You’re excited. You’re ready to get your first shot of one of the many vaccines. Everyone my age is texting, Facebooking and tweeting about it.

The really old guys use the phone, like “Bernie,” the son of a once-famous gangster. True story.

“Hey, J.P., you got it yet?”


“The a — you know what, the thing …”

“What thing? Bernie? ”


“The thing you get it, and then you don’t get IT.”

Another call came from Byron, an older Hollywood friend who is 92 years old, widowed and lives in the Hollywood Hills with a 29-year-old nurse who is on Facebook. She put him on FaceTime.

“J.P., you get that stuff yet?” he wrote.

“No, why should I get It? I wear two masks, why should I get it?” I asked.

“No, dummy, it’s the thing that if you’re old, you can get it at Walmart now, and then you won’t get that bad thing.”

“What bad thing?”


I knew what he meant. He was a famous comedian and health nut.

It gets worse. A local lawyer friend called me.

“J.P., you get yours yet?”

“Did I get what, Harry?”

“That stuff they’re giving out, and if you get it, then you don’t have to wear a mask anymore. You should get it.”

“Which one?”


“I forget its name, but once you get it, then you don’t get that other thing.”

I could tell he’s my age. They’re all my age.

She and I are the same way with losing words.

When we watch television, we do this thing, like yelling back and forth across the room, like the Costanzas on “Seinfeld.”

“I like that guy.”

“What guy?”


“Him, the one in that show with the woman you like.”

“Which woman?”

“The one in THAT show, whatshisname wrote.”


I don’t demean “the thing.” It’s important. I’m just agnostic about vaccines.

But we’re considering getting it, wherever.


Among the sites listed other than the hospitals are Sam’s Club, Walmart, CVS and Walgreens.

Walgreens? I remember Walgreens when it was a drug store.

I know they call them “pharmacies” now, but I grew up with the Depression generation that had ice boxes, barber shops and drug stores.

I liked when they were “drug stores,” and they had soda fountains with soda “jerks,” who wore little white caps, where Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland shared a soda, and the one elderly druggist kept cigarettes in the front and condoms out in the back with the girly magazines.

Walmart? You can get your lifesaving vaccine shot in Walmart? Where? Next to the avocados and bananas? Or in aisle six with the soap?

Well, I’m not going into any of those places anyway, until I get that “thing.”

You know, the thing you get so that — oh … never mind.

J.P. Devine is a Waterville writer. 

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