Business Musings: Expletives Deleted

Business Musings: Expletives Deleted

In late April, Dean and I started planning for a reopened society. We plotted our lives, the things that needed to be done for our individual businesses, and then for WMG Publishing.

Finally, we got to the workshop planning.

I wanted to start in-person workshops in the fall. I looked at the vaccination rates here in the U.S., and figured we could do some small workshops before building to something bigger in the spring of 2022.

Dean put the brakes on that. He said that the fall was too early. I asked him why he thought so, and for once, he couldn’t give me a definitive logical reason. He just said it was.

Then, a few hours later, he added that many of our students come from overseas. He was watching the vaccination rates in other countries, and noticed that they were slower than the U.S.

People won’t be ready yet, he said.

We talked some more. I wasn’t sure he was right. Things were going swimmingly on the vaccine and virus front. If the pace continued, most of the people in the U.S. who were eligible would be vaccinated by August. A lot of venues here in Las Vegas were already requiring vaccines to attend a concert or a sporting event.

But we couldn’t figure out how to make vaccines mandatory for our people without a lot of rigamarole that a small company is not set up to do.

Ultimately, it was the mandatory vaccine thing and the fact that other countries were behind that convinced me not to have Fall in-person workshops.

But, heck, I figured, by January of 2022, we’ll be back on with in-person workshops, and everything will be golden.

I did not  count on the anti-vax people and the fact that a goodly portion of the adults in the U.S. would decide not to get vaccinated.

I have to tell you that I’m so pissed about this that I can hardly contain myself. You do not want to see the working title for this blog. You really don’t.

Yeah, yeah, yeah. A bunch of you have “good” reasons for not getting vaccinated. Your “good” reasons generally come from vaccine misinformation spewed by your chosen “news” source. I hope to hell someone shuts down that misinformation soon, because it is killing people.

Wait. Wait. Wait. Let me stop here. Some of you do have health issues that make a vaccine untenable and/or less effective. I get that. You don’t need to comment. As someone with a chronic illness, I feel your pain. As someone with a chronic illness, I signed up the hour that the vaccine was available to me, because I figured that if I got COVID, I would either get hospitalization-sick or I would die.

So I was relieved to get the vaccine, and I’m saddened that a tiny fraction of you won’t get the benefit that I will.

But the rest of you…get your heads out of your ass. Seriously. Honestly, I have moved past caring if the unvaccinated live or die. What I object to is this:

Children under 12 can’t be vaccinated yet. They have to go to school. The studies are showing that the lack of socialization from 2020 is causing real issues for a lot of kids, not counting the kids who only get food when they’re in school.

They have to risk their lives, and that risk is worse because of your stubborn unvaccinated ass.

You might not get sick, but guaranteed that, with that Delta variant, you will infect someone else, and that someone might die. That someone might be five years old.

Just read an article this morning about a woman who wouldn’t let her 13-year-old get vaccinated. Said 13-year-old is now in the hospital on a ventilator with COVID. Does that woman regret her decision? What do you think?

I know that my rant won’t convince you anti-vaxers and it probably won’t convince some of you very stubborn I can do what I want types. So why am I writing this on my business blog, no less?

I’m writing it because you people are having an impact on my business—and on millions of other businesses nationwide. (Let’s not discuss worldwide, because of the unevenness of the vaccines.) I personally know of several businesses that are unwilling to open while the virus circulates uncontrolled among the unvaccinated.

We had decided not to hold in-person workshops in the fall, but now, we’re trying to figure out when to start up the workshops in 2022. If there is a fall surge among the unvaccinated, as almost every Covid model predicts, we have to figure out how to handle our in-person workshops. We don’t want to cancel, and we might be forced to—because of stubborn, scientifically illiterate, selfish…

I am purposely not finishing that sentence.

The impact on our in-person workshops, which I enjoy greatly, isn’t the only thing in our business that the unvaccinated are having an impact on.

In late May, we had the final, final, final half-off sale on our workshops, figuring that yes, indeedy do, no one needed to stay home anymore, at least here in the U.S.

