ask tony – COVID VACCINE EDITION

Recently on Instagram & Facebook I have put up some posts that have raised some questions from some very good people.

I will address them here.

Tony, how does the vax help you from spreading it to your neighbors? The only people I know who have gotten it lately are people who are vaccinated. And they are also the ones that have not been wearing masks n are socializing a lot.

According to the World Health Organization, getting vaccinated helps your body prepare for when it really gets attacked by the virus.

When our body receives a tiny version of the disease it fights it off and not only creates antibodies but when it is met again with the disease – even in a more powerful form – it has a memory of the initial engagement and is able to fight the disease again much quicker.

Not everyone can receive vaccinations, though. This makes it more important for those of us who can to do so in order to raise the herd immunity.

Forcing anyone to do anything with their body is not love. FEEL into it and tell me different.

I know this might sound like I am dismissing your statement, but I swear I am not.

I don’t believe I can force anyone into doing anything. Likewise I don’t think anyone can force me into doing things I don’t want to do. What I am doing is what I have done from the moment I could read and write: I am sharing my opinion about things.

I am very sorry if it feels like I am forcing my beliefs onto you. I know I can often have strong opinions. I am not as nuanced as those who I admire.

When you say get the jab or die, are you acting from love or are you spreading fear and trying to control using a mask of love?

If you are referring to this cartoon I posted. My caption to it is “Is this where we’re at?”

I was truly asking a question.

But really it is a question less about those who choose not to get vaxxed but those of us who are in angst thinking about our friends and neighbors who are not getting vaxxed. For so many people, including myself, this isn’t even a debatable proposition: there’s a deadly thing out there, scientists around the world worked together to fight it, it’s here in the nick of time, get the shot.

But now there’s this unprecedented aversion to getting the shot by many and Everyone seems stressed out. So when I saw that cartoon I saw it as “just give up on the battle, Tony. People are adults. They have made countless decisions that have worked out. Don’t fight it.”

Thus I asked, “is this where we’re at?” aka acceptance that if the worst outcome happens it wont hurt us as much because we have already washed our hands to it.

Do you really love your neighbor no matter what choices they are making or do you want to control them, pretending to care cuz really you just want to get back to your life? Maybe the higher “test” here is about actually loving your neighbor, as they are. About choosing to love despite difficult circumstances. Choosing to act as a unifying force in love and not creating more fear, divide and control w your words.

My next door neighbor voted for Trump, listens to right wing conspiracy theory YouTube stuff, and watches Fox News. Only because his job made him do it did he get jabbed. But I love him for many reasons. We have a shared love of classic rock, for example, that I try to focus on whenever the discussion goes to politics.

My church recently had a sermon about the line in Matthew about loving our neighbor and loving our enemies. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus basically says big deal if you love those who already love you… “if you love those who love you, what reward have you?”

Loving those who are different than us is one of the signs … to the world… that we are following in Jesus’s path. I did not consciously do that with my neighbor. But the church was talking about Trump supporters in general and how we should do our best to try not to demonize them or anyone who does not share in our beliefs.

Broader, I do care about my neighbors. Those who live in a controversial church, those who hog up the parking, those who talk trash about California. But I don’t give myself credit for that. I feel like I was born with it. I am always trying to look at the good in people. Maybe it’s a defense mechanism so I don’t slide into a dark EMO abyss. But I do love people – and am not pretending to do so in this case.

We are all going to die. I just don’t want it to be from something relatively easily preventable.

But bigger than that — if the ICUs and hospitals are packed with COVID patients, most of whom are not vaccinated, and people who are rushed in that ER for heart attacks, stabbings, gun shot wounds, accidents, and other emergencies are not able to get a bed bc of the COVID patients… that makes me incredibly sad.

What would Jesus do? I’m not religious but I know what coercion feels like, I know fear, I know control. I also know what Covid feels like as an essential worker. I choose love.

I have no idea what Jesus would do. Even though I have read the Good Book several times, Jesus was a complicated person who not only spoke in parables but did unexpected things.

That’s why I usually revert back to his final commandment. I do this because I feel like he was just as confused with Earth and humans as humans were confused by him. Ultimately he sorta threw his hands up and said, you know what, fuck everything else… just love each other. Love each other like I have loved you.

Again I don’t believe I am capable of making anyone do anything. Otherwise I would have a ton more Patreons on my podcast :)

I think that my love language is… language. I call them how I see them. In public. Every day. Often about silly matters. Sometimes about serious things. This is very serious.

Do you know you have friends who are not vaccinated? [names redacted] Do u think that u are better able to make our choices for us? 

I do know about one of them. I was not aware of the others.

I will tell you a little secret. I feel I have zero influence in the world. I have the lowest self esteem of anyone you know. When I write in this blog how blown away I am by something, or grateful that this or that thing happened to me… even decades later… it is because I am still amazed that it happened to me. Girls kissing me, jobs working out, awards being handed to me, the Cubs winning the World Series… very few of those things feel real to me. Those are things that happen to others, not me.

Therefore I, in no way, feel like I know better. All I know is what I see and read and trust.

In this instance it appears that the data is overwhelmingly one-sided: it is safer to get vaccinated than to not get vaccinated.

But one difference about me than most people: I seem to be less afraid to state my opinions in public and have open conversations with Everyone than your average bear. Therefore I don’t see why I should change that pattern on this matter… one that has affected life on Earth more than any one thing in our lifetime.

Tony, for years I have known that your diet is not of the highest nutritional value. That is known to cause early death and all numbers of problems. Do you want to be forced to “eat right” or do you appreciate the fact that we don’t know your body and we love your quirks and….let you live your life.

It is true that I am not the healthiest eater. Over the years I have made progress, but it is only because of friends and loved ones constantly nudging me and talking with me and cooking good things and pushing me.

