O wanderer, weary from newsfeeds and Zoom,
And anxiously tracking case counts in your room,
You seek to be tested? HAH HAH! Join the club!
You think you have COVID, you sad, lowly scrub?
You sought tests at clinics, but none could be found,
So instead you’ve come here, my troll’s lair underground.
The rarest of rare, I’ve got one test in hand —
But first, you must do all the things I command.
I see you’ve completed the very first task:
You’ve somehow procured fresh Purell and a mask;
You’ve traveled o’er sidewalks, the space overflowing,
(Where anyone might be a vector, unknowing).
You’ve fended off fools still-unmasked on your quest,
Held your breath on the subway — all this for a test!
You want this last one? Hmm…I’ll test you now, sure.
But first, you must answer me these questions four:
WHAT is your temperature? Give it now, quick!
(Never mind that you may not be fevered if sick.)
WHAT SYMPTOMS have you? A dry cough, or a wheeze?
(And is that corona, or just allergies?)
WHERE FROM have you flown? Any place on this list?
Any place, anywhere? Which ones? I insist!
WITH WHOM have you mingled? Have they been infected?
(And did they confirm this, or simply suspect it?)
And if you can answer those confidently,
We’ll do the last riddle — a favorite for me!
DO YOU HAVE INSURANCE? This answer is key —
The fees could be nil, or three-thousand and three.
Quick, tally the fees! What’s your plan? HMO?
Has your plan made it free? (If it has, would you know?)
If trying to calculate costs makes you ill,
Just leave it to fate — you can wait for the bill!
In theory, this test shouldn’t cost you at all…
But the bill might consist of a long, cryptic scrawl.
The math will be simple: Just twelve minus three,
Then times it by twenty, then infinity,
Then add several thousand (that’s all overhead),
Add hundreds if you end up using a bed,
Then multiply by all the time that you’ve lost,
Throw in a month’s rent, and you’ve got the full cost.
The bill will explain this — all written out clearly!
It’s easy to figure out if you’ll pay dearly.
But wait — while you dithered here, fretting o’er pay,
TEE HEE! No more test now — I gave it away!
Come back here tomorrow, and then try your luck!
Yet again, in a very long line you’ll be stuck.
And who got the test? As you stand here, defeated,
A luckier soul’s test has just been completed.
They’ve emerged as the victor, despite some delays!
And they’ll have their results back in two (or twelve?) days.