I pride myself on having things in common with famous people.
For example, New York Yankees Hall of Fame shortstop Derek Jeter and I have the same birth date: June 26. Jeter is exactly a year older than me.
I used to tell my editors at the local newspaper that I expected to be making what Jeter made when I was his age. The joke, of course, being I will never be Jeter’s age because he’s a year older.
The other joke is that newspapers don’t pay more for writers. They lay them off and hire young people at half the salary. That’s less funny.
I recently learned I have something in common with Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers: We both share a fondness for actress Shailene Woodley.
Nah, I’m kidding. I’ve nothing against Rodgers’ fiancée, but to give you an idea of how big a fan I am of Woodley, I had to look up how to spell her first name.
Like Aaron Rodgers, I have tested positive for COVID-19.
Unlike Rodgers, apparently, I am vaccinated.
This is one of those breakthrough infections that took out so many of the Yankees’ players and coaches early in the season. See? I still have things in common with my beloved Yankees.
I do feel a little lame. I got COVID more than 18 months into the pandemic. How behind the times can I get? No wonder my younger classmates sometimes shout “OK, boomer!” at me. I’m actually Gen X, but I don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings with facts.
I don’t feel bad. If it had been any other time in my life, I would have assumed this was a chest cold. It feels like I get one with every change of season.
That’s how I treated the symptoms: runny nose, a slight wheeze, and a mild, productive cough.
What an odd medical term “productive cough” is. I suppose you need some less inelegant way of saying “hacking up lung butter,” but still “productive” is something I associate with work rather than the convulsions of my chest while ill.
Anyway, Mom 2.0, the kindly east Des Moines hairdresser who raised me after my parents died, suggested I get a test. My Uncle Jim recently endured a breakthrough COVID infection.
What could it hurt? The test is free. I drove to a sight by Hoover High School. They offered a rapid test with results within an hour and a slower, more accurate test.
I chose the slower route.
I got a text in just more than 24 hours: I was positive for SARS-CoV2, the virus that causes COVID-19.
I informed Drake University, which told me to stay off campus for 10 days since I started showing symptoms, which was Saturday.
I went to my Shakespeare class Monday morning to deliver a presentation, felt more peaked, and went for my test.
I feel bad for my classmates. Not only did they have to endure my Shakespeare presentation — which included references to “The Simpsons,” “Petticoat Junction,” and Akira Kurosaki’s “Ran” — they were also exposed to COVID.
That’s a crap morning.
I mean I think they can forgive the COVID exposure, that’s life in a pandemic. But a “Petticoat Junction” reference? That’s a step too far.
I informed my doctor, the magnificent Shawna Basener. She worries about my asthma, which tends to be sensitive to seasonal changes and my animal allergy.
“Buffy the Vampire Slayer” star Sarah Michelle Gellar has asthma and is allergic to cats. We’re practically twins! I’m not famous, just fame adjacent.
Dr. Basener wants me to go to the hospital Friday for something called Bamlanivimab treatment, or Bam treatment for short.
I like the nickname “Bam treatment.”
The 1966 “Batman” TV series displayed a symphony of onomatopoeia. “Bam!” I’m almost in the same company as the late, great Adam West.
Anyway, the Bam treatment, delivered by IV, sends in some synthetic antibodies to fight the spread of COVID while my own immune system churns out its own virus Avengers team to pummel the virus out of my system.
Bam is best for people within 10 days of their initial symptoms (that’s me) and have a complicating health factor such as asthma (me!) and obesity (sigh, also me).
Quarantine isn’t so bad, other than being sick.
I recall a time in high school when I got grounded for having a girl over to the house while Parents 2.0 were out of town.
That sounds more adventurous than it was. We sat in separate chairs and watched a video we rented. It didn’t rise to the level of “Netflix and chill.”
We actually sat and watched a movie — nothing happened. Then she dropped me off at my grandparents’ house, where I spent the night.
Anyway, Parents 2.0 were ticked off. A girl in the house without supervision was out of the question. They grounded me for the weekend.
I remember it being a beautiful October Saturday.
I mowed the lawn, showered, and finished my homework. I watched the baseball playoffs on TV.
Mom 2.0 decided to give me a haircut. She asked me how my day was going. I told her it was a great day. The baseball game was good. I was caught up on my reading.
Mom 2.0 tells this story to this day. My response chagrined her. She thought I would be mopey, forced to stay home all weekend. The lesson for both of us is you can’t punish an introvert by ordering them to stay home and keep to themselves.
I am, however, ready to be done with my Aaron Rodgers impression.
Daniel P. Finney wrote for newspapers for 27 years before being laid off in 2020. He teaches middle school English now. He writes columns and podcasts for ParagraphStacker.com, a free, reader-supported website. Please consider donating $10 a month to help him cover the expenses of this site.
Post: 1217 24th St., Apt. 36, Des Moines, 50311.
Wishing you a speedy recovery-those Gen Xers need your rich cultural references!
I’m so sorry you are sick. Thank goodness for the vaccine and the treatments. Get well quickly.
Covid isn’t funny, but your description of all your celebrity twins certainly is entertaining. And I can really relate to the grounding incident, but from your Mom’s perspective – when your kid is happy staring at a wall for hours on end, living in his own little world, grounding does NOT work! (But the kid comes up with some GREAT stories!) Thanks for giving me my big laugh of the day.