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Hey pals and buddies!

“Whooooooo! Whoooooo!” Hold on… what’s that sound? Why… the VACCINE TRAIN’S A-COMIN’!

And people, let me tell you, when it’s my turn to get a vaccine—which should be within a week or so—I’m going to fall face first on it! That’s how excited I am! And I know a lot of you are excited for me, too. In fact, I’ve been told on numerous occasions that you’ve been dreadfully worried that if I don’t get my vaccine soon that the world may… *checks random fan letter from an overflowing mailbag*... “lose a national treasure [hey, that’s me!] to the heartless grasp of a fickle and capricious pandemic.”

First of all, RELAX! I’ve made it through the pandemic thus far (though not without a number of mental bumps ‘n’ scrapes), so as long as I continue avoiding the mobs of anti-vaxxer, maskless, coughing Republicans in cargo shorts, I should be okay. In fact, I’m already making BIG PLANS for what I’m going to do once I’ve been plugged with a juicy syringe of vaccine. What follows is a highly abbreviated list:

• Become a “super soldier.” (I know, I know… none of the current vaccines have listed “turning into a bronze, muscled super soldier” as a possible side effect. But that’s only because it hasn’t happened… YET.)

• Use my “vaccine passport” to cut in line at Salt & Straw. (I had it laminated to make it look real.)

• Gather all my vaccinated friends, and one at a time, using an empty paper towel roll, sneeze directly into their eyes. (A pastime I haven’t been able to enjoy since February 2020!)

• Walk into a crowded party, loudly say “A-HEM!!” and then, while maintaining constant eye contact with the host, stick my finger directly into the bowl of guacamole. (I’ll still use hand sanitizer first, as Dr. Fauci suggests.)

• Punch Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz right in his stupid, fucking face. (I suppose I could do that pre-vaccine, but he may still be wearing a mask, and I want to see his teeth fly out of his mouth and skitter across the floor.)

So as you can see, my post-vaccine dance card is purr-etty full. However, I—and the rest of the Mercury crew—are also freaking ecstatic to return to finding you fun stuff to do every damn week! In the pre-COVID times, keeping you happy and busy was our great joy in life. And while I thoroughly enjoyed my time in the last year focusing more on newsy stuff and ducking whenever the cops would shoot a “less lethal” munition directly at my head (fuck you guys for that, by the way), keeping our readers entertained, active, and smart is the best part of this job… and I’m really grateful for all you’ve done to keep us alive and kickin’!

[Insert paragraph here reminding readers to please make a small recurring monthly contribution to the Mercury so we can continue providing lots of news and fun. Oh, and also remind them that NEWS ISN’T FREE and it’s rude and entitled to expect an excellent service without providing any compensation. Actually… don’t say that last part. Say if they become a monthly contributor we’ll give ‘em free tickets to a cool streaming event like the SPLIFF cannabis film fest, or at least something better than a stupid tote bag. And if they still say no, grab an empty paper towel roll and sneeze into their eye.]

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Slowly, yet surely, we’re all eventually going to be “vaxxed up” and then it will be time to step gingerly back into the world. AND YES, IT WILL BE EXTREMELY WEIRD AT FIRST. But when you’re finally vaccinated and it’s safe to patronize all of Portland’s great (surviving) shops, restaurants, and arts/music venues… please DO SO, and DO SO WITH GUSTO. The sooner you’re back, the sooner they’ll be back and providing us with their awesome services. So ignore all the doom-sayers and Negative Nancies who spread lies about our city being a shithole, get your vaccines as soon as it’s your turn, and then get back out there. Spend your money, have lots of fun, and eventually we’ll rebuild Portland into the city we want it to be.

And if you need an official-looking laminated, unauthorized “Vaccine Passport,” I’m selling them at very reasonable prices! (Eye sneezes are extra.)

Yer pal,
Wm. Steven Humphrey
Editor-in-Chief
Portland Mercury
(he/him/his)