Today, we pause for a moment of joy. We slide our crankypants into the closet. Not too far now, we need easy access to the crankypants. There, stuff them behind last year’s jeans. That’s good.
Life can’t always be kittens and rainbows, and some of you really like to remind me of that. I’ll be all, “tacos taste good,” and someone will reply, “WHY DON’T YOU REPORT THE TRUTH ABOUT ORTEGA HARD SHELLS AND THEIR INVOLVEMENT IN THE ZODIAC MURDERS?”
There’s still plenty to sweat, including late-stage COVID spikes, or “impending doom,” as the head of the Centers for Disease Control put it Monday. We still need to follow guidelines and hold off on starting clown car businesses. There are important questions about access for underserved communities and children, proliferation of new strains and whatever happens when lots of people decide not to take the shot.
But this is a moment for kittens and rainbows, and 10 out of 10 kittens pawgree. For starters, the ship blocking the Suez Canal is free, and we are all proud of that boat. Moreover, as of Monday, 2.6 million more people were eligible for the vaccine in Florida. Next week, it opens up even more.
It can feel a bit clandestine to be happy right now, like buying Arbor Mist with a fake I.D. We’ve spent the past year being alternately furious and depressed, with good reason.
Because of that, not in spite, we need to celebrate the dopamine burst that comes with a vaccine. The last time this country came together was... well, a few weeks ago when Prince Harry and Meghan Markle talked to Oprah. But many of us are together in spirit now, and it’s a hopeful time.
Take that vaccine selfie (but don’t post the card unless you love identity theft). Slip into the Tylenol aisle at CVS and get the snap done. Slap a like on someone’s photo, even if you’ve now seen 800 close-ups of armpit creases. Watch all the videos of grandparents hugging little ones. Your “like” fingers are going to have tendonitis, but that’s a crisis to deal with later.
Wake up the morning of your spouse’s vaccine appointment and say “HAPPY VAX DAY!” as if they are 5 and there’s an ersatz Moana actor coming to the birthday party. Stand at the door and bid them well, in the manner of a World War I bride.
Do not feel pressure to play it cool! Wear something festive. Smile under your mask, even though no one can see. Cry. It’s healthy to cry. Go on, fantasize about the things that lie ahead. Let go of anger at those who didn’t make an effort to help the greater good. This note is mostly for myself.
We will never, ever forget what we’ve been through. We will never disregard the 2.8 million people we’ve lost around the world. I once overheard a colleague describe to a reader why we report on bad things. He explained that, without struggle, our successes don’t mean as much.
This is one of those moments. Don’t let it pass without feeling it. Now, tell your Band-Aid to smile for the camera.
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