I MARRIED a pro-vaxxer, which is good to know after all these years — we never discussed vaccines during courtship — and in addition to her respect for science, she has the patience to track down clinics online and spend time on Hold and so now I am vaccinated. I sat for fifteen minutes so the nurse could see that I didn’t faint or show distress and I wrote a poem.

The clinic that offers vaccine

Resembles a well-run machine,

I got my shot,

Sat down, was not

Dizzy or hot or pale green,

No aftereffects,

Loss of reflex,

Skin wasn’t waxy

So I hopped in a taxi,

Went home to my wife,

Resuming my life,

Which still is, thank God, quite routine.

Isolated, as monks, but serene,

Trying to keep my hands clean.

I was not asked for a credit card at any point, or a Medicare card, so evidently the country is slipping into socialism, as Republicans predicted, but I am too old to argue, I obey. Young people wearing badges told me which line to get in and I did. A young woman who said she was a nurse gave the shot and I didn’t ask to see her license. Nor did I ask for assurance that the vaccine did not contain a hallucinogen that would make me accept the Fake News: I already accept that Joe Biden was elected president and that Trump supporters invaded the Capitol on January 6. It’s too laborious to believe otherwise. This is Occam’s Razor, the principle they taught in high school science: the simpler theory tends to be true. You’d have to devote weeks to working up a new theory of massive electoral fraud by Venezuelans and Antifans buying thousands of MAGA hats to storm the Capitol, and at 78 I don’t have the time for that. The vaccine may extend my lifetime but there are no guarantees.

This is the problem with getting old: you’re forced to face up to mortality and so you cut back on your commitments. I probably could be a decent tennis player again but I’d have to devote twenty hours a week to the effort. Ditto soap carving, stamp collecting, and the study of coelacanths. It’d take too much time so these must be left to younger people, along with dread and dismay. Too time-consuming.

More and more people around me are dying and it’s never the ones I wish would expire. I have four people on my wish list whom, as a Christian, I should forgive but I don’t because (1) they haven’t asked and (2) forgiveness will not change their loathsomeness, so instead I wish for them to go live in Alabama or Mississippi and perhaps secede, and meanwhile I dread the phone ringing, for fear that one of the righteous has fallen instead.

I keep in close touch with several octogenarians whom I think of as an advance party, just as Custer had a band of Crow scouts at the Little Big Horn who knew the territory, and when I ring up my scouts and ask, “How are you?” I want to know what 83 and 85 and 87 feel like from day to day. My cousin Stan is my oldest scout at 89 and still walks and exercises and has all his marbles — when I spoke to him last week, he twice corrected his own grammar — so I hope for eleven more years, fully marbled, which makes me cheerful and cheerfulness is the key to the kingdom. I avoid dark topics such as global warming and the demise of democracy — and leave those to the young who will have to deal with them.

I watched some of the Senate trial and I worry for my country, that we’re deciding finally who we are but I’m a back issue. I was 21 when President Kennedy was shot and a great deal died in Dealey Plaza, and then the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, and the Ambassador Hotel in L.A. My grandson, who just graduated with honors from college, came long after all that and is fascinated by politics and is ambitious to dig in and more power to him. I’m living in the liberal tribal reservation of Manhattan’s Upper West Side and so I know nothing. My mission is to live gracefully and be amused at mortality and keep in touch with the people in their 50s and 60s looking to me for guidance. No complaining. Be useful. Every day you make your partner laugh is a good day.

© Garrison Keillor is the author of two new books, “Lake Wobegon Virus” and “That Time of Year (a memoir).”

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

I WAS BORN right after World War II. It was a time of extreme optimism, confidence and hope. As I grew into adulthood, many in my generation, myself included, were naïve enough to think we could take democracy for granted. We were lulled into complacency by believing that democracy, at least…

Monday, February 22, 2021

THE Manchester Board of School Committee, with its overwhelming vote (10-2-2) to grant autonomy to students to decide and define their own gender, has created a dilemma for morally and religiously conservative parents who have children in the city’s public schools.

IN 2019, the state Legislature and Governor Chris Sununu passed the bipartisan Community Power Law (RSA-53E) that advanced New Hampshire to the forefront of electrical system deregulation in the United States. RSA-53E removed the monopoly on those energy system functions that are not a “natu…

Sunday, February 21, 2021

WHEN then-Gov. Maggie Hassan, a Democrat, needed solutions to the public health fear created by PFAS exposure in Merrimack’s drinking water, she embraced an idea from Republican Town Council Member Bill Boyd. His idea was to have the Department of Health and Human Services perform a limited …

NEW HAMPSHIRE’s first-in-the-nation (FITN) presidential primary is under heavy scrutiny. A major argument against FITN is New Hampshire’s lack of racial diversity. We are a small state, and, according to the 2010 census, 89% of our residents are White, whereas the U.S. as a whole is 60% Whit…

Friday, February 19, 2021

ON JAN. 25, 2021, the Manchester Board of School Committee adopted a policy regarding “transgendered and gender non-conforming” students. On Feb. 8, 2021, it defeated Committeeman Arthur Beaudry’s motion to reconsider. After both votes, Mayor Joyce Craig issued statements praising the board …

Thursday, February 18, 2021
Wednesday, February 17, 2021

PUBLIC HIGHER EDUCATION in New Hampshire and nationwide is facing great challenges. Student enrollment is declining, and current demographic trends suggest the problem will only worsen in the years ahead. Costs are rising, and institutions of all sizes and disciplines are working to control …

I MARRIED a pro-vaxxer, which is good to know after all these years — we never discussed vaccines during courtship — and in addition to her respect for science, she has the patience to track down clinics online and spend time on Hold and so now I am vaccinated. I sat for fifteen minutes so t…

WE ARE LESS than a month into the new administration and already the opening salvo of the war on gun owners has begun. Not only has Texas Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee introduced a gun control bill on the House floor, but President Joe Biden is calling on Congress to pass laws banning “assault wea…

Tuesday, February 16, 2021
Monday, February 15, 2021

THE ELECTION of Kamala Harris to the second-highest office in the United States breaks a number of barriers. Not only is she the first African American and South Asian person elected vice president in our nation’s history, but Harris is the first female vice president. She represents countle…

Sunday, February 14, 2021