google “Mr. Magoo.”)

After a lot of squinting, I was pretty sure I got it right. The next step was a staff member went over your form and assigned you to the station where you got the vaccine. The process went extremely quickly for the people in front of me but when I stepped forward the attractive 30-something female worker hesitated as she examined my form. I felt like I had failed a test in grade school. As she cleared her throat she said, with compassion mind you, “Jack, did you intend to present yourself as a female?” (Yikes! I clearly checked the “female” box and felt like Bruce before he became Caitlyn.)

No, dear reader, the mistake was not a Freudian slip unless Sigmund was also an ophthalmologist. I countered with an attempt at humor, “What I intend to do for my second shot is bring my damn reading glasses.” She smiled but I got the odd feeling she didn’t seem 100% convinced it had been a mistake. In any event, she very politely directed me to the area where I got my shot which, trust me, was far less painless than having checked the wrong gender box. (As Jerry Seinfeld might have said, “Not that there’s anything wrong with it.”)

Other than my Mr. Magoo impression the whole process had gone so quickly, when scheduling my second shot I picked 8 in the morning again. And last Friday was the first available appointment.

This time I definitely remembered reading glasses but, oddly enough, I didn’t need them. Instead of filling out a form, I sat in a chair next to a young woman who stared at her computer monitor and asked me the questions: “Had I experienced any Covid symptoms? Had I been in the hospital recently? Did I have any allergies? And… “Are you pregnant?” (Say what?! Yes I’ve put on some pandemic weight etc, but this was ridiculous.)

I immediately thought my mistaken checking of “female” on the form a month earlier may have still been in the computer. I joked, “Not that I know of.” (She didn’t laugh.) My guess is that she had asked so many people so many questions it was Q & A fatigue. Who knows, who cares, I was just relieved to be getting my second Covid shot.

That brings me to two subjects I don’t understand: “vaccine hesitancy” and Caitlyn Jenner running for Governor as a Republican. (The GOP is as enthusiastic about trans people as they are about gun control reform.) As for the hesitancy, it seems millions have gotten one shot and blown off showing up for their second. The side effects of the second shot were absolutely minimal. (I can’t say the same if Caitlyn were to become governor.)

Due to 220 million vaccinations in the past 100 days, we’re getting ever closer to having the upper hand on the virus. In California we have the best numbers in the country. So, if you haven’t already, get your shots asap! (And I won’t describe my image of Kardashians occasionally hanging out in Sacramento.)

For a laugh go to YouTube and type “Driving with Mr. Magoo.” Jack is at: facebook.com/jackneworth, twitter.com/jackneworth and jackdailypress@aol.com