Today I was tested for COVID and now have written proof that there is at least one disease I do not have.

My daughter and her family, which includes a one- and a three-year-old, are visiting later this week, coming in from out of state. Her children are both in daycare and have been required to stay home several times during the course of the pandemic due to positive tests results from someone else in one of their classrooms (causing a two week shutdown of the room). I understand and support the daycare’s cautious approach, even though it is very inconvenient for my daughter and son-in-law, both of whom work outside the home. My wife and I are not hermits but have been careful for the last year and a half, putting much of our lives on hold for the duration in addition to being vaxxed and boosted. I decided to get tested, since I have recently participated in a few social activities. Even though I was careful to minimize the risk, a negative test would mean one less thing for my family to be concerned about.

So I made the appointment, drove to the local pharmacy, and had the test. Contrary to some accounts of how unpleasant the procedure was, the discomfort was barely noticeable. The wait was short (less than 15 minutes), and although I didn’t get a lollypop or other reward for being a good and brave boy, I did get a certificate. I do wish the test was less expensive; it was not a burden for me but I can understand the cost preventing others from getting tested. That is one small part of a debate I think is critical for our society to have, but not on social media. It’s too important for that.

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A career working with teenagers on the fringes of society has made me both sensitive to and appreciative of the complexities of character and the struggles, inner and outer, that we all wrestle with in one form or another. My writing emphasizes character development over action, and, as a lifelong Southerner, the rhythms and cadence of the Southeastern United States influence both my spoken and written voice.

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