Heh, were we wrong.

We aren’t holding those sales for us. We’re holding them to ensure that people take care of themselves.

We actually discussed having a sale for the vaccinated only because we want to reward people for getting the vaccine.

We can’t figure out a good way to do that.

But with the positivity rate rising and hospitals in parts of the U.S. needlessly getting overrun with the unvaccinated, it looks like people will have to stay close to home again in the fall.



This isn’t hard, people. You get  fully vaccinated and you will receive damn near 100% protection against hospitalization and death.

(Some dumbass came on my Facebook page and warned that people are still getting breakthrough infections which the scientists said would happen. Because the vaccine isn’t designed to prevent infection (although it mostly does that). It’s designed to prevent serious cases of the disease, resulting in long-term harm and death. And the fact that I have to explain this to some of you pisses me off royally. The fact that you won’t believe me, and will instead believe the vaccinated hosts of Fox News and its ilk pisses me off more.)

I blog about Black Swan events and things that will hurt our collective businesses that come at us from the outside.

Well, for me, this idiocy about refusing to get vaccinated is a Black Swan event—something that I (at least) couldn’t have foreseen.

I have no idea why people refuse to do something easy and free that will save their lives and the lives of the people they claim to love.

It makes no sense to me at all.

If you’re one of those people, don’t try to explain your “position” to me. Your “position” is irrelevant and selfish.

Here’s the analogy I used on Facebook last week.

I linked to a heartbreaking article by a physician who is being forced to treat people dying of a disease that they could have easily prevented. And then I wrote this:

We need a license to drive. It’s a dangerous thing to do. Let’s just assume, for the sake of argument, everyone can drive. But you still have to follow the rules of the road.

The unvaccinated are driving the wrong way down a one-way street, with blinders on. Yeah, they might survive. But chances are they’ll take out their entire family riding with them in a minivan. Not everyone will die, but someone will get long Covid and suffer for years. And, and, and, a whole bunch of the unvaccinated are driving down a wrong way street with blinders on heading straight for a school bus filled with kids 11 and under.

Good God, people. Get your heads out of your ass. Read this, and then think: Do you want your family (and you) to die in a war that should have ended months ago?

Those of you who need to click the link to the article won’t, of course. Most of you stopped reading somewhere at the beginning of the rant. A handful of you reading this on Patreon have probably stopped early on in this rant and clicked off your support for the blog.

Closing your eyes and mind is not the way to deal with this.

The impact on me and Dean is pretty slight. We got the vaccine, after all. We have a successful business that we will have to adjust because of your behavior, but adjusting won’t kill us.

But it might hurt in other ways. We have employees who have children who can’t get vaccinated yet. The employees are vaccinated, but they’re still following protocols, praying their kids won’t get sick. I pray that their kids won’t get sick.

I pray that your stupid and selfish behavior won’t kill someone. I even pray that it won’t kill you, as angry as I am at you.

If you’re unvaccinated and still reading this, then do the right thing. Walk into your local pharmacy or your doctor’s office or, hell, your grocery store or any one of a hundred different places and get your free vaccine.

Step up for your community instead of being a burden on it.

I beg you.

“Business Musings: Expletives Deleted,” copyright © 2021 by Kristine Kathryn Rusch. Image at the top of the blog copyright © Can Stock Photo / NicoletaIonescu.

23 responses to “Business Musings: Expletives Deleted”

  1. Andrew Hickey says:

    Re: Vaccinated-only sales — I suspect the easiest way to do that would be to just have a checkbox saying something like “I confirm that I have had at least one dose of a covid-19 vaccine or am immunocompromised and unable to get vaccinated” or words to that effect.
    That wouldn’t absolutely prevent unvaccinated people from taking advantage of it, of course — but my experience of anti-vaxxers is that they are so loudly furious about their beliefs that they would refuse to tick the box…

  2. Charles Gramlich says:

    Yes, a lot of people have a lot to answer for with their lies about vaccinations. They ARE killing people. Unfortunately, not a single one of them will ever be held accountable. They’ll go on smugly feeding off the pain and suffering of others.

