Did you get the COVID-19 vaccine?

A) Yes, because I’m ready to get back out there and start partying again!

B) Yes, because I am haunted by the prospect of accidentally killing my parents or saddling my children with lifelong health complications.

Does your arm hurt?

A) Yup, right where I got the shot.

B) Yup. Both arms, actually. A few days ago, I lifted something that weighed more than two pounds.

If you have a headache, is that unusual for you?

A) Yes, it’s unusual: I rarely get headaches.

B) I have continuously recurring headaches that I escape only in sleep. Unclear whether they’re overlapping successive tension headaches, or if it’s because I’ve accumulated lowkey addictions to so many substances that at any given moment I may be experiencing withdrawal symptoms from caffeine, ibuprofen, alcohol, and/or sugar.

You may be feeling fatigued—not ordinary tiredness, but a profound, bone-deep weariness, like you’re clothed in a suit of chainmail, or like the air has suddenly become as heavy as a truck pressing you into your couch. Even to reach your arm toward the adult sippy cup on the coffee table to briefly wet your parched lips would take the concentrated effort of 1,000 Hercules. When’s the last time you felt this way?

A) Never.

B) At around 8:30 p.m. the night before I got the vaccine. And the night before that, around 8:30 p.m. And the night before that, around 8:30 p.m. And the night before that, around 8:30 p.m. And the night before that, around 8:30 pm.

Are you experiencing muscle aches?

A) Yes, I’m so achy.

B) Yes, but to be fair, I think that’s the literal definition of what muscles are? The achy things all over your body?

Are you experiencing unusual nausea?

A) Yes, I usually only feel this nauseous from hangovers due to my awesome social life.

B) I am nauseous, but it could be because I ate some fried food yesterday. Fried food upsets my stomach. So does spicy food. So does too much fiber. So does not enough fiber. So do fresh fruits, especially citrus. So does too much sugar—also artificial sugar. Also, dairy upsets my stomach. And tomatoes. But yeah, I am experiencing nausea.

Are you experiencing brain fog?

A) Yes! I just said, “Water, can you hand me my Dan?” when of course I meant, “Dan, can you hand me my water?” LOL.

B) Sure, but that could be because of my age. I’m… oh, wow, I always forget exactly how old I am, haha. Somewhere between 38 and like 56, I think? Let’s see, my kid is—what? 8?—and we had her when I was… wait, was I 35 or 45? Shoot. I remember thinking at the time that I was too old to be having a kid, but would I think that when I was 35? Or 45? Anyway, what was the question again?

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Mostly A’s: You have mild side effects from the COVID-19 vaccine. They should subside within the next day or so.

Mostly B’s: You’ve been alive for at least 40 years. Congratulations on getting the vaccine, which comes with a free 24-hour excuse for feeling like the complete fucking garbage you always do.

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Read an interview with Talia Argondezzi about writing this piece.