I got COVID when COVID wasn’t cool

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Well, it finally happened. No, I didn’t go bald, get divorced or accidentally go to work without pants. I got COVID!

Recently, I had been badly congested for a couple of days, but I chalked it up to our yearly East Texas orgy of yellow pollen that mistakes my sinus cavities for some kind of pine tree Playboy mansion.

Then the headaches started, like my frontal lobe was hosting a rave party for Diet Coke and Mentos. I don’t typically have headaches (other than my three semi-grown daughters), so I knew something was wrong. I was also more tired than usual, which is saying something since my adult life has mostly involved checking the time to see how long it will be before I can go back to bed.

After I went to the clinic to have my brain probed with the giant nasal-violating Q-tip, I was flabbergastified with the results. I mean, I wasn’t even sure COVID was really a thing anymore.

Of course, the one year I forgo the COVID vaccine, disaster strikes. I’ve had so many COVID vaccines in past years that when I cut my finger the other night while I was foraging in the pantry, I could have sworn my blood glowed in the dark – so I figured I was good.

What was I to do now? Excavate some crusty old face masks from the lower bowels of our junk drawer? Put myself in lockdown for a calendar year with nothing but Netflix, Little Debbie treats and my Snuggie blanket to keep me company?

Ironically, minutes after I was diagnosed, the CDC released its new guidelines that basically say COVID-19 is no longer fashionable, and if you get it, you should just shut up about it because nobody cares, anymore. (Ok, that’s not exactly what they said, but still . . . .)

Yes, gone are the days of pandemic-panic/supply-chain crisis, when I would trek through what seemed like a post-apocalyptic retail wasteland on an endless search for toilet paper. And when I found a package, it was like striking gold – or a free pair of Taylor Swift concert tickets!

Speaking of Taylor Swift, my daughters were thoroughly unimpressed by my diagnosis. I broke the news to my youngest and quietest daughter while we were eating dinner. She just said, “Oh,” and asked me to pass the pasta.

When I called to tell my middle daughter I had COVID, she just laughed and said, “Dad, COVID is sooo 2020!”

Based on the reaction of her sisters, I didn’t even bother calling to tell my eldest and most expensive daughter because I was afraid she might just ask for money.

The only sympathy I got was from my wife, my mother and our pets. My wife and mother both encouraged me to go to bed and get plenty of rest. What wonderful women! Our pets seemed pleased that I was sitting still for a change so they could thoroughly contaminate me with their dander and saliva.

I’m happy to say that I had relatively mild symptoms, and I’m now fully recovered-except for the pet dander. I was only able to milk it for about three days of sleeping in and several sleeves of Girl Scout cookies to settle my tummy.

Let’s just hope that, eventually, COVID will go the way of other bygone maladies like Smallpox, SARS, and parachute pants. Until then, I’ll keep my pillow fluffed and my stockpile of toilet paper on standby.

Copyright 2024 Jase Graves distributed exclusively by Cagle Cartoons newspaper syndicate.

Graves is an award-winning humor columnist from East Texas. His columns have been featured in Texas Escapes magazine, The Shreveport Times, The Longview News Journal, and The Kilgore News Herald. Contact Graves at [email protected].

Jase Graves is an award-winning humor columnist from East Texas. His columns have been featured in Texas Escapes magazine, The Shreveport Times, The Longview News Journal, and The Kilgore News Herald. He is also a frequent contributor to The Erma Bombeck Writer's Workshop, which named him Writer of the Month for June of 2017, and he has served as a judge in the Erma Bombeck/Anna Lefler Humorist in Residence program.

The National Society of Newspaper Columnists says, "Whether he's breaking down the common types of yard sale denizens ('The Lingerer . . .she was here so long, I'll probably be able to claim her on my next tax return') or sharing cautionary tales of mattress shopping, Jason flays suburban life with a sharp wit. Shopping for his daughter's swimsuits, he wonders if he has 'strayed into the first aid section and . . .was looking at a new line of colorful ACE bandages.'"

Other than writing, his hobbies include berating the television when the Texas A&M Aggie football team is playing and sleeping as late as possible.