  3. Britni Patterson says:

    So with you on the angry part. Especially because I have two children too young to be vaccinated. My husband (a paramedic) was one of the first to get the shot, and as soon as I was eligible, I damn sure went and got jabbed. I do not understand how anyone can look at two small shots as a worse plan than dying alone in a diaper drowning in your own body. I had family members getting together and celebrating someone’s fiftieth wedding anniversary in mid-2020. In rural Texas. No masks in the pictures. Lots of kids too young to be vaccinated. I nearly lost my shit, screaming, “WTF ARE YOU PEOPLE THINKING!?” Even getting one shot improves your chances of survival if two shots is just one too many. I’ve guiltily skipped my flu shot every so often, (never again!) but my kids? They get that shot. They get all the shots. If the docs come in and say, “Hey, we have this extra vaccine that could be minorly helpful,” I’m on the “STAB MY KID” bus waving a sign. I sometimes wish we should have masked vigilantes running around with vaccine guns, inoculating people whether they like it or not, like that Bradbury story where a guy decides to enforce kindness and consideration by killing petty assholes.

    “Are you vaccinated?”
    “Nope! There’s tracking chips in the—”
    “You are now. I’ll see you in six weeks.”

  4. SeanR says:

    I have a flimsy piece of card stock with two stickers on it and the signatures of two nurses, one of whom no longer lives in the state, (her last day was spent vaccinating me and my co-workers), and that won’t fit in my wallet. How do I turn that into a credential? A credible and widely recognized credential?

    I, for one, am not surprised that vaccinations have slowed. The perception of “emergency” has waned in this area, and so people are going back to old habits.

    There are people talking about negative health effects experienced by some of the inoculated, but ignoring that the number of people who are negatively affected after getting the shot is less than the number of people who are negatively affected by refusing the shot. The shot is far less likely to kill or cripple you than the disease that it is designed to mitigate against. That, in balance, your chances of a long, healthy, life go UP if you get the shot, not down, but you have to take action to improve your odds of survival. Yes, it is a risk one must actively take, but the alternative is to passively remain at a greater risk.

    • I took a photo of mine on my phone. I also photocopied it and laminated the photocopy which is in my wallet. The original is with my important papers. So far, not a single soul or venue has asked to see it, which makes me mad.

  5. Mary says:

    I’m as POed as anyone with what I perceive as willfully unvaccinated knuckleheads, but venting my anger only seems to escalate their entrenchment in what I see as inanity. I just don’t understand these people. Here’s an article about Authoritarianism that is helping explain to me why. I haven’t finished it yet, but I’m already convinced that this helps explain why we seem to live on entirely different planets.

  6. Even back in 2020 I was saying “no conventions until 2022.” Like many of the other commenters, I was not optimistic about the progression of vaccination and the pandemic…plus once upon a time, I read a LOT of the epidemiology works out there, thinking I was going to write an apocalyptic plague novel. What I learned was enough to scare the pants off of me, make me realize I didn’t want to live in that headspace for the duration of a long-form story, and make me worry about the inevitability of a pandemic WHEN, not IF, it happened.

    A bunch of people thought I was being silly.

    Yeah. Now. Some of them are dead.

    I was sick in early 2020 and it’s inconclusive as to whether it was Covid or not–in any case, I was pretty damn sick, TWICE. When Covid started up I was like “welp, here we go.”

    Past pandemics without vaccinations available lasted a good two or more years. I’ve settled in because my suspicion is that fall of 2021 and winter of 2022 is going to be rough for a LOT of people. The reckoning is coming, and the sudden turnaround on vaccines by certain Republican leaders is quite telling. But it’s too damned late.

    Meanwhile, I’ve renewed my professional-level Zoom plan, and intend to be hosting a lot of gatherings. It’s also telling that Zoom is offering discounts to current subscribers.

