Shoot Me, Baby

“I’m going to hide under my bed all day,” Solomon told me matter-of-factly.

We were sitting on the couch. He was watching me play ActRaiser. Not the original ActRaiser. A remake of ActRaiser.

What’s ActRaiser? That’s a silly question, loser. ActRaiser was a super cool game for Super Nintendo. Released in 1991. Or 1992. I’m not sure. Because I’m too lazy to Google it. But I played it when I was like 11 or 12. In my old bedroom in Dad’s house. In Arden Hills, Minnesota. On a tiny black-and-white TV. I loved the game. You take on the role of a God. And battle monsters and help lowly humans build communities. Talk about super cool. Or super dorky. I played this game obsessively. So maybe I’m the loser. Not you.

Here’s another tangent. I once used the game in a mock lesson plan when I interviewed for a high school teaching job. I paired the game with Albert Camus’ The Stranger and designed a lesson about post-colonialism for 10th graders. I thought the unit was badass. Showed off my range as a high school English teacher. The committee was not impressed. Teaching video games in an English class? How dare you think that literacy education is multimodal? How dare I, indeed. I didn’t get offered the job. Years later I wrote this article about teaching video games in high school English. Take that, search committee.

Anyway, I’m off on a tangent here. I was writing about Solomon. Who was sitting next to me. Watching me play a remake of ActRaiser on the Switch. Solomon’s been playing the game too. He’s about one stage behind me.

“I’m going to hide under my bed,” Solomon said. “So I don’t have to get a shot.”

They’ve approved Covid vaccines for 5-11 year-olds. And I’m taking medical advice from the CDC or the FDA or doctors or scientists. Not political pundits. Or Aaron Rodgers. So we’ll take the boys to get their shot.

If we can get them out from under the bed.


Solomon hates shots. Who can blame him? Shots suck.

His last round of shots was a doozy. He hid under the table in the doctor’s office as his doctor, a very kind man, tried to coerce him out.

Solomon wailed and screamed and wailed. It took 20 minutes to get the needle into his arm. And then .004 seconds for the actual shot to happen. The experience was traumatizing. The Covid vaccine will be the first shot Solomon has had since then.

Samson is much less dramatic when getting a shot. He closes his eyes and sits there. Like me.

I got my Covid booster a few weeks ago. My flu shot too. I closed my eyes and sat there. Felt a prick. Only a few side-effects. I was a little tired. I didn’t grow any extra limbs or turn into a beast from the apocalypse. Instead, my immunity to Covid-19 was boosted. That’s all. So that’s what I assume will happen to the boys when we take them in for their shot. We’re actually leaving in a few hours to do it. I write these blogs a few weeks in advance. Especially this fall. When my schedule is a nightmare. I like to keep up on my writing chores. This blog is a writing chore.

Anyway, pray that we can get Solomon out from under his bed. I’m using ice cream to bribe them. And toys.


It’s almost the winter of 2021. Covid vaccines are plentiful. There’s frost on the ground. I’m 41. An associate professor of literacy education at Theeeeee Pennsylvania State University (ALTOOOONA) campus. Surviving the fall of my 7th year as a college professor. And I’m an improviser and a blogger and a writer of fiction. I can’t get an agent to represent my science fiction novel. Not yet. Send prayers about that, too. I’m a father and a husband and a short man who continues to make his way through the world. God willing and the creek don’t rise.

I like these blogs as a way to mark the time. To capture an experience or a thought. I don’t like them as careful pieces of writing where I say this or that. Not so commercial, these blogs. Which might explain my lack of a literary agent. I’m too messy. Fair enough.

So this blog captures this moment as I see it. Lots of moments behind me. Lots of moments ahead of me. Shots hurt. But those moments go away. The pandemic sucks. But this too shall pass.

There’s a great line from the play Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead. Roz says to Guil, as they are facing down their impending death, that anything might happen yet. They’ve come so far. They ought to keep going. That line is in my mind as I finish this messy little blog.

I’ve come so far. I’ll keep going. Anything might happen yet.

That’s good personal advice. It’s also a nice way to think about people. What we are and where we’re going.

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