Pinch of Salt Graphic (English)

I've complained before about the inexorable march of time, at least as it relates to my body.

It seems like no matter what I do, I'm unable to make the clock run counterclockwise, cause the calendar to flip backwards or convince the waitress to stop giving me the senior discount automatically.

I've tried to console myself with the thought that I must be getting wiser as I get older. Then I do something really stupid.

I convince myself I'm wearing my age well — I look distinguished, right? Then someone asks my how my daughter, Maria, is doing (she's my wife). Or I accidentally look into the bathroom mirror while I shave. Apparently, clowns get old too.

You get the idea. I'm having a hard time putting a positive spin on this aging thing.

So you can imagine my thrill when the news came out Monday about a coronavirus vaccine that is supposed to be effective 90% of the time — a seriously good percentage when it comes to vaccines.

What's that you say? You don't see the connection between my rapid aging and a viable vaccine against COVID-19?

It's pretty simple really. You see, no matter how great the manufacturing process is, there isn't going to be 100 million doses of vaccine next month, or even the month after that.

I'm not a first responder, nor am I an essential medical worker. But — and here's the payoff — I still get to go to the front of the line.

Because I'm really, really old. Or at least old enough to qualify as at high risk for serious consequences should I become infected.

I know there are plenty of people out there even older than my nearly seven decades, and they deserve the vaccine before I get one. Heck, some of my best friends are older than me.

But I have a secret weapon.

It's called a pre-existing, or complicating, medical condition. And they don't even have to access my medical records to know I qualify.

I have this nifty scar down the center of my chest. It doesn't take a heart surgeon to recognize what that scar means. Someone, sometime cut me down the middle to mess with my ticker.

This little bit of body art might not compare to the intricate inking some of my younger friends sport. But at least in this particular situation, it might be worth a bit more.

Now, allow me to switch gears and be serious for a minute or two.

It's been clear for some time that the only way the global we are going to get out from under this pandemic is through a viable vaccine. I salute the many selfless scientists who have been working so hard to find one.

And, God willing, we'll have that solution soon.

Until then, the coronavirus is a real thing (contrary to the lid-bangers intent on saying otherwise) and there is a real risk, especially to those folks who are really, really old.

So wear a mask, please. Thanks.

Harry has been executive editor of Gazette Newspapers for more than 26 years. He has been in the newspaper business for more than 35 years, with experience on both weekly and metropolitan daily papers in Colorado and California.

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