    • Yeah, sadly. Early in the pandemic, Dean asked me how long I thought this was going to last, based on my knowledge of history. “You don’t want to know,” I said. He said, “Sure I do.” I said, “Five years.” He said, “That’s not possible.” So I cited chapter and verse, but said, “If we get a vaccine, then that will shorten it.” He believed we would get a vaccine. I didn’t, based on what happened with HIV. He was right about that. But I don’t want my 5-year prediction to be right, either.

      • The one good thing? This isn’t rabbit hemorrhagic virus (essentially, Rabbit Ebola) jumping to people, which was what set off my research. Calicivirus (RHV) can’t be killed with soap and water. It requires serious sterilization methods. It’s airborne. It also transmits through contact (fomites). Documented transmission through frozen meat and rabbit foot keychains. Up until a variant went into the wild last year in the Southwest and then the Northwest (not feral rabbits but wild rabbits–native US rabbits are a different species from domestic), the required response to a case of RHV in your rabbit herd in the US was that the entire herd had to be killed, all burnable equipment had to be burned, and no rabbits on the property for 5-7 years. 99% fatality rate.

        Covid doesn’t transmit via fomites, fortunately. It’s bad enough, but coronavirus isn’t calicivirus. And calicivirus scared the pants off of me. So you can imagine my thoughts about the early Covid days.

  7. Rachel Smith says:

    I never for one instant believed enough people would get vaccinated. Because my dad is an internist who’s been doing critical care since 2003 and I worked in his office for many years before that and fought the flu shot fight every year with trying to convince patients to take it. We always had too many because people wouldn’t get it. Then they’d end up dead, because his patient population was heavily skewed to people over 65 and he was who you saw when you had uncontrolled type 2 diabetes. Those people don’t tend to survive actual influenza.

    My dad is so far past exhausted he quit running on fumes six months ago. None of us have any idea how he puts one foot in front of the other when he’s working, let alone how he manages to intubate a COVID patient while wearing full protective gear with an oxygen tank on his back. He admitted last week he has no idea how he keeps doing it.

    Delta is surging in my whole state, which is #48 for percentage of population vaccinated. All those people who refuse to get it, including one person I’m related to and nearly every person on my street, are pissing me off because they’re needlessly risking my dad’s life. Not with COVID now since he’s vaccinated, but with exhaustion. The human body can only go so long before it gives up and collapses. His body has given up and collapsed once already, when I was about 12. It’s terrifying to watch.

    Physician burnout is the highest it’s ever been but they can’t stop. More people will die if they do and there’s not a doctor anywhere in this country legitimately treating COVID who will accept more deaths than absolutely necessary. My dad has cried over several of the ones he’s lost, and he’s not a man who cries at patient deaths. COVID deaths are unexpected and unnecessary, so it changes the emotional balance of every person involved in care. He’s signed COVID death certificates for patients the same age as his children and it takes him three times as long to do death certificates as it used to because he has so many more deaths to log.

    We also have growing shortages of nurses and respiratory therapists across the country because they’ve quit. They’re too exhausted. Not enough nurses means bed shortages. That means you can’t be admitted. Not enough respiratory therapists means hospitalized COVID patients don’t get the breathing recovery help they need before discharge. Every hospital in my state is now having trouble accommodating emergency procedures. I fully expect elective surgeries to be paused in many areas over the next couple of weeks.

    I want people vaccinated so my dad can rest. So he’s not pulling 16-18 hour days for two weeks at a time and then so tired when he’s off that he doesn’t have the energy to do any of the things he loves to do. I want people to stop being selfish insert expletive of choice here and think about how their choices are affecting people around them. How they’re killing children with their decisions based on lies. My state has its first child under 12 on a ventilator with COVID and nobody seems to care except the doctor watching this child die.

    Vaccines are how we get out of this. Go get vaccinated and stop being so selfish!

  8. So agree!!!! What also bugs me is that the same people refusing to get vaccinated are the ones protesting about any COVID related restrictions-like wearing masks, social distancing, limiting capacity at businesses. It’s simple. Get vaccinated and there will be no need for these restrictions.

