Oxygen

O2 be back at live poker again!

First foray into live poker in several months last night. Unsurprisingly, Covid-19 was a popular discussion topic – masks, vaccines, sickness, death, paranoia, despair and all that.

Not wanting to get confrontational with friends, I told one vaccine skeptic that I just listen to Mrs., who is quite knowledgeable on the subject (having read considerable scientific and research literature, and interacting daily at her job with other healthcare leaders).

In short, when Mrs. advises to get a shot, I get a shot. When she requests to stay home, I stay home. When she endorses playing live poker two weeks after getting the booster shot – my third dose of Pfizer’s Covid vaccine – I mark my calendar and last night the chains came off. Happy wife –> happy life!

Candidly, I was not prepared for the amount of vaccine hesitancy, skepticism and misinformation casually bandied about, even while mourning the passing of a fellow poker player due to Covid a few weeks ago. Lots of institutional distrust.

Not a lot of listening. There’s a big difference between listening to what someone else is saying, with empathy, to try to understand where he or she is coming from… and waiting for the other person to finish talking so you can have your turn. In the latter case, you simply talk past each other.

Like when the World Series (of baseball) game comes on TV and someone says he pulls for the Braves because [whatever, I wasn’t listening] and I say I like the Braves too because my father took me to one of their games when I was 10 or 11.

Back to Covid.

Get vaccinated! Covid vaccines reduce, but don’t entirely eliminate, the risk of infection. For those breakthrough infections, they reduce the severity, preventing many hospitalizations and deaths.

Reduce the frequency of infections. Reduce the severity of infections. That’s Risk Management 101 right there.

Don’t just take my word for it. Listen to Mrs!

Vaccine mandates have successfully eliminated smallpox, and reduced polio, measles and other horrible diseases to mere afterthoughts in most of the world. When was the last time you worried about diptheria?

The notion that someone is not anti-vaccine, but anti-mandates, as a justification for declining the vaccine is the height of foolishness.

Let’s put this in poker terms. You are dealt two aces. Pocket rockets. Against a random hand – any two cards – you’ll win 85% of the time.

“Yeah baby, bring it!” you say. Expected Value, blah, blah, blah.

The next hand is dealt. You peel your cards and see two doses of the Covid vaccine. Now the odds are even better. 94%. “I don’t know, I know a guy who had a bad experience and felt bad for 12 hours. I better fold.”

Done with this subject. Be safe.

Look at the bright side… several bad beats last night but no bad beat stories in this post.

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