Ominous Omicron

We blinked and a new coronavirus variant is upon us. And we know it won’t be the last. But Omicron is the latest and will probably be the one with us through 2022. So buckle up, get vaccinated and keep your facemasks on. You thought 2020 was bad? I don’t think we’ve seen anything yet, folks.

The emergence of Omicron has given the medical world stronger standing on pushing for the booster vaccination shots. Which may be all fine and dandy for some but it’s really left me with a lot of questions at this point. Which really causes me to hesitate in getting a booster shot myself.

First they kept telling the 65+ population to get the booster shots. Then, in my state, at least, they said, nope, now anyone 18+ can get it. But I’m still wondering when you’re going to let my 16-year-old get it. Her last vaccination shot was in May, so it’s been six months and she’s clearly eligible. Oh, but she’s not 18. Yet I remember all the harking on getting the 12-17 year-olds vaccinated. But now they can’t get booster shots?

And what are you going to do about the 5-11 year-olds once they become eligible for booster shots? When are you going to allow children under five to get vaccinated? They will surely become the first victims of Omicron.

And the question still remains: what happens when the boosters wear off? Because you, I, the CDC, the FDA, Dr. Fauci and the lamppost all know it’s only going to be a matter of time before they will.

It’s no surprise to me that Omicron has come for a visit. It’s no surprise to me that it has become a “variant of concern”. We should all be concerned about Omicron and any other variant that emerges.

Your best bet? Don’t plan on going to many places, stay home as much as possible and when you do venture out, wear your damn facemask. At the rate the world is going, we’ll be wearing those for the next fifty years. The days of living your life without a facemask, especially in a medical setting, are over.

Grateful

Sometimes it doesn’t take much to make one realize what they have to be grateful for. This year has been one of those years that makes me more grateful than usual.

With Thanksgiving approaching, I’ve been thinking about the people in my life and what they mean to me and my life in general: where I’ve been, what I’m doing and where I’m going.

The most mysterious thing about life is that nobody knows how long it will last. As the old saying goes: “live life to its fullest”. I’ve tried to do that the best way I can.

I’m grateful for what I have. Not just personal possessions, but the people in my life, the love that we have and the health that I have. There is nothing more to be grateful for than that.

If It Makes You Happy

Why is it this time of year people always question themselves on when they should begin to decorate for the holidays?

“I want to put my Christmas tree up. But is it too early?”

I didn’t know there was a law that said you couldn’t put it up before a certain time. Shit, who says you couldn’t keep it up all year? Why question it?

“We shouldn’t put the Christmas lights up until after Halloween.”

Why? Because the colder it gets the more fun it is to freeze while stringing lights on your gutters? Shit, put them up in July. Better yet, just keep them up all year.

“I really shouldn’t start my Christmas shopping until after Thanksgiving.”

Yeah, so you can get the scraps. The best stuff is on the shelves long before Labor Day. Better yet, shop all year round. It will help you finish faster. Chances are you’ll be done before Thanksgiving.

“Is it too early to listen to Christmas music? Too early for Christmas movies?”

Dumbest questions ever. It’s NEVER too early! Shit, I listen and watch all year long! I know the stations that play music all year long. And you always have CDs and DVDs. I have a tradition of watching “It’s A Wonderful Life” on Independence Day. It’s never too early for George Bailey or Clarence.

When it comes to the holidays, don’t pay attention to the ones who bitch and moan when the stores are decorating after Halloween. They’re the ones who wouldn’t want to see anything Christmas until December 24th. And even then it would be too soon.

If putting up the tree in July and listening to Christmas music and watching Christmas movies year round makes you happy, then do it! Wear that funky Christmas T-shirt on Memorial Day if it makes you happy.

That’s what matters most.

Choices

As time has gone on, it does seem more and more apparent that the COVID-19 vaccines do aid in lessening the cases of the virus as well as lessening the effects of the virus, should you be one of the thousands of people becoming a breakthrough case.

