ANGELINA COUNTY,TEXAS — I went to the doctor the other day about my height problem. I'm short for my weight. The doctor wants to give me a diet. I want him to give me growth hormones. I figure if I could grow a foot taller, I'd be about right at 7 feet, 2 inches.
I went home looking for sympathy. What I found was a wife sick with an awful headache and an upset stomach. That didn't make me feel any better.
I told her she ought to take a couple of Sudafeds and lie down. I was trying to make a joke to make her feel better. I guess I didn't try hard enough.
I phoned the doctor and he called in some medicine. About that time my high school daughter came home. She'd been to the dentist and had two wisdom teeth pulled. She had the teeth in an envelope. She said she was going to make earrings out of them. That didn't make me feel any better, either.
I got the medicine from the drug store, got a couple of the pills into my wife and got her to bed. It took awhile to convince her I wasn't trying to give her Sudafeds.
After that I went to sit on the porch. I thought it'd make me feel better. I should have known better.
The first time the phone rang it was a lady wanting to speak to my wife about the garden-club party they're having at our house this week. I told her my wife was sick as a dog and couldn't come to the phone. I told her I wasn't feeling so good myself. She said she was the co-hostess and needed to know some details about the party. I told her I wasn't authorized to speak on such matters. She hung up after that.
The second time the phone rang it was a lady wanting to speak to my wife about the bridal shower they are planning. Her daughter is the one who is getting married, not mine. My daughter is the one who wears teeth in her ears. I told the lady my wife was sick as a dog and couldn't come to the phone. I was about to tell I wasn't feeling so good myself but she hung up before I could.
The third time the phone rang it was a lady wanting to know the exact shade to dye my daughter's shoes so that they matched her prom dress. I said my wife was sick as a dog and couldn't come to the phone. She said it was important that she find out the color of the dress, that the shoes were supposed to be ready the next day. I said I didn't know. In fact, I didn't even know they dyed shoes to match prom dresses.
I told her that all I knew was this: if those shoes were off shade by the slightest fraction of the smallest percent because of something I told her, I'd be dead meat, and that I hadn't been feeling so good anyway. She hung up after that.
The next time the phone rang I let it ring.
My wife is OK today. I'm about the same. If I had it do over again, I think I would have told the lady to dye my daughter's prom shoes bone white. I think that would have made me feel better.
Joe Murray, editor-publisher emeritus of the Lufkin (Texas) Daily News, is senior writer for Cox Newspapers.)