Ready for an ‘out of body’ experience, too? Science is the key to our return to normalcy

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During Saturday’s matinee between the Red Sox and the Miami Marlins, Fenway Park opened to full capacity for the first time since Sept. 29, 2019—long before the veritable plague descended on planet Earth.

In the top of the seventh inning with the Red Sox clinging to 2-0 lead, Miami had the bases loaded and two outs. As Red Sox reliever Adam Ottavino stared down Marlins’ slugger Garrett Cooper, the crowd rose to their feet to offer their raucous support.

I stood up from my own chair at home and started cheering as well.

Ottavino struck out Cooper with a slider down and out of the zone, and the crowd roared, an alacrity I had almost forgotten existed. Ottavino pumped his fist on his way to the dugout after—what he called—“an out of body experience” brought on by the Fenway Faithful.

It got a little dusty in the room for me, and none of this, by the way, had much to do with baseball.

I was verklempt[1] not due to my investment in a somewhat meaningless game against a crappy National League team at the end of May. My emotions stemmed from a deeper place and an uncharacteristic paroxysm of optimism.

As the crowd erupted, for the first time since the shutdown in March 2020, I recognized the known world, a small but certainly-not-insignificant step toward our return to normalcy.

However, there are still some ominous signs in the tea leaves.

For example, in the United States, we’re still only slightly above 40 percent fully vaccinated for COVID-19—in New Hampshire it’s slightly higher at 48 percent—and the numbers of doses being doled out are on a sharp decline. In other words, just about everyone who wanted a shot has received one.

Still, almost half the population is either reluctant or flat out refusing the vaccinations, which will continue to impede our collective return to a pre-pandemic society[2].

I can understand someone being reluctant to get the vaccine—whether it’s Pfizer, Moderna or J&J. It’s understandable that we’d want to know what we’re putting in our bodies.[3]

But everyone needs to understand that, first, we can trust the science, and secondly, this needs to be a collective effort. If we’re going to eradicate this virus—or at least stop the virulent spread of it—we’re all going to have to do our part, and I can’t, for the life of me, understand why science has become politicized.[4]

This is a sad, sad commentary on the state of our nation. Why is wearing a mask and getting vaccinated tethered to liberalism? These are not political decisions. They’re health choices, and sometimes you need to make sacrifices for the common good.

And memes on social media, from both sides, don’t validate skewed worldviews.

If people made health decisions based solely on political affiliations and the Fox News spin-machine, we would still be battling polio and smallpox.

Everyone on both sides of the acrimonious political aisles can agree that it’s time to retire the masks and see each other’s faces again. But in order for this happen, we need to consider the collective.

Personally, I’m ready for more “out of body” experiences.

________

[1] That is a helluva word, isn’t it?

[2] Truth be told, as an introvert and card-carrying misanthrope, I didn’t mind being quarantined. It was the perfect excuse to not leave the house, although I did miss going to the bar.

[3] Well, I’ve never been accused of being overly circumspect when it comes to putting substances in my body.

[4] No, they’re not putting a microchip into your arm so the government can track you or altering your DNA. Let’s go easy on the QAnon theories, kids.