It's all in the timing. And I might have blown it.
I'm not sorry, mind you, that I was part of the gold-rush crowd that moved to get vaccinated the minute — and I do literally mean "the minute" — my age group became eligible. The inner calm of the past six weeks has indeed been soothing.
But now the vaccines come with incentives, in case the incentive of being armored from a virus that could be deadly to you or someone else who gets it from you isn't enough. Which, for a dismayingly large group of people, it apparently isn't.
So now they're being wooed. And who doesn't like to be wooed?
This wooing is taking place everywhere, across the country and around the world, and as you might expect given the astonishing diversity of humanity on this planet, the incentives are astonishingly diverse.
In parts of India, women are getting free gold nose pins upon vaccination while men are getting hand blenders, according to various news reports. In Beijing, some residents are being offered two boxes of eggs. A loaf of challah or a traditional Shabbat stew called cholent are among the lures awaiting some Israelis. And in Indonesia, vaccine refusers will face fines or reduced safety-net payments, an incentive that takes instead of gives.
U.S. freebies run the gamut from Krispy Kreme doughnuts to popcorn, mixed drinks to marijuana, gift cards to gift certificates, theme park tickets to raffles for Super Bowl tickets and cars, a $100 savings bond in West Virginia, surfboard rentals in California, a chance to win an ATV in Alaska, and in Ohio an opportunity to win a $1 million lottery prize and a full four-year college scholarship.
In New York, we're awash in incentives. A shot and a beer. Fries from Shake Shack. Yankees and Mets tickets. 7-day MetroCards. Tickets to the Bronx Zoo and the Brooklyn Botanical Garden. And the big kahuna — scratch-off tickets with a supposed 1-in-9 chance of winning and a grand prize of $5 million.
And I wonder, could they make it work like those stores that put something on sale that you bought the day before, but if you return with your receipt they give you the deal? Now there's a use for the Excelsior Pass.
And then I wonder further, if I had waited on the shot and let myself be wooed and played my cards right, like a free agent in baseball, what could I have gotten?
Perhaps something geared to life here on Long Island.
Like a year of Friday night diner meals. Or a table for two on a Saturday at 7 p.m. on the outside patio of a favorite restaurant.
Perhaps a fast pass for the town building department. Or a check for a year's worth of property taxes. Or 12 monthly passes on the LIRR. Or an avocado plant that thrives in our weather. Or a Roomba that cuts grass. Or a pass to whatever exclusive Hamptons beach I desire. Or the Lamborghini my 12-year-old self craved.
Or one special day when every road I need to travel on has a lane dedicated just for me.
Or tickets for me and all my friends and family to Bruce Springsteen AND Billy Joel, a double bill, at Jones Beach.
It's not too much to ask, is it?
But then I remember those moments in the last six weeks, when I was able to hug my kids, see my mom, hang out with the whole family, and laugh and talk and eat and play like in the days before we needed a vaccine. And I remember: That incentive was way more than enough.
Michael Dobie is a member of Newsday's editorial board.