SPRINGFIELD, WASHINGTON — Paige Johnson is 5 years old, and doctors believe she has just a few precious weeks, perhaps months, left to live. Johnson and her parents are anti-vaxxers, and as such Paige and her siblings are not vaccinated against a number of preventable, deadly diseases. A measles outbreak at Paige’s school was the beginning of the end for Paige.
But even at just five years of age, Paige says she knows she has to “leave a legacy behind” so that “other anti-vaxxer families know the truth” about not vaccinating themselves or their loved ones. That’s why Paige reached out to several publishers, and she managed to land a deal for her memoir.
Five Years is Actually a Long Time If You’re a Squirrel: An Anti-Vaxxer’s Tale.
“The truth is that some people might be sad for me, but I want them to understand that I cherish every single moment of these last five years,” Paige writes in the first chapter, “I lived life as if every moment could be my last, because literally they could’ve been. I have no regrets! Other than, you know, not getting to grow up, choose a career, fall in love, have kids if I wanted to, explore the planet, make a contribution, or pretty much anything other than dying. But again: I have no regrets!”
Paige’s parents encouraged her to write her autobiography when she complained one day during a doctor’s office visit. Paige had said she was feeling “bored” and didn’t “have anything to do” while she and her family awaited confirmation that she was, in fact, dying. So the Johnsons told their daughter to occupy her mind by writing down her life story.
“Being five, that didn’t really take me long,” Paige told us. “Because, you see, I can’t remember much of anything before about 18 months or so ago. So once I wrote about kindergarten, I kinda ran out of things to talk about.”
Paige says she just “wanted to share her life’s journey” with an audience.
“Of course, my journey was more like a trip to the corner market to buy some milk,” Paige admits, “but it was a great journey!”
The book is only about 50 pages long, because of how short the author’s life will be.
“The good news there is that you should be able to read it really quickly, because I haven’t lived that long, and won’t live much longer,” Paige tells us.
So far, the early reviews of Paige’s work are quite breathtaking in their positivity.
“It’s not very often that you read something from a new author with so much clarity, depth, and frankly wit,” New York Times book and culture editor Susan Crimplestein said of Paige’s memoir. “And it’s just a real shame we’ll literally never get to read another book she’s written. Unless she hurries up and knocks a few out before she dies, of course.”
Paige says that despite the fact that her life will end at a very young age, and that she likely wouldn’t be dying if her parents had vaccinated her, she is still an anti-vaxxer herself.
“I mean, I’ve five. I barely know what these words mean, so what do I really know? Of course I’d like to live longer, maybe to eight or nine,” Paige says. “But, then again, what if I had come down with a really bad case of 24-hour autism or something? Isn’t that how these things work? Oh, it’s not? JFC, my parents are stupid then.”
Paige’s memoir will be available from Luddite Press sometime in the fall.
Writer/comedian James Schlarmann is the founder of The Political Garbage Chute and his work has been featured on The Huffington Post. You can follow James on Facebook and Instagram, but not Twitter because he has a potty mouth.