Bob McKinney

I'm tired.

This summer of 2021, I cannot think of a better word to describe the feelings of many of as COVID-19, which a few weeks ago seemed to be well on its way to being in our rearview mirrors, continues to dog us.

“Delta variant” now joins word combinations I thought I would never say and hope to never say or hear again. It’s sure to make the buzzword list this year.

Yes, we are tired of the pandemic in general, but it’s all the subsets of the pandemic that have made me especially weary.  

I am tired of going out to eat and seeing plenty of empty tables, only to be told there will be a 45-minute or hour wait because of understaffing. “You know, COVID,” a seating host might tell us.

Which gives rise to the discussion about whether the understaffing is due to prospective workers who allegedly make more collecting unemployment benefits than they would if they had a job, or that the pandemic motivated millions to quit their day jobs and pursue their passions.

I am tired of going to the occasional nearby store (trying to support the local economy) for an item I need and seeing empty or scantily-stocked, sad-looking shelves. I have lost track of how many times I’ve been told about the disruption in the supply chain and how something is on “back order.”

Because, you know, COVID.

My wife and I bought a car in April. Apparently, we were just in time before the computer chip shortage became a thing – because of, well, you know.

Inflationary prices? Yep, they were seemingly inevitable after the pandemic lockdown.

And who isn’t tired of the ever-changing guidelines coming from the Centers for Disease Control? Please understand I am not blaming anyone in that organization (quite the contrary). Dr. Fauci is on my fantasy dinner list.

It’s a moving target and I get that. But, oh my goodness, how do I know what to do? The questions keep coming.

Do I wear a mask in the grocery store because, even though I am fully vaccinated, the unmasked and unvaccinated might transmit it to me and even though I’m supposedly safe, I could still get COVID and transmit it to someone else?

And if I wear a mask, are my fellow shoppers going to assume I’m unvaccinated because I am doing so? (I might be tempted to pin my vaccination card to my shirt.)

And while we’re talking about it, if it’s OK for an employer to mandate vaccinations, why have state legislatures, in their infinite wisdom, passed laws prohibiting “vaccine passports?”

And why did our state’s health department fire the doctor who seemed to be leading the charge for getting vaccines, and doing a pretty good job of it?

Am I OK to hug people? What about shaking hands? I spent a year fist-bumping but went back to handshakes a few months ago.

Now, greeting anyone is awkward as I try to gauge someone’s level of comfort. I am a longtime people pleaser, so if you open your arms, I’m coming in. So please, extend that fist prominently if that’s your preferred method of saying hello.

I have no social media accounts, but I am tired of hearing about the conspiracy theories and misinformation that take on lives of their own on those forums.

I don’t argue much, but I am tired of defending my pro-vaccine position. I don’t care if you choose not to get it, but please, respect my right be a proponent of it.

I am incredibly tired of something that should have never been political continuing to be just that.

A pundit I like, who leans to the right but listens to others and seems to have a wealth of common sense, put it this way, in response to extreme right accusations against the Biden administration for making vaccine advocacy part of its “agenda:”

“Fighting pandemics is what the government is for. This one has already killed twice as many Americans as World War II. What is complicated about this?”

In other words, if it’s part of President Biden’s agenda, we should be thankful. Why wouldn’t it be? We should also be thankful the previous administration, as haphazard as it proved itself to be, initiated Operation Warp Speed that got the ball rolling for a rapid vaccine roll-out.

But as my pundit friend went on to say, “Whether it’s masks or vaccines, people can’t see past their partisan blinders.”

I couldn’t agree more. It makes me very tired.

Bob McKinney is a longtime Brentwood resident, happy husband and proud father, father-in-law and grandfather. Email him at [email protected].

Bob McKinney is a longtime Brentwood resident, happy husband and proud father, father-in-law and grandfather.