Sometimes it really does take a village. I love my village and I love you for keeping it real. Two of my neighbors are vegans and we talk about that life all the time. My assistant at the LA Times is a vegan and taught me soooo much.

None of them can force me to eat right. But by their example and by their conversations with me, I am on a far better path than where I was. Thank God for all of them.

Controlling people to make the world “safe” is an illusion and is not love. The only reason I reach out to you to say this is cuz…I know you do love and I know that you are not pig headed or abusive in your debates. Are you creating more compassionate unity or are you creating more division  and judgement w your words? And apparently on the other side of that illusion stands people you know and love. 

Again I don’t believe I can control anyone. I can’t even control myself! I should have been working on work this afternoon but I am writing this because I have huge respect for these questions and those who are asking them.

I have no idea if I am creating compassionate unity or division. Obviously I don’t want to divide. I am not so naive to think my words do absolutely nothing. But in a weird way I look at them as butterflies: they go wherever they go and I have zero control over where they land and if they inspire people or repulse them.

All I know at the end of the day is I am driven to write down what I think as honestly as I can and as clearly as I can.

In that sense I am trying to lead by example. I am not saying my beliefs are The Way, I am suggesting that having an open dialogue will lead to the compassionate unity I think you are talking about… whereas the lack of communication can lead to division and judgement.

Thank you soooo much for engaging with me and not letting these questions fester inside.

i got the shot

when i called my mom she said YOU GOT SHOT?

i was all, YES BUT THOSE DIRTY COPPERS WILL NEVER GET ME.

it was not a long wait. i wrote about it for my medium blog.

i met a bunch of people because i was in the best mood and we were all stuck together.

and when it was over, on my way to my car, i nearly cried out of sudden relief

all of this had built up in me.

probably in you too.

all of this angst and fear OF DEATH and this fucked up invisible hatchet man who seemed to arrive in people’s lungs with no rhyme nor reason

we see all these jackholes vacationing and partying and running around with no mask

and for all we can tell they dont get sick.

then you hear about this one or that one who “did everything right” and either they get it and die or get it and feel so lucky not to die.

i got a burrito at Tacos Arizas got home and soon became very sleepy and passed out in my robe.

was it relief? was it the drug? was it the angels saying go have super weird dreams as lana del rey goes through an hour of material?

yes

i had a hard time sleeping last night

shouldnt i?

death is literally around every corner.

i was at the store last week and i heard someone sneeze and i darted in the opposite direction like it was a shotgun blast

on that trip i also got a covid test in a church parking lot and today they called

but because it was coming from some 714 area code i was all, pass.

they left a message saying they had my test results and i should call back.

i was scared to death! i had been up all night with constipation, and then the opposite and when i wake up in the middle of the night i have a hard time going back to sleep, especially with the world imploding

so i called back asap and they were all, you’re good.

and i wanted to yell: couldn’t you just have texted me that? or emailed? or left that on the message?

why make me call back? i know its a medical thing, but if there’s not a virus, it’s not medical. it’s nothing. it’s the opposite of Anything.

let me check a box off on the form where I let you text me a big thumbs up if im negative.

life doesnt need to be hard.

life is hard enough.

thank God i have Tums and the Lord above looking out for me when im dumb enough to leave my home.

no more home leaving for a while.

if youre not confused yr not paying attention

At first we thought they were bots.

How could anyone buy into the obvious baloney that was being shoveled down our throats?

Those can’t be people on the other side of those Twitter accounts with American flags in the bios and Bible verses next to their user names.

I DONT BELIEVE YOU Randy59680217!

But they are real.

They are our brothers and sisters, our neighbors, they’re sandwich artists and cops and very fine people.

70 million of them voted for a person who lied thousands of times… which was the least of his sins.

People are confused right now. On both sides. On all sides.

If you’re not confused you’re not paying attention.

But that doesn’t mean we can’t love each other. It doesn’t mean we can’t be civil.

The lady on my TV today said more people died today of COVID than all who died on 9/11, and that stat will be repeated nearly every day for the next 2-3 months.

Is she correct? Let’s hope not. Let’s hope we turn this corner fast.

Let’s hope the wonderful health professionals who are in harms way stay strong and get all the support they need because they’re so vital right now.

These are dark days and they may get darker yet.

Love each other.

It’s the opposite of what our enemies would want us to do.

by the time i get to arizona

this has been an incredible year.

tomorrow is friday the 13th. the last time we had a friday the 13th was in march.

march.

the month the plague began.

today california verified its 1 millionth covid case.

back in sweet home chicago the mayor is putting everyone in a 30 day time out.

people of the future, i dont know what to say about this.

it’s happening to us, but it’s happening in slow motion.

i know people who have gotten covid.

a former LAist editor in chief got it.

you probably know someone who got it too.

but because we dont know massive amounts of people who have died of it not enough people are panicking.

sometimes Actual Fear really helps.

last night we met a friend for dinner in Thai Town. she no longer lives in LA so you gotta say hi when you can. we ate outside in the freezing cold (50 degrees) in a parking lot, dining on some kick ass thai food under a heat lamp

and even though she had just gotten tested, it probably wasnt the smartest move. we’re educated people. we know better.

but humans are social people. and i dont know if it was the food or the company or the otherwise lack of social interaction among friends but afterwards we felt super good. buzzed almost.

and no we didnt drink a drop of booze.

good friends gabbing for 90 minutes is nice. seeing each others eyes is nice.

but so is living through the end of all of this.

my brother wants to have a socially distanced thanksgiving and i dont think thats a good idea

can you imagine if i got him sick and he never recovered?

id never recover.

so yes, people of the future, thats what life is like right now on Thursday the 12th

as we eagerly await for the grownups to return to the white house to fix this fucking shit.