Two Shots

Another conversation with another student gave me pause for thought.

A is a beautiful twelve-year-old girl. By beautiful, I mean she is gawky and awkward, but is going to emerge from the all-knees-and-elbows stage like a suction cup arrow >THWOCK< on the forehead of a stunned world. People are going to walk into things, they will be staring so hard at this gorgeous girl.

Anyway, she came in to class the other day.
“I had the flu shot,” she said.
“Oh, in school?”
She nodded.
“Ow. Go easy on your arm,” I said. “No volleyball.”

A little while later, she yawned, and apologized. “I’m really tired.”
“Of course you are,” I said. “That flu shot is goofing around with your immune system right now. That takes a lot of energy.”
“Not one shot. Two.”
“Two kinds of flu?” It’s possible, right? H1N1 and some other kind?
She shook her head. Patted one arm. “Flu.” Patted the other arm. “HPV.” And smiled.

To her mother: Thank you for thinking about your daughter’s reproductive health. To the School Board: Thank you for offering this, and understanding that an HPV vaccine isn’t going to turn girls into a pack of promiscuous Bacchae, giving blow jobs in the school parking lots to spotty-faced boys. To the scientists: Thank you for being on this, for working towards a cancer-free world.

Out loud to the girl herself: “I’m really glad you got that.”

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