I don’t like needles. Consequently, I don’t enjoy having blood drawn, and I avoid getting shots whenever possible. That’s why I haven’t had a flu shot in years. As I figured, since I don’t have kids and aren’t around them much, I’d be safe enough without a vaccination. And up till now, my reasoning’s held up. The flu hasn’t hit me since I was a child. Nonetheless, thanks to today’s mentoring session, I’ve reevaluated my position.
The school receptionist warned me the moment I set foot in the building. There’s been an outbreak, and a bunch of kids are home sick. Ernie’s class is no exception either. But he’s still present and accounted for, so our mentoring session proceeded as scheduled.
Since the last thing I need is a case of the flu, I took every precaution. I borrowed a bottle of antibacterial gel from the librarian and liberally applied it every time I touched anything. I made Ernie use some too. And since we played “Trouble,” I also dowsed the plastic shell which each of us pressed to roll the die. Perhaps most importantly, I made sure to sit next to Ernie, not across from him; and I didn’t breathe in anytime he pointed his face in my direction.
Like always, Ernie took competitive liberties. I’m almost positive he can count to six, and I’m pretty sure his convenient miscounts which sent my game pieces back to the start zone were deliberate. As usual, the cheating eventually pushed my buttons.
When the budding felon moved five on a roll of four, and tagged my man one space shy of the safe area, I lost patience. I reflexively grabbed the hand reaching for my game piece and faced Ernie to better comment: “There’s been enough cheating for one day, don’t you think?”
That’s when he sneezed … in my face. As I froze in shock, spit droplets anointing my cheeks, Ernie wiped his nose with his free hand, pried my fist off with his soggy mitt, and casually advised: “You know, I don’t feel so good!”
I stopped at the pharmacy for a flu shot on my way home. It hardly hurt at all. Either the needles are smaller nowadays or I’m growing tougher. And with my needle fears allayed, I plan to get a flu shot every year from now on, even if this one proves too little too late.