Wednesday, March 31 2021

vaccines, white boy summer, and side parts

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Dear Journal,

Good morning, everyone! How are you holding up? If you're a fellow Wisconsinite, I imagine you must be feeling really good right now. Yesterday our governor announced that starting on Monday, the COVID vaccine would finally be made available to the general public. Marissa read the tweet off her phone at the dinner table, and immediately it stirred a cocktail of emotions within me. I felt happiness and relief. I felt peace. I felt guilt over how much I had been complaining about the slow gradual roll-out.

I'm baffled at how it happened so quickly. The last estimate I heard was June, but the cynic in me expected to wait until August. Realistically, I was ready to write off another quarantine summer and just look forward to maybe a brief and fun vaccinated fall. But credit goes to where credit is due. Wisconsin, you really hauled ass on this one. If I had an award to give that was the complete opposite of Chump of the Week, I would give it to you.

We'll try to make an appointment for Monday, but who knows how long it will take. We couldn't find a clinic, hospital, or pharmacy that had been updated. We have more waiting ahead of us, but at not as much as I thought.

Sip. Have you heard the term "white boy summer"? The word combination made me laugh, and I wanted to vet the back story to make sure it was safe to use. Was it a MAGA thing? Was it a TikTok dance? Was it some kind of joke around the fact that we've all been trapped in our houses for a year and we're all going to look really pale?

I'll fill you in on my research. The term "white boy summer" was coined by Tom Hanks' son Chet in a rambly instagram check-in. Don't worry - it's not a race thing. Chet makes it clear that "white boy summer" is very inclusive and welcoming to anyone from any race and background who "vibes with it". So I ask you, reader. Are you vibing with this white boy summer?

You can help yourself to the video here. I didn't know anything about Tom Hanks' son, but maybe just the fact that his name is Chet is all you really need to know. But I think the video is just long enough to gain a small appreciation for Chet. I can feel how the words "white boy summer" must have just popped into his head, and he just had to tap in and tell the world.

Sip. So how are you feeling today? What a beautiful morning, isn't it? As usual, just Rodney and I are awake. We have this funny interaction every morning where I have to acknowledge Rodney even though it's not time for him to come out of his room. Even though his door is only cracked about an inch, you can't walk by without talking to him. Rodney has ears like a bat. If I make the slightest creak on our stairs or click a light on, his face is waiting at the door to talk to me. It's far easier to address him than it is to sneak by him.

"What's going on, dude?" I said. "Good morning. It's good to see me."

"Yeah, good to see me," said Rodney rubbing his eyes. "I come out now?" He stood at his door in his pajamas aimlessly.

"Not yet, dude," I said. "I have to shower, then write. But you can come out after that."

Rodney nodded. "OK, sure," he said sweetly.

But it felt cruel to just leave him standing there. I offered some suggestions for how he can pass the time while I get on with my morning. "Hey, you just got your new Highlights in the mail, right? Why don't you read your magazine?"

"Not this time," said Rodney, waiving his hand to dismiss the idea. He launched into a story. "There... are dolphins in the water. And I need to play with them, so... I can roll up my pants, and I can use my camo gloves to swim down and play with them."

"OK good, dude, you can just do that instead," I said, peeling away from the hallway conversation. Rodney nodded, satisfied. Sounds like he was too busy to read anyway.

In other news, hair is normal again. Like the prodigal son leaving a wayward life of squalor to be reunited with his father, Marissa and I are back to parting our hair on the side. Let me bring you up to speed with all this hair drama.

Marissa and I both recently got a haircut. Her stylist gave us both the same spiel about how we part our hair on the side. The biggest disadvantage, I'm told, is that it's way easier to see your receding hairline. In fact it kind of accentuates it.

I was committed to leaving the side part behind me and starting my new life as a middle parter. As instructed, I swept all my hair forward and over my eyes, then gave it a little shake. It felt strange and unwieldy, but thats kind of the point. After parting your hair the same way for twenty years, breaking that habit would feel a little strange, wouldn't it?

A few weeks go by. I came downstairs for coffee, and something happened. Marissa and I had an epiphany.

"I hate doing this to my hair," I said. "I don't know what it is, but something's got to give."

"SOMETHIN'S GOTTA GIVE," repeated Marissa in her Pat Foley voice. "I can tell. I watch you do your hair in the morning, and you don't look happy. It's like you get a little sad each time you do it."

"I think I just want to go back to normal," I said.

"I've stopped middle parting," said Marissa. "I just don't like it."

"I just want to..." out of frustration, I swept all my hair back again, my hair parting on the side. I felt cool air on my earlobes again.

"It's perfect," said Marissa.

"Right?" I asked. "I don't really care about a receding hairline."

"Nobody notices that," said Marissa. "I mean, when was the last time you looked at somebody and thought oh, look at their hairline?"

"That's a good point," I said. "I think I'm having an epiphany. It's way easier to notice when someone isn't comfortable than what they're doing with their hair."

I'm satisfied with that conclusion. I gave the middle part a good, long try, but I feel like I was just constantly thinking about it. The moral of the story is that planning for a receding hairline in the future isn't worth being uncomfortable all the time. Side parters, rise up. This is our white boy summer.

Thanks for stopping by today. Have a great Wednesday, everyone.