“The United States reached a new milestone in the fight against COVID-19 on Tuesday: 50 percent of adults are now fully vaccinated against the virus, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention… ‘We are on a good downward path, but we are not quite out of the woods yet,’ says Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the CDC.” — The Boston Globe, 5/25/21

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What a great hike today, right? Who knew that the Misty Mountains kept going up like that. Thanks to whichever one of you tall fellows slung me over his back like a sack of Lembas bread. Pretty infantilizing, but I get it. We’re in a bit of a rush.

And that’s actually what I want to talk to you all about right now: the rush.

Are we going to just not address the eagle mail that arrived this morning? It’s a big freaking deal. Thanks to Galadriel and her magical potion, half of all adults in Middle-earth can no longer be affected by the One Ring’s power. And she’s continuing to make and send out vats of the potion, so the rest of Middle-earth should be immune in no time.

But instead of celebrating or, you know, stopping, we all keep trudging along. And broodingly staring into the distance. Why? What for?

Let me be real with all of you: I’m exhausted. Not in my bones, but in my heart. I know none of you have any reason to believe me, but I’m a cool guy back at the Shire. I’ve been called “the life of the lawn party” on more than one occasion. And this quest just isn’t it for me. It’s suppressing my spirit. Call it situational depression or selfishness — I don’t care. I need to live my life without fear. And I can’t do that if I’m on an endless march to a big volcano.

And Sauron’s basically finished, okay? Yes, I know he’s still out there, scanning the land with his all-seeing eye and killing thousands, but we’re over the hump! We can go back to the way things were and ignore the fact that Osgiliath is seeing a record number of new Sauron converts every day. Osgiliath is, like, super far away. We’ll be fine, guys.

For me, it all comes down to the power of positive thinking. I think this fellowship could use a nice big dose of that. You’re all so serious all of the time, talking about Dark Lord “variants” and the impossibility of herd immunity and the needless deaths of millions. What a bummer.

I say we take a detour to Isengard, reevaluate what we’re all doing, and get some much-deserved R&R. Turn this Fellowship of the Ring into a Fellowship of Fun.

Have I taken Galadriel’s potion? This wasn’t really supposed to turn into a Q&A, but okay, I’ll answer. No, I haven’t had it yet. The vial’s in my bag, but elven magic can be weird, and I’d rather wait a little longer to see how it affects people, especially hobbits.

Don’t give me that look, blondie. None of you are better than me. I’m a free spirit. If you think it’s immature or irresponsible of me to party like it’s FA 260 even as cannibalistic orcs crawl the land, then so be it. I choose to live in the present. Not in some still-possible future where a new reign of evil grows stronger than ever before, plunges our continent into darkness, and transforms all of us into slaves of an all-powerful necromancer. Sorry, that’s not going on my vision board.

I’ve been talking a lot, haven’t I? I’m done, I swear. If you all insist on “being heroic” and “doing what’s right for the good of everyone,” then I understand. You do you.

But if you want to party, join your boy — Isengard’s about to get lit.