Cayucos anti-vaxxer stands his ground

April 30, 2021

Dell Franklin

Editor’s Note: The following series, “Life in Radically Gentrifying Cayucos by the Sea,” to be posted biweekly includes the notes, thoughts, and opinions of an original American voice: author Dell Franklin. 

Franklin’s memoir, “Life On The Mississippi, 1969,” is currently on Amazon.


I ran into a friend of mine in the south parking lot beside Ruddell’s Smoke House. He’s the kind of friend you see in town and say hello to and exchange impersonal pleasantries, not a close friend who knows what you’re thinking or believe in, but the exchanges are always warm and friendly, never negative or provocative. He is a person who picks up loose trash after busy weekends and has helped out the homeless folks living in their cars.

He has been up against it, and he remembers and cares. He sports a wealth of tattoos of symbols that reaffirm his happiness and peace of mind.

I was parked late in the afternoon and watching goings-on along the beach and realized his van was parked one car space over from mine. He was lounging in the back, side doors open, listening to country western music. When he spotted me he came over and asked how I was doing, and I said fine and asked how he was doing, and he said great and I told him I felt a great relief because I’d just gotten the final dose of the Covid vaccine. His face changed and he said, with surprising conviction, “They’re not making me take that shot.”

“Why not?” I asked. “It was a pretty easy process.”

“The governments not telling me what to do,” he maintained.

“The governments not telling you what to do,” I insisted. “They’re urging you to get the shot so you stay healthy and don’t spread the Covid around.”

“It’s not that big a deal,” he said. “I’m 57. I’m healthy. It’s just the flu.”

I told him it wasn’t just the flu, that it had killed ten times more people than the normal flu, and sometimes the aftereffects lasted for months or didn’t go away.

He shrugged. “I could get killed driving down the highway, too, so what’s the difference?”

I’d heard this argument before. It made no sense. “The difference is, you get the shot, and eliminate one more way of biting the dust. Why take a chance if you don’t have to?”

“I’m not gonna get it,” he insisted. “I never wear a mask out here on the beach and I’ve never got it. I wear my mask when I go inside places, because I have to. I’m not gonna get the shot, and I’m not givin’ up my freedom and have the government tell me what to do.”

“How are you giving up your freedom?” I asked.

“They’re making me do something I refuse to do. I have a right not to take a shot if I don’t want it or trust it.”

“It’s been proven by the CDC that it’s trustworthy.”

“I don’t trust the CDC either. They’re just like the government.”

Well, now I patiently explained how the government backed the Salk vaccine for polio, and saved lives. I added that government-sponsored vaccines for cholera and the bubonic plague were issued while I was in the army during the Vietnam War, as well as small pox and others.

“I’m not getting the goddam shot!” he exclaimed, looking wroth, backing away from my car window.

A woman around his age one car over yelled out, “Right! We don’t have to get the goddam shot! I’m not!

Screw the goddam shot!”

I didn’t want a person I’d never had a misunderstanding with get cross with me, so I said, “I got the shot because I’m old and vulnerable and had cancer. But also because if I do get the Covid, I won’t spread it and kill one of my old fogey friends. And that’s why, as a young person, I’d get it, too.”

Well, he was more than perturbed now and went back to his van and sprawled out in the back and picked up a tall boy of Bud and took a huge restorative quaff and turned up the country western loud enough to drown me out no matter how loud I yelled at him and started singing along with the song, a sad, cloying tale of heartbreak and sorrow.

I rolled my window up and thought to myself, “Even if the Covid someday passes into history, I’m still wearing a mask when I go inside businesses and I might continue to do this for the rest of my life.”

Maybe the day will come when I’m the only person in a market or drugstore or bank or doctor’s office or movie theater or any kind of inside venue with a mask. When they ask me why I’m still wearing a mask, I’ll tell them the odds are slimmer than ever that I’ll catch any kind of flu or cold or the myriad diseases multiplying in our world because we have too many people and we’re out of control and civilization is becoming more and more deranged and unhealthy despite all the drugs and cures we’ve created since the beginning of time.

I gazed over at my anti-vaxxer friend still moving to the music and guzzling his beer, totally comfortable in what he was doing, happy, I suppose, and a very good guy who means no harm to anyone, but at the moment, peeved at my intrusion into his freedom.

Truth is, I wanted to tell him that people who refuse to get a shot—to save their own lives as well as others, because of their claim it infringes on their freedom–act as selfish, ignorant, corrosive and destructive forces in our already fractured society.

But what good would it do?

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Regularly get vaccines, and give blood donations, not a big deal.

That’s easy for you to say and you probably have never had a negative effect from a vaccine but some people have and there are many reports of children getting autism from vaccines. This may or may not be the case but you just can’t flippantly suggest people get vaccines, especially after the way the Democrats spoke about the vaccine initiative under Trump. Many people took that seriously, including even Trumpers. Giving blood is a great idea as long as you qualify, that is a serious issue now too. There are reports of blood clots and deaths after the Covid19 vaccine so if people are skeptical there is a good reason. Personally I got it and recommend it but I do understand and respect the concerns of others.