Yes, the rumors are true. After years of family members and friends designating me “Most Likely to Get Sucked in by a Cult,” I, Jane Rose Griffin, finally admit to being an anti-vaxxer. Haha, just kidding LOL! But in all seriousness, for one magical night this summer, I was able to achieve my childhood dreams of becoming an undercover agent, and at an anti-vaxxer group no less. Spoiler alert: I lived, bitch.
For my internship this summer, I was selected to infiltrate a meeting about how to veto several important progressive bills in the state of Maine––a meeting that just happened to be run by anti-vaxxers. Although I wish I could say my supervisor chose me because I was the most perfect intern they’d ever seen, it seems more likely that I was chosen because I fit a certain (and definitely sUPER NOT TRUE) typecast: a white blonde woman with an unhealthy addiction to Pinterest and a bland fashion sense. I felt as if I had finally found my true calling.
The ride over to the Baptist Church where the meeting was held was nerve-wracking–– would they see through my makeshift disguise and fake name? Would they see the tan lines left by my turtlenecks, or my unshaved ankles, or even my pair of grimy white converse and realize that I was, in fact, a liberal? My only distraction came in the form of my funky fresh Uber driver, who asked in a disturbingly seductive voice if I wanted to “hang out” after the meeting. I found myself asking what sort of person was desperate enough to hang out with a self-proclaimed anti-vaxxer, and came to the conclusion that he was a moron. I also had to remind myself, in the words of Troy Bolton, to keep my head in the game. I was on a top-secret mission and I didn’t have time for romance.
As I strutted into the auditorium, fully convinced that a sniper was going to take me out at any moment, I was immediately overwhelmed by the stench of essential oils and polio. As expected, the majority of the attendees were middle-aged white women (shocker!). I saw one girl near my age, who I locked eyes with briefly. I had to turn away because the suffering evident in her gaze was too overwhelming.
The meeting was run by three people who can only be best described as evil villains in a DCOM (Disney Channel Original Movie, for those of you who are uncultured). One was a former U.S. Senator who reminded me of the human embodiment of the Bob the Tomato from Veggie Tales, due to his roundness, a red face likely due to high blood pressure, and piercing, unblinking eyes. The second man was barely over 25, and looked as if Geronimo Stilton and Waluigi had a son and that son was a denier of science. The third man, as I have in my official notes, was a “v bland” state representative who wore a tan suit, and by the looks of it, had just barely survived the bubonic plague.
I learned many fun facts at this meeting, such as the places they found the most useful to get signatures, some of which included the Whoopie Pie Fair, Naturopath Offices, and (I quote) the Town Dump. I also learned that they were furious that people associated being anti-vaccine with being anti-science, which… you do you, sweaty.
After losing about 90 gallons of sweat and forcing myself to laugh uncomfortably at all of their jokes mocking ‘non-believers,’ I Ubered back home, stopping for gelato along the way as a reward for not losing my shit every two milliseconds. As I left the church parking lot, I laughed nervously and told my Uber driver to step on it. He did not. I slumped down in the pleather seats of his Honda Accord, thanked my parents for not wanting me to get measles, and prayed for the golden era of anti-vaxx memes to never cease to exist.
Until next time,