I Can’t Tell You To Stay Home For The Super Bowl
I can’t tell you not to gather on Sunday, to skip that party and watch the Super Bowl at home. But that’s only because I can’t tell you anything: Covid-19 killed me last week.
I was sixty-eight years old, pretty healthy, with my appointment for the Covid vaccine circled on my calendar. I was the sort of fiery guy who would never stop moving but, one morning, I just couldn’t get going.
I just hadn’t slept well, I told myself, this is nothing. But the chills came on that evening. I struggled at home for over a week but when my body decided to quit it did it on a dime. My fire went out before I ever got to the ER and met Dr. Seufert, who asked me to “ghostwrite”.
I know just what happened to me, now (omniscience is one of death’s big perks). I lived with my daughter, Jenny, and caught Covid from her in the apartment.
Jenny caught it waiting tables when a customer, Richard, pulled his mask down to give his order and couldn’t stifle a cough.
Richard got it from the handyman, Mike, who fixed the blinking lights in his kitchen. Richard thought of asking Mike to keep his mask up, but didn’t want to be rude.
Mike has teenage children and, suffice to say, his daughter Tori didn’t really go night skiing at Wachusetts the night of Ashley’s big party.
Ashley got Covid from her Aunt Rita. Ironic, because Rita was terrified of Covid and very careful. But it’s hard to turn down Christmas dinner. Her sister, Joy, was recently divorced; she guilted and pressed until Rita gave in.
Joy kept it small, at Rita’s insistence. They all wore masks while traveling, had finger food on separate plates, washed their hands plenty. And they all got tested. Even Christian, who would give Covid-19 to three others at the table that night. Alas, he got tested too early and was falsely negative. Whenever Christian yawned, or laughed, or told a rambling story, he set a little more retrovirus adrift.
Joy missed some chances as well. They all ate at the same time and table instead of staggering, spread out around the room. And they kept the windows closed, rather than opening them up and just cranking the heat for two hours. True, Joy saved $2 on her heating bill. But with no ventilation, there was little to dilute Christian’s infectious breath.
These weren’t stupid or ignorant or reckless people — not generally. Each guest considered bailing, right up to the last minute. Reading the news, even Joy thought she maybe should just call it off. But rational people rationalize; they have a knack for finding reasons they should or even must do the very things they most want to.
Everyone’s masks came off for dinner, and there was more than just the Christmas spirit in the air. Too bad for them.
Too bad for me.
It was five weeks after Christmas that I got sick. The last Friday in January. Waking up that morning, I couldn’t have imagined tracing it all back to some quiet little dinner among friends. I could go back further, to last February and beyond — I’ve got time, another perk. But you get the idea.
I always watched the Super Bowl. I lived for football, and I’ll watch this one, too. But it’s crowded enough up here in the cloud seats, folks. Seriously. So, cheer Patrick and Tom on, for sure. But try to make the game in Tampa an epic — rather than epidemic — showdown.