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GROB: Batman and Robin would’ve gotten the shot

By James Grob, [email protected]

You can lead a horse to water, but you cannot make him drink.

I have a friend from high school who makes wonderful and hilarious fake photos. He got a ahold of some kind of photoshop program on his computer that allows him to put different faces on different bodies without much training and with just a couple clicks of the mouse.

It doesn’t take a tremendous amount of skill to do it, but to do it right, you should have a good creative mind and a twisted sense of humor. My friend has those things.

This weekend he made me Robin, from the cheesy old Batman television show. Another friend was Batman, and although I was happy to be Robin, I would have preferred Batman. Anyway, we were the Caped Crusaders for a day, and I got a belly laugh out of it.

In the past, I’ve been David Lee Roth and Thor, the Norse “God of Thunder.” I actually looked kind of sexy as Thor, which was nice. I’ve also been a “Midget” professional wrestler, among a few other things, some of them not appropriate to print in a family newspaper.

He works up these fake photos and sends them to us — “us” being other old friends — via Messenger or other social media. I always just laugh at his pranks, and sometimes even thank him for thinking of me. I believe if I were to get upset or express my displeasure with his creations — or up the ante by pranking him back — it would inspire him to start picking on me, or pull me into a twisted competition that I know I can’t win. So I just laugh and give him the thumbs up.

This is fun to me.

My photo-prank-happy friend does other things, too. He’s an electrician by trade and a husband, dad and grandpa. We’ve been friends for close to 40 years now, I think, and although we don’t do a lot together these days, we’re still in touch regularly.

A couple weeks ago my buddy went to check on his brother-in-law, who had been sick, and when he got there he thought his brother-in-law was dead. He was unconscious and unable to breathe, and a mild case of COVID-19 turned out to be not so mild.

My buddy got his brother-in-law to the hospital, and at the moment, things didn’t look good. They did everything they could to treat him without putting him on the ventilator, as the doctor seemed to think that once he was on a ventilator, he probably would never come off it.

They managed to save his life, somehow, as after a week or so of desperate treatment, he was able to come home from the hospital. The last thing I heard was he was a long way from being out of the woods, but at least he was home.

And so it goes. Another horrible COVID-19 story, similar to the literally hundreds of stories I’ve heard in the last year and a half. Some of them have tragic endings, none of them have happy endings. It looks like this one won’t end tragically, although had my buddy stopped by the house a couple hours later than he did, it almost certainly would have.

As I write this, I look up at the news on television and see that there are six kids in a children’s hospital in South Carolina on ventilators. A drug company is claiming that it has a lower-dose vaccine that is both safe and effective in kids as young as 5 years old. There are no open hospital beds in Idaho, so they are sending COVID-19 patients to Washington, and now they’re almost out of beds there, too. Good Lord. We’re still doing this.

Honestly, I thought we were going to be done with this by now. I got my shot last spring, and it seemed to me at the time that everyone else was excited to be getting their shot as well. I read that one wrong.

You can lead a horse to water, but you can not make him drink. You can give everyone in the country all the information and resources they need to do the right thing, but many of them can choose to not do it.

If Batman and Robin were real, they would have gotten vaccinated before they ventured forth to keep the Gotham City streets safe. This is a fact.

There are discussions going on throughout the state of Iowa as to whether or not students and teachers and others should be required to wear masks in the school buildings. As important as these discussions are to some, to me, they are boring and I’m tired of them. Most of the biggest talkers have no idea what they’re talking about, and there are no good listeners, anyway.

And if everyone would’ve just gotten their shot, this wouldn’t be a thing anymore.

I can’t make you take the shot. No one can — not your boss, not your spouse, not the government, not even your grandkids. This is America, and you can choose what’s right for you. That’s why I like living here.

But good God, man, people are still dying horrible deaths, and it doesn’t have to be that way. Not anymore. I love and honor my freedom of choice, but that love tends to fade when so many people choose so poorly.

To choose to put yourself at higher risk is one thing. To choose to put others at higher risk — that’s just not cool.

Get the shot. Doesn’t cost a thing.

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