That information aside, choosing to get the vaccine is still that: a choice. Just as it is a choice to get any other vaccination. Because getting vaccinated is a person’s choice, it is not something that should be mandated by a work place. Work places don’t mandate the flu shot for employees. They don’t mandate the vaccine for measles. Shit, many don’t even mandate drug testing. The vaccine for COVID-19 shouldn’t be any different.

I know many will argue about the severity of COVID versus the flu. They may have a point. But I will tell them about 2003, when I worked at an office of 500 employees. That’s the year the flu ran rampant through our office from January until April. It didn’t matter if you were vaccinated or not. I was and I got the flu so bad I was out of work for three weeks.

We all know COVID is a virus with a mind of its own. You could have a fully vaccinated office and you would still end up with COVID cases. So, yes, you still protect yourself but it’s really only as good as wearing a band-aid. Most of us know this by now.

So, yes, I can see why Biden’s mandate decision has been temporarily halted. Because how can you demand someone to do something that is really their choice? It’s almost as bad as Texas telling women they no longer have a choice to have an abortion. You’re pregnant and you don’t want the baby? Too bad. You work at company XYZ and there’s a crazy virus floating all over the world and we all wear facemasks day-in-and-day-out to protect ourselves but there’s also this vaccine that may or may not keep you from getting the virus. But because you work at company XYZ and the President is forcing us to have our employees vaccinated, you have to be vaccinated. Just, no.

People like choices. McDonald’s or Burger King? Chevy or Ford? Yale or Harvard? Patriots or Jets? (wait, that’s a choice?) If you take away their ability to choose something, you may as well take away their ability to breathe.

Not all choices are the best choices. Choosing to drink and drive? Bad. Choosing to rob a bank? Not good. Choosing to cheer on the Jets? To each their own. Choosing to not wear a facemask, whether required or not? Not the best choice. Choosing to not get vaccinated, when there’s a good chance it could prevent you from getting really sick if you got the virus? Again, not the best choice. But still, a choice. And one every person should be able to make on their own.

Book Review: “Brat: An 80’s Story”

Being a child of the 80’s and a fan of classic 80’s movies such as “Pretty In Pink”, “St. Elmo’s Fire” and “Weekend At Bernie’s”, when I learned Andrew McCarthy was penning a tale about his Hollywood days, I knew it was going to be a must-read. Indeed it was.

The 223-page turner takes the reader from McCarthy’s innocent childhood acting days in New Jersey to his young adulthood acting days, learning, living and surviving in New York City and eventually Hollywood. Along the way we are introduced to such characters as his first acting teacher Terry Hayden, someone McCarthy states “saved him” and who also correctly told McCarthy: “And if you keep smiling like that, you’re going to charm us all, and it will be your downfall”. Then there’s his former high school teacher- turned-friend named Eddie, whose eccentric way of dressing inspired McCarthy’s fashion sense for the movies “Mannequin”, “Less Than Zero” and “Weekend At Bernie’s”.

And those were just some of the few he had encountered even before landing in Hollywood.

While still in college in New York McCarthy eventually lands his debut role in the movie “Class” and takes us on his virgin journey west to California where he gets to work with co-star Rob Lowe and actually live with co-star Jacqueline Bisset. From there, as they say, “a star is born”.

“Class” leads to McCarthy having a starring role in “Pretty In Pink”, as well as a significant role in “St. Elmo’s Fire”, eventually leading to more starring roles in “Less Than Zero”, “Mannequin” and “Weekend At Bernie’s”.

McCarthy doesn’t hesitate in his writing to touch upon his onerous relationship with his father, particularly when starting out in Hollywood and finally making a name and living for himself. His honesty is profound in discussing his drug and drinking dependence, how he felt while under the influence in making movies and how it affected his acting.

On a personal note regarding the book, one movie I wish McCarthy had mentioned was his work in the Sally Field directed Christmas movie “The Christmas Tree”. It is my favorite Andrew McCarthy film. But that’s probably because I’m a Christmas fanatic.

As McCarthy points out in the book around the time of “St. Elmo’s Fire”, he was dubbed a member of the “brat pack”, kind of by default. Over the years Andrew McCarthy has worn many professional hats: actor, director, author, travel writer. I wouldn’t say “brat” is one of those occupations.