Bubba McCoy told me he got vaccinated because he had no choice considering his marital circumstance. He said that he and I run a close race in the "most over-married" sweepstakes.
The ever-responsible Mrs. Bubba piled his whining self into the car and they drove 20 miles to the cross-county pharmacy shortly after the plus-70 group was authorized. They got their second shots nearly a month ago.
The second injection "made me a little bit puny," he said. "I didn't feel bad enough not to go to the car lot, but I didn't want to do anything but doze after I got there. An old boy came in wanting to see a pickup and I told him to sell himself on it because I didn't have the energy. And he bought the red Nissan.
"I'd better be immune after going around here like that for two or three days," he said.
I asked if Mrs. Bubba had felt similarly uncomfortable. "I don't guess so," he said. "She didn't say nothin'."
I shook my head in dismay over the largely irredeemable insensitivity of males. At some point in a marriage, I told Bubba, women must keep us around only to carry the plants in for winter and back out for spring.
"Oh, hell, I quit doing that 10 years ago because of the L-3, L-4 situation," he said.
That's a low-back problem, for the benefit of any young readers out there.
I wondered what Bubba made of the vaccine and political situations, related as they were.
"I reckon everybody ought to get the shots, or the shot," he said. "But you can't tell these people around here what to do. They'll do the opposite for sure."
Would Bubba have gone for the shots if not blessed with such a better half?
"I think probably so, eventually, as soon as I figured out that maybe with a shot I could quit worrying about putting this mask on whenever somebody comes around.
"My granddaughter tells me I've got to be careful because I meet the public over here. And I tell her I ain't meetin' near enough of the public lately. I don't think I've sold a half-dozen cars this year, including the sale I slept through."
Perhaps Bubba could avail himself of some of the new virus relief money.
"If I knew how to go about it, I'd ask for some," he said.
They direct-deposit that $1,400, I told him.
"I can't get that," he said. "I made too much."
Seriously? He and Mrs. Bubba had an adjusted gross income exceeding $150,000?
"We did but only for that one year they happen to be usin'," he said. "I sold a ton of vehicles that year, and we withdrew some from the IRA to take that trip and just to have and then we had the Social Security. We got to something like $150 grand and three cents, according to the accountant."
Any cutoff like that will be arbitrary, I guess. And what trip?
"Oh, you remember. It was '19, I guess. The women in my life, all three generations of 'em, drug me to whatever that place was where Ted Cruz went for a night. I sat around on the beach in swim trunks and a T-shirt. I was afraid they'd harpoon me if I took my shirt off."
So, Mrs. Bubba's dietary restrictions haven't paid dividends?
"They have helped on my health, the doctor says. But, at this age, as you know, it's hard to lose weight. You wind up eating right and staying fat. That's why they call 'em the golden years, I guess."
What did Bubba make of all that right-wing religious legislating going on in Little Rock?
"I ain't payin' it no mind," he said "I know they're meeting. I know they probably don't need to be meeting. I know the courts'll throw a lot of it out. Otherwise, life's too short for me to worry about it."
And Joe Biden? How did Bubba feel about his new president?
"I think he's all right for the moment, but he may be losin' it a little--you know? And Pelosi and them, through no fault of his, will overdo it with all the spending and liberal stuff--'cause they can't help themselves--and Trump will be back in there before you know it.
"And you shouldn't worry about it. It's job security for you, provided you can hang on to your limited faculties."
I told Bubba farewell and that I was on my way to get my second shot. I asked him to be sure and tell Mrs. Bubba hello for me.
"I will. She likes you for some odd reason. I think she's probably your last reader. She asked me the other day, 'Did you read John's column?' I said, 'Yeah, that one time in the '80s, I think.'"
John Brummett, whose column appears regularly in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, is a member of the Arkansas Writers' Hall of Fame. Email him at [email protected] Read his @johnbrummett Twitter feed.