REWIND: Celebrating (gloating about) getting Dolly Parton’s COVID vaccine

Now, I hate to gloat, since so many people are still waiting for their turn, but I’m going to do it anyway:


Three hundred and sixty-five days after my day job’s office first closed due to COVID, I unexpectedly found myself at a Kaiser hospital in the Bay Area with a needle in my arm, and now my immune system is cranking out antibodies like nobody’s business. I am so, so happy.

I’m sure you’ll get your shot too soon enough, don’t worry.

Even though, again, I hate to brag, here are five songs about how profoundly lucky and partially vaccinated I am.

Dolly Parton — “Jolene”

First off, shoutout to Dolly Parton. Just… such a shoutout.

You know all this because we’re in a Dolly Parton Golden Age. There’s boundless and deserved love for her, her music and her philanthropic work. She’s bought more books for kids than probably anyone in human history, that alone is worthy of praise.

In this case, though, it’s because early on in the pandemic she gave $1 million to the group working on what’s now the Moderna vaccine, and I got the Moderna vaccine. So thank you, Dolly Parton, for helping to make that shot possible. I owe you one.

Oh, and “Jolene” is one of the best songs of all time. That too. I forgot this is supposed to be a music column for a second there.

LMFAO featuring Lil Jon — “Shots”

Because I am a mature adult, this song was running through my head the whole time I was in line.

It works in multiple regards! First, the raucous, joyous celebration completely matched my mood while waiting my turn and getting stuck, and while I sat for the requisite 15 minutes to make sure I didn’t have an allergic reaction, and the rest of the day, and the next day, and probably for the next week or two.


2 Unlimited — “Get Ready For This”

This one is probably specific to me and me alone, I admit. But it’s my column and you’re not the boss of me.

Once I made it through the line and checked in, I took a seat next to a nurse. She asked me some final questions, checked my ID and filled the syringe with that sweet, sweet Dolly Parton vaccine. She wiped the spot, looked at me, and said, and I quote, “Y’all ready for this?”

For a second I waited for the music to kick in. It didn’t. A little disappointing, to be honest. I expected more fanfare.

I looked at her and said, “I’ve been ready for this for a year now.”

[Gokhman note: What a sucker. Not only am I double-vaccinated, but when I got my second shot, fireworks shot into the sky and U2’s “Miracle Drug” and “The Star-Spangled Banner” blared at the same time. I’m pretty sure that’s what happened].

Europe — “The Final Countdown”

Unfortunately, this is just my first shot. It gives me partial immunity, but it’s not enough. My second dose is scheduled for April 8, then it takes two weeks from there. But then? In six short weeks? I’m 95-percent immune.

I have no doubt that these will be the longest six weeks of my life, but there’s a timer. Until now it’s been a general, ephemeral, light at the end of the tunnel without a discernible distance. But now? I know how many days.

[Gokhman note: I’m already 95-percent immune and available for licking].

Yes, even after those six weeks, I’m still wearing a mask. I’m still not doing anything stupid. Five percent isn’t 0 percent, so I don’t want to take my chances. Because if there’s any chance of something bad happening to me it’ll probably happen. But it does mean I have a level of protection significantly higher than the zero I have now.

Six weeks. It’s the fiiiinaaaaaaal coooountdoooooooown!

Thomas Dolby — “She Blinded Me With Science”

Finally, and I can’t believe I have to use 20 percent of my song selections to do this, but I can now say with authority: All the conspiracy theories are as stupid as they sound.

I’m not suddenly autistic. I don’t have any greater affinity for Satan than I had before. Bill Gates nanobots have not rewritten my DNA so I broadcast 5G signals. My mind isn’t being controlled. I checked.

My shoulder was a little sore the next morning, but I’m old and busted so I wake up sore all the time anyway. I genuinely don’t know if it was the shot or just me sleeping wrong. I’m decidedly not dead. I understand the second shot has more of a kick, but both my parents got it already and they’re both still standing. In fact my dad had no side effects whatsoever.

[Gokhman note: I didn’t either. I’m invincible!]

Science did not blind me, is what I’m saying. The shot tens of millions of people have gotten without dying is not going to kill you. The fact that the big scandal is that most doses have gone to white people is the proof; if there was any chance at all that it wasn’t safe all of American history says they’d give it to people of color first, but instead that’s who’s being shut out.

The literal second you’re eligible, get yourself an appointment and get the shot. We need most of you to get it so we can go back to normal, by which I mean I want to be able to go to A’s games and concerts. The last one I saw was kind of a low note to leave off on, so if you help me start going to shows again I’ll write about it and you can read it for free.

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