A Vaxmas Carol

Re-mask and vaccinate to save lives and end the pandemic? Bah humbug!

Jeffrey Denny


On Christmas Eve, Ebenezer Scrooge bolts awake as he hears the chains of someone coming up the stairs. A ghost of a deceased ICU patient wearing a ventilator appears. He and Scrooge face one another.

SCROOGE: What do you want with me?

JACOB MARLEY: [In a ghostly, unreal voice.] Much.

SCROOGE: Who are you?

MARLEY: Ask who I was.

SCROOGE: Who were you?

MARLEY: In life, I was your Facebook friend, Jacob Marley, aka, LondonJake1843.

SCROOGE: He’s dead. I saw it on Facebook. I sent emoji thoughts and prayers and heartfelt gifs.

MARLEY: One year this night he died, Ebby, aka, Scroogemcduck$$$, from the Trump Pandemic.

SCROOGE: Why do you come here?

MARLEY: Oh, sorry, it’s not just me. I brought just a few of the countless victims of your Facebook posts that denied the Trump Pandemic and attacked public health officials and medical science for trying to control it and save lives. We come here to share what we can no longer share because there’s no social media in heaven, which is why it’s called heaven.

SCROOGE: And must go thus?

MARLEY: That’s right. You see, ever since officials began warning about Covid-19 in early 2019, you’ve denounced them on Facebook in spite of your lack of education, training or experience in epidemiology, virology or any -ology. You posted how Covid was a liberal government and media hoax. That it’s no worse than the common flu. That nobody you knew had it. You suggested that highly educated and experienced medical scientists aren’t as smart as you because college makes people stupid. You trust and count on doctors to save your life and those of your loved ones from chronic or deadly diseases, but not when doctors ask you please please save yourself and others from Covid. You not only refused to mask or distance, and proudly so; with your posts you inspired your Facebook “friends” to refuse too. You shared debunked “proof” from your “research,” which was mainly from Fox and right-wing websites that sucker rubes for money. Trust me — heaven has no place for them.

SCROOGE: But I couldn’t trust the liberal lamestream media! I couldn’t trust them because of all their lying, especially about the President of the United States! My President said so! Fox did too!

MARLEY: You poor dear. In any case, your Facebook friends thought you were smart because unlike most of your friends who post there, you used relatively decent spelling, grammar, punctuation, syntax and logic. So we all trusted and believed you. We “liked,” piled on and shared your posts, further spreading lies about the disease that literally were as viral than the disease itself. You got a big ego snack from being an “influencer.”

SCROOGE: But I was just stating my opinion as an American. It’s my First Amendment Constitutional right!

MARLEY: Really? When your “speech” is spreading a deadly pandemic that sickens and kills innocent people, especially the aged and compromised in health? You certainly must know the old “yelling ‘fire!’ in a crowded movie house” thing, right? You must know that free speech is not free, that all freedoms come with accountability. Like if you insult someone to their face, you might get punch in the nose, right?

SCROOGE: But eventually I wore a mask. You saw that, right?

MARLEY: Sure, but it was too little too late. By then you already spread the virus with your Covid-denying words and actions. You also hurt the low-paid frontline healthcare workers who struggled and suffered to keep Covid patients alive. Plus, your mask had a protest message — “the government made me do this” — to signify your rebellion against government intrusion in your personal freedom.

SCROOGE: But it’s my body, my choice!

MARLEY: Certainly. We’ve seen this slogan on anti-vaccine protest signs, often held by people who despise pro-choice protestors who also declare “my body, my choice!” in demanding freedom from government intrusion.

SCROOGE: That’s different! Abortion is murder!

MARLEY: So ultimately is Covid denial. Speaking of vaccination, your refusal to get your shots — citing every ridiculous reason you see and then spread on social media — has given the pandemic a new lease on life with the more deadly and virulent Delta variant. So you continue to cause Covid spikes, which require renewed masking and distancing to stop the spread and save lives, especially of the unvaccinated. Like you. And now you’re protesting the renewed masks and distancing? To paraphrase the old Pogo comic strip, you have met the enemy and he is you!

SCROOGE: Ok, ok, stop bullying me! You’re victimizing me! How can I get you to stop?

MARLEY: First off, get your goddamned vaccine. Then you have two choices. One: Get on Facebook and tell all your “friends” you were completely, horribly, deadly wrong, you’re ashamed and truly sorry, you were a fool who fell for and spread deadly nonsense, and everyone should get vaccinated right away.

SCROOGE: Non-starter. I have my dignity. What’s my other choice?

MARLEY: The ghosts of everyone you’ve sickened and killed by spreading misinformation and disinformation about the pandemic will take you on the worst Christmas caroling walk ever. You’ll be damned for eternity to visit Covid deniers in the ICU who lay struggling, suffering and dying as they text their families, “Now, knowing what I do, I would get the shot.”

Ever afterwards, it was always said of Ebenezer Scrooge that he knew how to keep himself and everyone well, if any man alive possessed the knowledge. May that be truly said of us, and all of us! And so, as Tiny Tim observed, God bless the vaccines, Every One!

Jeffrey Denny is a Washington writer.



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