Yesterday, Donna got a surprise phone call from her old boss. His bookkeeper’s hospitalized and on a ventilator with COVID, and, with payroll looming, he was desperate for Donna to come back in. He told her she could name her price.
This was the owner of the gun shop where Donna worked for many years. She retired five years ago after hiring and training her replacement, the woman who’s now stricken with COVID. Donna’s first thought, and mine, was great, we can use the money, so she agreed to come back in on a temporary basis. But as the day went on, we started thinking about things Donna learned during her conversation with the owner.
His shop, which sells firearms, ammunition, and tactical gear to the public but also to law enforcement agencies, was designated an essential business at the start of the pandemic in 2020 and stayed open when many other businesses had to close. Until the Delta variant started making its rounds, he said, none of his 20 employees had contracted COVID. Since then no fewer than 14 have, all within a fairly short period of time, and he’d recently been forced to close for four days to sanitize the place.
Other than the current bookkeeper, the impression Donna took from the conversation is that the stricken employees recovered and most are back at work. She asked if they’d been vaccinated. He answered by saying he was, but didn’t divulge the status of his employees other than to say the woman on the ventilator had not been. And that he expected ventilator lady to pull through and return to work (Donna respectfully kept her reservations about that to herself). Since the culture at the gun shop when Donna worked there was hard-right NRA (and since then has likely become more so), her assumption is few if any of the current employees are vaccinated.
The gun shop occupies a two-story building. The shop is on the ground floor, and other than the owner and bookkeeper everyone works downstairs. Donna told the owner she’d come back so long as he agreed to make her office an off-limits zone, and that if anyone came upstairs they’d be masked. Donna, of course, would be masked as well.
The owner called again later in the evening. He’d found a temporary replacement and didn’t need Donna to come in after all. Before he called, we’d worked ourselves into a state of existential dread. The gun shop was starting to look like a death ship, and when the skipper sailed off without Donna, we breathed a sigh of relief. Sure, some extra cash over the holidays would have been nice, but at what price?
Vaccine and mask mandates for military personnel, government employees, and workers at large corporations are one thing. Our daughter Polly, who works graveyard at an Amazon warehouse in Tucson, feels relatively safe going in. But what about all these small businesses with no vaccine requirements at all? How many of us have to face the daily risk of catching Delta or now Omicron from anti-vaxx co-workers and customers? Sure, lots of people have elected not to return to work under such conditions, but what about those who can’t, who have to take what they’re giving ’cause they’re working for a living?
To help research and prepare You Can’t Read That! censorship and book banning posts, I set up Google news alerts on those and related subjects. Lately I’m beginning to get alerts that include links to my own stuff, which is kind of nice to see.
Journalists and bloggers who write about book banning surely use news alerts as well. Now they know about my humble efforts. I did notice, though, that this news alert picked up YCRT! from Daily Kos, not directly from this blog, Paul’s Thing. That makes sense. DKos is a major website with a wide readership, so the YCRT! columns I cross-post there get more comments — and many more clicks — than they do here.
Fame whore, that’s me.
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