long shot

We’ve been eligible and on waiting lists for vaccination against COVID for 6 weeks. But St. Louis is way behind getting the supply they need from the state, while rural areas have plenty for the current phase. (The state does not appear to view this as a problem — but then, the rural areas and the state government are Republican, while the city and most its suburbs are where the Black people and Democrats are. The governor is or was an anti-masker, and wanted to ban some of the emergency restrictions that St. Louis City and County put in place last year. So, there’s that.)

So, one of St. Louis’ new favorite sports has been finding somewhere else to go get vaccinated. (It’s better than baseball…) Last weekend she found us a couple of appointments at a drive-thru vaccination event near Fort Leonard Wood on Tuesday, which is her usual day off, so I took a sick day and we made a 5-hour road trip of it. It was in a community center’s parking lot, and was a very organized, no-fuss operation with minimal contact. We got the Moderna vaccine, so we’ll need the booster in a month — hopefully by then we can get it closer to home.

Last night I finished The Lost Books of the Odyssey, which like many books has “A NOVEL” printed on the front cover, but it kind of isn’t — more a short story collection with a theme. The premise is, the Odyssey was originally a sort of framing device for a set of mini-adventures that storytellers would embellish, add their own parts to, and so on, and it was only in translation and scholarly study that it became more of a fixed tale. So the author, claiming these were translated from many different sources, adds his own chapters. Some of them are pretty mundane, just Odysseus in reflective melancholy for example. But the better ones are cleverly twisted meta-stories that change the entire nature of the Odyssey. Some are the supposed “real version” of events, which Odysseus didn’t want getting out or which were embellished beyond recognition. Some are strange and surprising secrets about certain characters, or the personal viewpoints of Polyphemus, Circe, Athena, Achilles, Medusa, etc.

It was a short book, but overall I felt like there were maybe five really good short stories here and a fair amount of filler. Or maybe some of it required much more familiarity with the source material to really “get”, but that would be inconsistent with some of the explanatory footnotes elsewhere.