From the Meade County Messenger, Nov. 3, 2004
By Jacob Bennett
Man, I love my days off. I didn't get out of bed all day, except to let the dog out. The whole day was a blur of football and video games and girlie magazines.
My throat was a little sore when my dog woke me up. I told Mom about it when I called her. She put my sore throat in perspective: "You need to see a doctor. It could be West Nile."
I'd been looking for a reason to call in tomorrow anyway. Looks like I have one.
The germs swimming in my veins gave my white blood cells The People's Elbow. My head hurts, my throat throbs like a hammer-hit thumb, and my sinuses are draining like a bathtub.
I tried to send my dog for help like Lassie, but she just sat on the floor, licking her foot. I hadn't planned on moving, but I stumbled to my car for a trip to the store--I was out of Kleenexes and Tussin. In my condition, that's like Lee Majors being out of bionic parts.
I wanted to save some sick days for when I felt like playing hooky, so I clocked in this morning. Lumbergh told me I should see a doctor if I still wasn't feeling well. I thought the guy was genuinely concerned, but he took a pin to my balloon. "I don't need you making the rest of us sick," he said.
The alcohol in the Tussin was getting to me. I changed the words to a Weird Al song about a hamster to make it a song about my dog.
"Sophie, Sophie, Sophie the mini schnauzer. She doesn't bite, and she doesn't squeal, she just runs around on her schnauzer wheel. Sophie, Sophie, Sophie the mini schnauzer! Hey, Sophie!"
If my white blood cells were a military, they'd definitely be France. I spent most of the morning sprawled on the couch, drooling into the cushions.
I finally paid the doctor an office call. It was a sinus infection, not West Nile. But she told me not to work the rest of the week, at the risk of death.
I don't know how vultures got into my apartment, but they've been circling my mattress all day.
I sang more songs about my dog. "There goes my dog Sophie, there's another diamond ring. And all those late-night promises, I guess they don't mean a thing."
The dog ate my porn. I was too sick to stop her.
I saw a white light, all my dead relatives were there, and John Ritter.
"Come to us, my son," Ritter said.
I shrugged my shoulders. "What the heck, "I thought, and headed to the light.
But then my phone rang.
It was Lumbergh, telling me I had to come in right away for a hot story. The doctor's words echoed in my head.
"But I have West Nile," I said. "If I work, I'll die."
"We'll give you some comp time."
With a quick wave from John Ritter, the light went out.
Columnist Jacob Bennett never knew how much he loves you, never knew how much he cares. When you put your arms around him, he gets a fever thats so hard to bear. You give him fever--fever when you kiss him, fever when you e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Fever in the morning, fever all through the night.