Catching Cold

Damon Runyon


April 29.

DEAR SIR when I got home the other night my wife Ethel ses why Joe what makes you look so solemn? I ses Ethel I have got a bad cold and I feel terrible.

She ses well everybody has got a cold now. Its on account of this funny weather. I have got a little one myself.

I ses look Ethel my cold is not a little cold and it is not a cold like everybody has. I ses my cold is an awful cold. I ses I am in bad shape and I guess you better call Doc Crutcher.

She ses O pooh Joe you do not need Doc Crutcher for a little cold. I will fix you up in no time.

I ses Ethel I think I need medical attention. I ses I may be catching pneumonia and she ses O pooh thats foolish Joe but let me feel your head. Why you do not have any fever Joe.

I ses Ethel how can you tell if I have fever or not? I ses you have got to take somebodys temperature with a thermometer and she ses O pooh Joe I can tell by the way you feel without a thermometer. You are as cool as anything.

I ses Ethel in the first place I wish you would stop saying O pooh and in the second place I wish you would send for Doc Crutcher. I ses this is no time for amateurs. I ses it is a fine thing when a fellow is sick for him to come home and not get any sympathy.

She ses why Joe I have plenty of sympathy for you and I will put you in bed after you eat your dinner and then I will send for Doc Crutcher if you still want him.

I ses I dont know if I feel like eating and she ses O you must eat something Joe because my Moms ses starve a fever and feed a cold and I ses well all right and so I ate dinner and after dinner Ethel ses now by and by I will give you some aspirins and soak your feet in hot water and mustard and give you a hot lemonade and you will be all right in no time.

I ses look Ethel I guess you dont realize that I am a sick man. I ses you better send for Doc Crutcher before it gets serious and she ses well I will send for him but first you do what I tell you and while I was soaking my feet in hot water and mustard she ses Joe fellows are funny. I ses whats funny about them?

She ses why they always make such an awful fuss when they catch a little cold. They play football and almost break each others legs and they have prize fights and try to kill each other with their fists and they play ice hockey and hit each other over the heads with sticks and almost make concussions of the brains and they get drunk and fall down on sidewalks and get all skinned up and they think thats fun but if they catch a little cold you would think they are going to die the next minute.

I ses who gets drunk? She ses well some fellows do and I ses well I am certainly surprised at you Ethel to be talking so heartless when I am desperately sick. I ses how would you feel if I got pneumonia and died?

She ses O pooh Joe will you stop talking that way and I ses there you go O poohing again and she ses well take these aspirins now and drink this nice hot lemonade and get into bed and I will put a hot water bag at your feet and you will be fine.

I ses I still think you ought to send for Doc Crutcher and she ses all right but first maybe I better put a mustard plaster on your chest and give you some castor oil like my Moms does my Pops when he has a cold.

I ses look Ethel that is all old-fashioned stuff. I ses that was for old time people when they did not have doctors handy and that is why so many of them died and Ethel ses who the doctors? I ses no the people.

She ses well my Pops has not died yet and he has had a million colds and it never stopped him from working right along either. I dont think you need the mustard plaster on your chest Joe but I guess I will give you some castor oil. I ses Ethel you know castor oil makes me sick and she ses well its wonderful for colds and I ses you send for Doc Crutcher and he will give me some up to date medicines.

She ses well all right Joe but I think it is throwing money away, and I ses Ethel I am certainly surprised that you would be thinking of money when I am so sick and she ses sometimes I get sick thinking of it.

I ses I suppose that is a wise crack but I am too sick to figure it out and if you do not call Doc Crutcher I will do it myself.

So she telephoned for Doc Crutcher and by and by he came over and stuck a thermometer in my mouth and looked at my tongue and listened to my chest and he ses why Joe there is nothing the matter with you but a little cold and a big healthy fellow like you will throw it off in no time.

He ses hey Ethel you just give him some aspirins and a good dose of castor oil and she ses what about a mustard plaster on his chest Doc? He ses well he does not need it but it will do him no harm.

What is the matter with you Ethel? You look peaked to me. She ses O I have just got a little cold myself Doc and he ses if you ask me you are worse off than Joe is but everybody has got colds now. Well take care of yourself and three dollars please. When he left Ethel ses well Joe what did I tell you but I pretended I was asleep and did not answer her.

Yours truly