Don't Refuse, Don't Resist

In Pennsylvania, there is a small town called Centralia. Not much is there, but you may have heard of it since a 1962 mine fire made it infamous. Next year, the fire will celebrate its 60th anniversary.

Still today, 2 handfuls of people live there out of fear of a government land grab designed to steal coal money. If you travel to the Coal Regions, you can still see sulfur clouds emanate from cracks in the earth.1

By the early 1990s, the once bustling population took the financial settlements, but holdouts still resist, just as they do with vaccines. Fear and conspiracy are king.1

Resisting warnings

As with Gary Busey’s my body, my choice feelings about helmet laws before his motorcycle accident, tragedy updated his outlook. Now, he doesn’t "have any tolerance for people who want to ride free in the wind. If you don’t wear a helmet, you’re not playing with a full deck." A 2-hour surgery to remove 2 blood clots was a good reason not to resist the "nanny state."2,3

Similarly, a ventilator and long-term side effects seem like things to avoid. Still, holdouts resist the jab. Smokers also resist warnings in spite of higher insurance and not being hirable in some jobs. And yes, that’s legal. It’s free to resist, but it costs to be a rebel.4

Currently moving up the court system, COVID vaccine holdouts may soon face unemployment, too, if they choose not to vaccinate. They pundits they subscribe to will encourage resistance, but the consequences could be financially challenging. Hold out at your own risk.

Getting my vaccine

As winter ended, I got my vaccine. Like many of you, being immunocompromised meant I wanted extra protection. I wanted the pandemic over. Many other people did, too.

Collectively, a lot of us felt tears of joy and thankfulness for the mRNA vaccines. No live virus, just new programming. Will there be breakthrough cases? Yes. Will they pose the same effects? No. Is a vaccine as good as natural infection? Why risk it?

To go to school, we get immunizations. To go in the Air Force, I walked down Immunization Gun Alley and got many vaccines at once. What changed? Andrew Wakefield’s retracted Lancet article, the politics of divisiveness, and the abundance of misinformation, for starters.5

Yes, some aspects of faith and health conditions may have merit. However, the rest of us have enough information to make a choice. Any argument otherwise, over 6 months later, suggests choosing not to look for information.

Socially distancing

In March 2020, I socially distanced. I listened to scientific possibilities and didn’t resist. No regrets. Mid-summer, I stopped working from home, by choice. No regrets.

Otherwise, I kept up much social distancing and postponement of life’s fun while I worked in public. No regrets. Eventually, I got antsy, but I stuck with it until my vaccinations. To resist is to risk danger. No regrets.

In the time that elapsed, Parkinson’s disease changed what I can and can’t do. Sadness, but no regrets. Besides, I won’t resist if I can be alive to do something else.

What I've lost

For this, my final times at the Lehigh Gap Appalachian Trail, the bottom of Hawk Mountain, the waterfalls of Sullivan Run, and any other boulder ascent are as done as a good steak and/or my balance.

I used to think the most difficult part of getting to the Throne Room was Jack’s Tower Road via Yaris. Now, that would be undoable in a Jeep. This was my favorite hike. Now it's history.

Switching a bucket list vacation to Tahiti, however, is something more. Sure, the alternative (Hawaii) isn’t a no-star dive, but it isn’t OUR dream second honeymoon.

A myriad of losses play with our empathy and cause fatigue. Mine are personal to me. Other people’s losses are more personal. We can replace and postpone vacations. Dead people, not so much.

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