Excerpts from the New York Times’ Moderna Love:

Stories of Relationships, Feelings, Betrayals, and Vaccinations

“I’d Dropped the Ball—Could I Ever Recover?” (Moderna) Moderna was the one that got away. Brilliant and successful (94.5%) with an easy laugh and a trendy Brooklyn-sounding name, I’d messed up and let her get away when I forgot my proof of residency. Even Fauci had said she was “as good as it gets.” Now I’d lost my shot. I turned to my grandfather who knew all about matters of the heart (he’d been vaccinated forever). “Don’t get in your own way, Seth,” he said, and I knew he was right. I’d learned my lesson. I may have lost Moderna, but I was finally ready to let her go. She wasn’t Jewish anyway.

“Unavailable Was Just My Type” (Pfizer-BioNTech) God, I’d wanted him for forever. From the moment I first heard he was on the market, I couldn’t stop thinking about him. He was classic, cool (-42 degrees), and notoriously hard to get. One night, I saw him at a party. This was my chance. I stepped out onto the balcony for a smoke, hoping a comorbidity might entice him to join me. My thoughts were racing. Would he even notice me? Could I thaw his chilly demeanor? And if I did, would he still work? I turned to find he’d sidled up next to me. He leaned on the railing and looked at me with ice blue eyes. “I have a secret sixth dose,” he said. “And it’s yours if you want it.” I took off my jacket and rolled up my sleeve.

“Just One Shot to Cure My Loneliness” (Johnson & Johnson) I stared at the Tinder photo: all-American, wholesome, dimpled Johnson & Johnson. But he said he was only up for a “one-time thing.” Should I swipe right? After a wrenching divorce and a year spent alone, I just needed the warmth of a body beside me. Plus I felt like I might die if I didn’t get some Johnson. So what if it was only 79% satisfying? I swiped right. Gimme that one-shot wonder.

“In Courting Astra, Was I Courting Dis-astra?” (AstraZeneca) I always fall for Brits. But when I met Astra, something felt off. He gave mixed signals. I felt like I couldn’t fully trust him. Also, I’d heard he could cause blood clots. So I did what I do best: research (I’m a librarian). I spoke to his friends and learned he had a stellar reputation at Oxford, but then came the bombshell: his Oxford A’s were more like Gentleman’s C’s (69-74%, to be exact). It turned out his research was fudged. Betrayed, I cut my losses and made my Megxit.

“All’s Fair in Love and Cold War” (Sputnik) The cards were stacked against us: I found her on a sketchy website, she barely spoke English, and our countries were sworn enemies. But Sputnik promised her love could cure me faster than a bowlful of borscht. Against my better judgment and also F.D.A. regulations, I decided to go for broke. I told her she’d stolen my heart. She told me she’d stolen the 2016 election. That raised a flag redder than the Soviet hammer and sickle, so I called it off. Maybe love can’t conquer all. Next time I find something too good to be true, I’ll know to just say nyet. ❏

Keith Rubin is a writer and actor in NYC whose work you can read in McSweeney’s, Reductress, and Above Average. His work has also appeared on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert and At Home with Amy Sedaris.

Sarah Rosen is a writer, actor, and filmmaker living in Brooklyn.


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