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Taking temperatures is becoming more and more commonplace today. Here at The Sentinel-Record, we screen employee temperatures before they enter the building. Several area businesses have adopted this practice in recent weeks.

The devices used to gauge people's temperatures today vary from the old school thermometers that go under the tongue and use mercury inside them to the high tech digital devices. These devices can be ones that go under the tongue and beep when the time is up and display the temperature on a digital readout or the radar gun looking things that you point at someone's forehead to determine if a fever is present. Some of these devices are more accurate than others and it is sometimes a chore to get a proper readout from them.

When I was a kid, my mom could gauge my temperature by lightly touching my forehead with the back of her hand. Within two seconds, she could give the diagnosis of fever or fine. I can still remember the feeling of her touch and the comfort it brought to me when I was sick. It was medicinal in an emotional way. You could sense the love in her touch.

Now I can also recall the anxiety her touch would cause when I was attempting to fake sickness to get out of going to school. I would moan, groan, and say I did not feel good. I would make my voice as raspy as possible and talk as if I had a stuffy nose. I put on a performance worthy of Sir Laurence Olivier. I presented the most pitiful and heartbreaking display of child inflicted with a school skipping illness. My hope was to get out of school for the day and bask in the glow of watching "The Price Is Right," "Phil Donahue" and "All My Children" from the comfort of my living room couch.

However, it never worked. If my mom's backhand thermometer said you did not have a fever then you were going to school. I never was able to beguile the backhand. After her touch determined I was fever free I was told to get up, get dressed and get to school. No matter how much I protested I was going to school.

I remember one time I thought I would be able to argue my case with my mother and get some sympathy. I begged and pleaded with her to let me stay home because I really did feel awful. As I recall I believe I even threw in a coughing fit in the middle of my argument to add some realism. I could sense it was starting to work. She was beginning to consider letting me stay home. I was going to finally beat the backhand!

My mother then asked my father what he thought. My dad asked if I had a fever and my mom said I did not have a fever. My dad looked at me and told me to go to school. I then preceded to begin to state my case once again as I had done with my mother.

It was at this point that my dad introduced his backhand into the saga. He proceeded to crack me across the cheek with the back of his hand and sternly yell, "Get to school." I turned around, got dressed in record time and was quickly on my way to school.

I learned a valuable lesson about temperature that day. Attempting to fake a temperature caused my dad's real temperature to rise and in turn caused the temperature of my face to escalate for a little while.

My parents both had extremely accurate backhands. One could tell your temperature and one could light a fire in you to get to school. Both helped make me a better person.

Editorial on 05/17/2020

Print Headline: Backhand clarity

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