We want our second stimulus check. Now former Democratic U.S. congressperson and early 2020 presidential candidate John Delaney has an idea to get us all $1,500 in stimulus money, provided we get one of the new COVID-19 vaccines. He thinks Congress might approve stimulus checks sooner if it gets people vaccinated sooner.
I have mixed feelings about this. I don’t like bribing people to do what they ought to do anyway. But I have to admit it’s looking like there won't be any other way mass quantities of people will line up for their shots. It’s going to take carrots or sticks. We don’t have enough sticks.
My preference would be to get the first $1,200 of my stimulus check the same way I got the last one, then give me the extra $300 when I get vaccinated. I can promise I’ll definitely get vaccinated for just the measly $300.
Actually I’d do it for $100, but don’t tell John Delaney. Let him think we all expect congressman-level bribes. In fact, let him think the $300 isn’t enough; he has to buy me dinner with expensive wine at a five-star restaurant. I’m worth it. Of course, the dinner will have to wait until the vaccination has a chance to kick in.
How about this for an incentive to get vaccinated: You get the shot, and the nurse hands you a pass to go to a movie theater at government expense on any date seven or more days later. Plus a giant-size popcorn. I want to see the new “Dune,” and I don’t have HBO Max. People get vaccinated and movie theaters get to stay in business.
We could pay people to use masks, too. Have you seen how nasty some people get when a supermarket security guard tells them they can’t shop without a mask? What if the supermarket gave them a free mask and a promise of a $1 rebate for every $20 worth of purchases showing on their receipt, provided they just wear the thing and don’t kick up a fuss?
Otherwise looking for ways to bribe people into doing their duties, here’s a novel suggestion: We could bribe people with decent sums of money to do jury duty. As it is, for only $10 a day, my incentive is to tell the prosecutors I plan to vote “innocent” no matter what. Seriously, when I could get $1,500 for a shot that only lasts a second or two, I should stick around a dingy courtroom for hours or days for $10 a day? My rates are going up.
Getting back to the subject of masks, it appears as expected that Joe Biden is headed toward a streaming virtual inauguration on Jan. 20. So DJ Trump will get to say he had many more attendees at his 2016 inauguration than Biden will have. That might be some consolation for being such a loser. Narcissism is very hard.
There will either be no inaugural ball this time ’round or it will be a socially-distant affair where everyone has to dance inside circles painted on the floor. Maybe Twist will make a comeback.
They say visitors to the capitol who want to see the inauguration must have proof of a negative coronavirus test prior to arrival in the district or they will be turned back. They will also have to be tested again if they stay longer than three days. Or else … what? They won’t be allowed to leave? They’ll be locked up in a tiny cell and fed only white bread soaked in soy sauce and vinegar? Why not just pay them to get retested, the John Delaney way?
An exercise for the reader that could also be used as an ice-breaker at your next company meeting or social party: List five things that you would never do unless the government deposited $1,500 in your bank account. Read them to the group.
I’ll go first. I will never see another rerun of “Laverne & Shirley.” I will never fly United. I will never sing “The Wheels on the Bus Go Round and Round.” I will never read “Catcher in the Rye.” I will never eat pineapple pizza.
Unless I’m paid enough.
Dr. Wes Browning is a one time math professor who has experienced homelessness several times. He supplied the art for the first cover of Real Change in November of 1994 and has been involved with the organization ever since. This is his weekly column, Adventures in Irony, a dry verbal romp of the absurd. He can be reached at drwes (at) realchangenews (dot) org
Read more in the Dec. 9-15, 2020 issue.