Columnist

Mike Buzzelli is a stand-up comedian and published author. His book, "Below Average Genius" is a collection of essays culled from his weekly humor column here in the Observer-Reporter.

I don’t want to brag, but I’m all juiced up and ready to party. In other words, I have been fully vaccinated.

As luck would have it, the vaccination caused no long-term side effects. I was hoping for superpowers, but, alas, it wasn’t the Super Soldier Serum. Instead of super-strength and the ability to toss an invulnerable metal shield like a Frisbee, I just got sleepy. After one mid-afternoon nap, I was back to normal, or, rather, as normal as I can be. No costume. No code name.

I was excited to get pinched with the needle. It was a prolonged game of Red Rover, Red Rover, but Mikey finally came over. It feels good to be on this side of the gym.

I don’t want to stick my tongue out and go “nyah-nyah” to all of the unvaccinated, but – let’s just say – I’m very pleased with myself – on the inside.

I was feeling really cocky until I saw the doctor. I told him I was now immune to COVID-19 and he said, “You can still get it. It is just less likely to kill you.”

Whoops. I thought it was a “get out of jail free” card.

Side note: In an ironic twist, my doctor looks a lot like Monopoly’s Rich Uncle Moneybags – in a lab coat and scrubs instead of a top hat and tuxedo.

But I digress, like I do. I’m glad to be vaccinated. I’m starting to meet up with friends and family.

I still recoil from hugs and handshakes, though. A man stuck his hand out to me the other day and I stared at it as if he was trying to murder me with his extended arm. Isolation has made me skittish.

When I tell people I’ve been vaccinated, everyone asks, “Pfizer or Moderna?” Like I bellied up to the bar and chose a cocktail. I didn’t have a choice. I showed up and they jabbed me in the arm with Moderna – twice in 30 days. Much like that aforementioned game of Red Rover, I didn’t care which team I was on – as long as someone picked me.

It’s funny. We are dividing into teams; Pfizer and Moderna are the new Jets and Sharks. Soon, we will be dance-fighting in the streets.

It seems everyone wants to know when you got it, where you got it and which company. Then, they want to know if you felt sick. This interrogation has replaced small talk. There is no more, “How about this weather?” It’s all vaccination talk.

I am equally guilty. I was swimming around in the pool at the gym and the lifeguard mentioned that she was having chills. She had just gotten her vaccination. Suddenly, I had to know. I couldn’t help myself. It was an overwhelming curiosity.

I asked, “Pfizer or Moderna?”

She replied, “Johnson & Johnson.” I forgot there was a third choice!

I don’t care who, what, where, when and how. I am hoping for hugs and handshakes soon.

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