Here are the people who have tested me for Covid, ranked from worst to best.
No. 77: Some guy. Eyes: brown. Upper cheeks: fleshy. Ears: uniform. Only said “Next.” Didn’t ask “How’s your day been?” Decent hair, though.
No. 76: A woman. Normal hair, normal upper cheeks, normal eyes, normal ears. Swab work inconsistent. Swirled the left nostril one more time than the right. Did she lose count? Also confirmed my birthday in a monotone I didn’t like.
No. 75: Forget the gender. Forget the upper cheeks, eyes, ears, and hair. Remember an offhand remark about how dry the inside of my nose was. I said, “That’s none of your fucking business.” Well, I thought it.
No. 74: Self-tested. I hate myself.
No. 73: Male. Made a show of the way he affixed the adhesive label with my name around the vial containing the pinkish Covid liquid. It just felt very performative.
No. 72: I’ll spare you the details, but I left bleeding from my eyes, ears, nose, and mouth. Not ranked the worst because bleeding is something I enjoy.
No. 71: They say the eyes are the windows into the soul. Not with this person.
No. 70: Some guy who was very excited about his upcoming trip to Belize. He kept talking about Belize and what he was going to do there. I felt at a disadvantage because I’ve never been to Belize, nor had I ever thought about going to Belize, so I couldn’t add anything except to ask whether they have any good museums in Belize. I felt like an idiot. When I left, I overheard him talking to the next patient about the trip to Belize.
Nos. 69-64: Not great, not terrible.
No. 63: “So, how was your trip to Belize?” I asked. And, when he looked at me with that blank expression in his eyes (blue-green; upper cheeks: pudgy; hair: brown), I realized he didn’t remember me. I was just a number.
I said, “In case you ever tested me for Covid again, I was prepared to ask you about the Actun Tunichil Muknal.” He said, “What?” And I said, “It’s a cave in the Tapir Mountain Nature Reserve. In Belize.” And he said, “Oh. We stayed at the beach.”
No. 62: Woman. Eyes: fine. Upper cheeks: fine. Hair: fine. Ears: average.
No. 61: Another woman. Eyes: hollowed-out holes. Upper cheeks: charred. Hair: singed: Ears: gone.
Nos. 60-9: These are foggy, because during this time my father and I were in conflict. I don’t want to get into it much, for legal and personal reasons, but, long story short: My father is ignoring me. Are you familiar with the film “Jaws”? My father directed it. He is pretending not to know who I am and has sent word through his legal representatives that I am not his son. This is hurtful, as you can imagine. So, apologies for the vagueness here.
No. 8: Glasses! My first one with glasses! And not just protective goggles! Glasses underneath the goggles. I never thought I’d see the day.
No. 7: British accent.
No. 6: Albert Einstein hair. Like, exactly.
No. 5: Here’s what happened: I entered the testing area looking pretty bad—coughing, not breathing well, weak. I said, “Look, I’m pretty sure I have Covid.” (Full disclosure: I have not been vaccinated, because I believe every single reason that one should not get vaccinated. You may ask, “Why would someone who doesn’t believe in vaccination get tested so much?” And, well, hey, I’m bored and it’s a lonely life.) Where was I? I said, “I’m pretty sure I have Covid,” and then added, “But, if you could find it in your heart to make sure I test negative, maybe switch the vials with the person in front of me, that would be great. See, I have to take my monthly maskless flight to Toronto so I can look at the city from the CN Tower, and I don’t care who I infect.” And he did it.
No. 4: I said to the woman doing my test, “I’m sorry, I know this is weird, but do I know you? Your eyes, upper cheeks, hair, and ears look awfully familiar.” She looked around to see if anyone was watching, and I whispered, “The coast is clear,” which is something I’ve always wanted to whisper. Then she lowered her mask to reveal her mouth. It was . . . Jennifer Aniston.
I said, “I thought I recognized you!” She blushed and gave—I’ll just say it—a very Rachel-like shrug. I asked, “What are you doing here giving Covid tests?” And she said, “Hey, it’s a lonely life.” And I said, “I’m not vaccinated,” and she said, “Neither am I.” And then she confirmed my birth date, tested me for Covid, and we dated for a year.
No. 3: Matt LeBlanc. Not from “Friends.” A different Matt LeBlanc.
No. 2: “I did remember you the second time I tested you,” he said. “I was trying to play it cool.” It was the man who went to Belize. “See, I thought I laid it on too thick about Belize. So, when I saw you again, I decided to pull back. Anyway, of course I went to the Actun Tunichil Muknal. The cave contains several sets of human sacrificial remains, one of which—known as the Crystal Maiden—has been entirely covered in calcite crystals.”
“Yeah, I know all that,” I said.
No. 1: Some woman who also watches “Better Call Saul.” ♦