  9. Barb says:

    Hello, Team Pfizer here. I just downloaded my Green Pass yesterday, but I don’t plan on using it any time next year, despite having a friend nominated for the Hugos – I won’t be crossing the Atlantic just yet. I hope to make it to Chicon 8 in September 2022 and definitely hope you’ll be able to hold the Anthology Workshop in 2023 – I miss you guys and the interactions of the in-person workshops!
    Meanwhile I have a couple of online workshops to keep me busy… until we meet again, hugs from Italy!

  10. Annemarie Nikolaus says:

    Workshops for vaccinated people only: Here in Europe we get a QR code. With such it swould be rather easy to control the subscriptions … As far as I understood it, till now Americans don’t get a vaccination passport, but perhaps there can be something similar? How do employers control that?

  11. Suzan Harden says:

    You’re not the only one feeling this way, Kris. Our first grandchild was born two weeks ago. ALL the grandparents made sure to get vaccinated months before the baby’s debut. I’ve already put down my foot that other family members could not meet the baby at a reception in our home without getting vaccinated because the baby is so vulnerable. You would have thought I asked them to run naked through the streets.

    How many people have to die before anyone takes this seriously?

  12. Terry Mixon says:

    I can only speak for myself and my wife. We got vaccinated as soon as we could because her immune system is compromised and we have to be very proactive.

    Now I’ve had a low grade fever for a few days and I’ll get tested tomorrow, just to be sure. If it is the vid, odds are very good I’ll have a mild (relatively speaking) case and just be miserable for a bit. That’s fat’s far better than a trip to the hospital.

    • Terry, please be aware that your wife may not be vaccinated. People with compromised immune systems were deliberately excluded from the studies. There is anecdotal evidence that the vaccines offer us very little, if any, protection. Every report that e.g. 95 percent of hospitalizations/deaths are people who were not vaccinated indicates that 5 percent of hospitalizations/deaths were fully vaccinated individuals. Most likely those hospitalizations/deaths are people with other health issues and/or compromised immune systems (although I have not seen this discussed). You should act as if she has not had a vaccine. Take care and stay safe.

      • If she (and others) are seeing medical professionals regularly, there are tests that can be done that can see whether or not the vaccine took. A friend just had that done. He’s immunocompromised, and his vaccine did not take. He is going to try again before having a surgery. There are studies now out of Israel (I believe) that show that people with compromised immune systems see to do well with a third shot.

  13. Cagher says:

    I’m working in a place that treats cancer and the idiotic nurse has her mask underneath her nose all day when patients aren’t there, filling the air with her exhales. Needless to say, I hate her and would testify against her in a wrongful death civil suit.

    People are assholes.

  14. There’s a phrase that comes to mind: “Words fail me. Stand by for gestures.” I am just so damn ANGRY at people who have no reason not to get the shot, and refuse to do so because of “5G/Bill Gates/Trump/muh freedom/Q/add your bullshit excuse here.” I know so many parents and teachers who are rightfully scared of what’s going to happen this fall, and none of this has to happen. Just get the damn shot, wear a mask, and give a **** about your fellow human beings. This is not rocket science.

  15. The biggest coward in the whole world is one who was vaccinated along with his coward wife before he left office this January – and won’t tell his followers over and over that he did and they should. Aside from relying on doctors to save his sorry … when he was hospitalized.

    I don’t see why this isn’t blazed in 50 foot letters on billboards across the nation. He is responsible, directly, for the huge death toll. And the huge number of long-covid new people with a post-viral syndrome.

    I can imagine what your title was.

  16. I’ve spent the last six weeks ripping out my 2022 plans and dusting off my knowledge of how to blaspheme in Russian, for exactly these reasons.

    Conferences have gone from “yes in 2022!” to “Uh… maybe?” Projects that I thought would be great to launch might get deferred. Wondering if I should try Kickstarting this six-book series in 2022, or quietly launch it and move on. All the rest.

    2020 had a certain grudging can-do attitude. A 2022 resurgence might curdle that attitude, which would hurt every one of us.

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