We’re not lemmings.
Before I write anything else, I want you all to know that reporters are not lemmings.
In fact, I’d say that reporters are probably a little less likely than other people to do something because other people thought it was cool. We have a deep-seated suspicion of all cool things, because the cooler something is, the more uncool it will be later on. (If you don’t believe this, remember Vanilla Ice, hair crimping and snap bracelets?)
However, after my newspaper ran an editorial reminding people to get vaccinated, it seemed like a really good idea to get a flu shot, given how many people I hang around at work.
I don’t worry too much about getting the flu myself. I’m pretty healthy and ailments generally seem to hit me hard and then wander off in vague confusion as to why I’m not getting sicker.
However, at work, I meet all sorts of people. Old people, young people, happy people, sad people, and even adorable tiny babies who have the hiccups. Some of these people are inevitably going to be a little more vulnerable to the flu than I am. If I get the flu, it’s not a big deal, but if a tiny baby, a very old person, or a person whose immune system is suppressed by drugs gets the flu, it’s a whole different story. It’s dangerous.
I do not want to be the instrument of someone else’s downfall.
So when a colleague said he wanted to go get a flu shot, I said sure! And we tried to get everyone else to go too, and we did have one other taker.
Three reporters in one office waiting to get a shot. We all listened to the usual questions about whether we were allergic to eggs or had had a previous reaction to the shot, and then we each got our shots. Nobody cried or ran away from the doctor, screaming, so I think we did pretty well.
I barely felt mine. I’m pretty wimpy about needles, and I admit I was a little tense. It helped to have other folks there too, but as always, it turned out I needn’t have worried. I could barely tell when the shot went in, and I could barely tell when the vaccine went in, either.
I couldn’t even tell afterward, because this time the needle was so small I didn’t bleed.
In fact, if I didn’t a. have two witnesses and b. feel vaguely run-down for no apparent reason, I’d suspect that I hadn’t gotten the shot at all. And now it’s safe for me to be around old people and tiny babies again.