Hmm Weekly for February 9, 2021

It's Tuesday - Go Wash Your Hands

Hmm Weekly for February 9, 2021


Ask The Sophist

Dear The Sophist,
My friend chose to “misread” our state’s vaccine requirements—on purpose, because supposedly “everyone else” was doing it at her K-8 school—and skipped the line ahead of people who are 70+ and healthcare workers/staff because it’s an honor system to sign up. Our group text told her she was wrong but she chose to ignore. I’m definitely eligible under a close neighboring state (and probably ours but not as explicitly) and had gotten the vaccine a week before her, but did not tell anyone because I’m morally ambivalent on my own vaccine. I do know I’m livid about her not qualifying anywhere near here but just saying eff it, but can I even say that she’s going to have to make peace with her Jesus when they do qualify K-12 teachers in our state?

—Inflamed Reaction

Dear Busy Antibody,
Congratulations on getting the shot! It's not entirely clear from your letter which lines were crossed here—for instance, it's hard to tell whether you're saying you got your own vaccine by jumping the border to a state where you don't actually live, or whether you got it by deciding to believe your own state had given you not-exactly-explicit permission.

The Sophist is not judging you! The broken official response to the pandemic has left everyone in a state of ethical and logistical confoundment. If Americans had been given a chance to work together, under an organized systemic response, we might all be going mask-free to rugby games right now, like the New Zealanders. Or doing whatever they're doing in Seoul, without all the publicity the Kiwis get. But we don't even like rugby, and we've killed hundreds of thousands of people unnecessarily. The message here is: you have to look out for yourself, and then you have to look out for what other people are doing, so you can blame them for the ways in which they are making things worse.

You feel bad about your COVID shot, and you don't want to talk about it. Your friend does want to talk about her COVID shot, and you think she should feel bad about it. So you're mad at her. In uncertain times, you take certainty where you can find it. These issues of priority and supply should have been hashed out by government officials and presented to the public with clarity and urgency, not hashed out in your group text, among hundreds of other equally frustrated and resentful group texts.

The Sophist personally is waiting for a shot. The Sophist wants healthcare workers immunized first, and people over 70, and grocery workers, and meatpackers—and also K-12 teachers, especially since the country is demanding they get back to work indoors with the country's children, so all the parents can get sent back to work too. You're in an impossible situation, and your friend's blithe grabbing of her own possibility is naturally infuriating.

Before you give her hell for it, though, you need to get two points clear in your mind: can you concisely express, in a text message, the difference between the OK thing you did and the bad thing she did? And are you sure the other members of the chat, with their own resentments or guilty consciences, will score it the same way you did? Shame, like the coronavirus, can be a severe outbreak in a confined space.

When in doubt, wash your hands,
The Sophist

THE SOPHIST is here to tell you why you're right. Send your questions  to, and get the answers you want.

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Chicken PAWS? Since when? Is this some sort of Genetic Modification thing?


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WE PRESENT recipes for sandwiches from Salads, Sandwiches and Chafing Dish Recipes, Copyright 1916, by David McKay, Publisher, and now in the public domain for the delectation of all, written by Marion Harris Neil, M.C.A., former Cookery Editor, The Ladies’ Home Journal, author of How to Cook in Casserole Dishes, Candies and Bonbons and How to Make Them, Canning, Preserving and Pickling, and The Something-Different Dish.

From the time of George III onwards, sandwiches have played no inconsiderable part in gastronomic history; year by year their ranks have been enlarged, fresh combinations have been discovered, until at the present day the number of sandwiches is legion.

Baking-powder biscuits
1/2 pint (1 cup) chopped cooked chicken
3 hard-cooked eggs
4 tablespoonfuls grated cheese
1/2 teaspoonful French mustard
Salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoonfuls tarragon vinegar
Salad oil

Cut the baking-powder biscuits in three layers and butter them. Pound the chicken with the eggs, add the cheese, seasonings, vinegar, and sufficient oil to moisten. Rub through a wire sieve and spread on the layers; put the slices together and serve on a folded napkin.

2 bananas
1/2 pint (1 cup) chopped English walnut meats
Mayonnaise dressing
Lettuce leaves
1/4 teaspoonful sugar

Mash the bananas, stir in the nuts and sugar. Spread mayonnaise and then the banana filling on thin slices of bread. Place lettuce leaves between the slices, and serve garnished with parsley.

Thinly cut cooked beef
Curry butter
Skinned and sliced tomatoes
Salt and pepper to taste
Parsley or watercress

To make the curry butter: Beat one-half cupful of sweet butter to a cream, add a tablespoonful of curry powder, one-half teaspoonful of lemon juice, and salt to taste.
Cut some slices of bread and spread with curry butter, cover with beef, add some slices of tomato, seasoned with salt and pepper, cover with another piece of bread spread with curry butter, and press together. Serve garnished with parsley or watercress.

If you decide to prepare and enjoy the above item, kindly send a picture to us at

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