Writing Switch: Shots in the dark

Not just for Tuesday nights anymore

Benjamin Welch and Sean Beckwith
Writing Switch

Here’s a riddle for you: I hate needles, but I love shots. What am I?

If you answered “Ben and Sean,” hell yeah! Put that on the Cloud Nine whiteboard. The COVID-19 vaccination rollout around the nation is going not according to plan but exactly as expected: terribly. And while we have no clue how to improve that process, we do have some ideas for other things to vaccinate against once that infrastructure is in place.

Powder days

SB: This year we’re going to have to phase the crowds in the event that we actually get snow. It’ll be like the “Mad Max” masses waiting for Immortal Joe to turn on the spigot. Knowing my luck, it’ll be on a day that’s blacked out or a weekend.

The most aste-risk crowd is definitely anyone with a weekday pass. From 8 a.m. to 10 a.m., let the poor locals — and I mean poor in every sense on the word — gobble up as much chocolate as Willy Wonka will spare. Seriously, the year tourists are on hiatus so is the snow?

Gates are at 10 a.m. for Phase 1B, who are all the people who bought a Premier Pass.

“Oh, look at Mr. Rich Pants. I can afford a Premier Pass.” If you want first chair, you have to donate a 50%-off voucher to a weekday rider, because Skico sure as hell isn’t.

Everybody else, aka Gen Pop, gets a noon start time but they have to take Little Nell to Bell Mountain to get to the top or go to Buttermilk. This is a medical emergency, and money will not buy you a “Get out of COVID free” card.

When we get a powder day, I’m going to strip off my clothes and fall to my knees Andy Dufresne in “Shawshank Redemption”-style at the bottom of Deep Temerity.

“Hope is a dangerous thing.” It sure is, Morgan Freeman. But it’s also perverse.


BW: I’m certainly not “poor,” per se. After eight years of being a (semi-)productive member of the workforce, I’m finally past the poverty level — at least earnings-wise; alcoholism and a gambling addiction keep me there, though. It’s crazy to think that when my father was my age he was making less than me and supporting a family of four … so TAKE IT, DAD! I WIN! (I can say that without penalty of retribution because my parents are too terrified to read anything I write.) However, if there was a way to ensure I would never be destitute, I’m not too worried about the side effects. What am I gonna get, hairy palms?

You know those smug assholes who are like, “If I won the lottery, I wouldn’t quit my job. I’d need something to keep me busy! Hyuck hyuck hyuck.” If I won the lottery, I wouldn’t even finish writing this sentence. I’m deleting my search history, closing the laptop lid and I’m out the back door, deuces. Honestly, I don’t know how I’d react if one minute I have a lifetime of student debt I’ll never finish paying off and the next I have $850 million. I imagine it would involve screaming and crying and convulsing on the floor before tearing my garments and running through the streets wailing. I wouldn’t be the quiet, reclusive hermit who lives a modest life and donates a bunch of money to the library or some shit. Basically, I figure the clock is ticking on the next 10 years and I must live as lavishly and extravagantly as possible until I’m broke again or dead from excess.

I don’t really worry about money too much, even though I probably should. But the stress of budgeting and 401Ks and health insurance and finding out who Roth is just doesn’t compute to me as being a worthwhile endeavor. I like to think that affords me the benevolence of giving a bunch of lottery winnings to my friends, except the ones who have spurned me like Sean, who make me stumble home through the snow in the middle of the night instead of crashing in the spare bedroom. So I suppose that still leaves me with $850 million. Oh well.

As a depressed, single, 30-year-old super sexy dude in the throes of a pandemic that will last indefinitely, I pretty much only purchase food, booze and video games and whittle away at credit card balances. I’m certainly not spending anything on clothing, though as I found out the other night when I tried to remember how to zipper and button pants, nothing fits properly since the last time I got dressed 309 days ago. I saw a headline in the paper that read “OFFICIALS SAY TO WEAR A MASK EVEN WHEN VACCINATED” (called it), so being that I’ll never have to appear presentable for the rest of my life, I guess it doesn’t matter if I look like a fist that has just squeezed a big ball of Play-doh.


SB: It would be nice if everyone knew when they should literally stop touching everything in their son or brother’s room. Just put a biohazard sign on the door and be prepared to have to burn any linens that come out of there.

Phase 1 would remain the same with girls going first. Let the boys hit each other with lightsabers and watch House of Highlights videos instead of charting their classmates’ physical progress.

The X factor is when to loose the real horn balls, which is just a blanket term for boys. Do you do it relatively early in hopes that they eventually “get it out of their systems” like your friend’s humpy dog? Or do you wait until later when hopefully the girls have gotten past their wannabe-influencer phase on Instagram, TikTok, Snapchat or whatever app mom and dad aren’t on. (There’s like 400 very funny, very unprintable words on teenagers and cellphones that I’ll save the editor from having to read/cut.)

The right call is probably just to stagger them according to seating chart or however they organize students now. Whatever the system, let the boys with the deeper voices sit in the back because they don’t talk any more than anyone else.

My concern is if you let them all go at the same time, it’s going to be like post-COVID dating on horse steroids.

The internet

BW: I’ve convinced myself that, just by virtue of spending most of my life on the internet, that I am statistically one of the smartest persons to ever have lived (you are too, dear reader, for having such fine taste in literature). While that sounds conceited, it makes sense that every generation, as an average, is more intelligent than their predecessors. And because Gen Zers are either still in school or stuck in their first shitty job and suddenly realizing the best years of their life are now in the past, that makes us millenials practically geniuses (with me still near the top, of course).

Have we taken in more facts and developed better critical-thinking skills and are more empathetic than our grandparents? For sure. Are we smarter than the people working in the coal mines all day during whatever period that was? Yes. Benjamin Franklin is supposed to be such a stellar mind because he stuck a key on a kite? Puh-lease. What do you want to know, I’ll Google it right now. In this battle of the Bens, I’m betting the favorite.

I’ve been thinking lately, though, since I’ve had plenty of time to do so, that if we could selectively choose to wipe our memories of the internet through a vaccine, I’d take it.

The ol’ information superhighway didn’t pan out the way we hoped. The connectedness that social media was supposed to bring us collapsed once our parents figured out how to use it — and then their parents, yeesh. The theory was always that so much dialogue could only be a blessing; that we’d be able to consider different points of view and discern falsities and trend toward a more globalistic, rapidly advancing society. Nope, we just learned the tribalistic tendencies of our poop-flinging ancestors haven’t evolved at all. And if they had cameras, they’d probably spam pictures of their junk to randos, too.

How is it that with all knowledge right at our finger tips, the only topics of conversation anyone can manage is overreacting to the Capitol instability? Like, there was an impending sense of dread and doom, a disgusted feeling in my gut while watching the news Jan. 6 that “damn, nobody is ever going to be able to talk about anything else ever again” and “incites violence!” will now be a vehicle for censorship in perpetuity. At this point, I promise you don’t have a hot take on rioting that thousands of people haven’t already made — and they probably articulated it way better than you. Yeah, Lauren Boebert is crazy and we wish she hadn’t been elected, I get it. But does grandstanding about it day and night for weeks on end actually make you think she’s going to resign? Find a real sports team to obsess over.

Join me in taking the De-Moderna-zation-21 vaccine and try to develop an opinion that hasn’t been incessantly screeched at you from inside the ivory tower echo chamber.

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