The point is, I’m a guy, and my mother babied me. She’d place a television beside my bed so I could watch Fantasy Island, Andy Griffith, Family Feud, and commercials of Mean Joe Greene.

I am a man. And despite my many masculine traits, this means I am not a good sick person. I have learned this about myself.

At the first sign of a sniffle, I become bedridden and my voice gets high-pitched.

Right now, for instance, I’m in bed. A vaporizer sits on my nightstand. I’m browsing the internet for a unique, but traditional headstone made of Peruvian granite.

“Here lies Sean,” it will read. “He told his wife he was sick, and she laughed.”

My wife, Jamie, is a card-carrying woman.

Right now, she has the same fatal illness I have. And even though she’s hacking up multi-colored phlegm, running a mild fever, she is unstoppable.

Today, for example, I barely scraped together enough stamina to take a shower. She mopped, dusted, and tarred the shed roof.

I also feel obliged to tell you that it’s not my fault that I’m a wimp. I am like most men. My intolerance for stuffy noses originates with my mother.

As a boy, my mother took illness seriously. She wouldn’t let her little “Poopie Bear” out of bed if his nose was even remotely red.

Thus, at the first sign of symptoms, I did what most boys in my position would do. I rolled onto my side and hollered, “Mama!” using the same voice I’d use if I were being eaten alive by mountain lions.

Mama would come running up the stairs—two steps at a time. She’d find me in bed, looking like I’d been shot with a giraffe tranquilizer.

She’d touch my forehead. I would moan. Maybe work up a few tears. You know, put some heart into it.

“I feel sick,” I’d say.

She’d take my pulse and declare, “You’re staying home.”

And I knew I was on Easy Street. The bed became my home. Spider-Man underpants became my wardrobe.

There were a few drawbacks, of course. The biggest downside was when Mama would appear in my doorway unannounced with a thermometer the size of a turkey baster and say, “Touch your toes, sailor.”

Anyway, I don’t want to talk about traumatic incidents involving turkey basters.

The point is, I’m a guy, and my mother babied me. She’d place a television beside my bed so I could watch Fantasy Island, Andy Griffith, Family Feud, and commercials of Mean Joe Greene.

My mama knew that babying was a crucial part of the Guy Healing Process. She knew the antibiotic properties of double-decker grilled cheeses, Campbell’s soup, chocolate milk, Oreos, and collector edition comic books still in plastic.

Men need these things to boost immunity. I don’t make the rules.

My wife doesn’t understand this. She refuses to do things like: sing to me, bathe me, massage my arches, or deliver a bowl filled with only brown M&M’s. And the closest thing to a comic book she’s ever brought me were last month’s Visa statements.

I guess what I’m saying is that I’m jealous of my wife’s purely female immune system.

Because in the time it took me to write this, she’s already reorganized the guest closet, written twenty thank-yous, bathed the cat, and installed a new septic tank.

It’s no fun being sick around her. This morning, I hollered her name for ten minutes straight. But she was too busy outside, rotating the tires on my truck, to hear me.

So, I screamed louder.

She appeared in the doorway, wearing a solemn look. I expected to see a sandwich in her hands, maybe a comic book. But she was holding something else.

She must’ve gotten that thermometer from my mother.


  1. Susan Patterson - February 18, 2018 8:42 am


  2. Kathy - February 18, 2018 11:35 am

    Sean, you made me laugh at 6:30 in the morning! That’s never happened before!! ?? Thanks for starting my day with laughter. ❤️

  3. CKD - February 18, 2018 11:52 am

    I laughed out loud! Maybe if you laugh, you will feel better. Worth a try!

  4. Cynthia - February 18, 2018 12:02 pm

    6:00 in the morning and laughing my head off! This is why I start my day with you.

  5. candyalso - February 18, 2018 12:16 pm

    I am sorry you are sick, Sean, but that was the best medicine I’ve had in a while! LMAO!

  6. janiesjottings - February 18, 2018 12:19 pm

    Laugh out loud funny!!! Hope y’all feel better real soon.

  7. Kelly - February 18, 2018 12:31 pm

    Giggling on a Sunday morning!! Love that you understand just how strong women are. Feel better soon (and Jamie too).

  8. Trina V. - February 18, 2018 12:37 pm

    Thanks for the laugh on this early Sunday morning. As I read, I kept thinking, “Yep…sounds about right!” Hope you and Jamie are feeling better soon!

  9. Marisa Franca @ All Our Way - February 18, 2018 12:37 pm

    Sean, there’s a special name for what you have — it’s called Man-flu. Yes, I know it can be very serious because it makes strong men turn to babies. There is no preventive shot for it. Your wife is a wise woman. Hope you’re over it soon.

  10. CaroG87 - February 18, 2018 1:06 pm


  11. Nix LaVerdi - February 18, 2018 1:51 pm

    Heart-felt, real, hilarious. Epic.

  12. Marilyn - February 18, 2018 2:20 pm

    Oh my, your essay took me back a few years. I was newly married to a man with two children, I had the flu. I felt like “death eating a cracker.” However, my OCD kicked in and everything went as usual. Cooking, cleaning, errands, work, you get the picture. My husband caught it. His “death bed” of choice was his cushy leather recliner, I waited on him hand and foot! Standing above him with the fiftieth glass of juice he said, “you couldn’t have felt this bad, you kept going.” I bolted to the bedroom in tears and called my mama, furious and sobbing. As mama’s do she calmed me and in her sweet voice said, “Sugah, women have colds….men have the flu, always remember that.

  13. Tony Roberts - February 18, 2018 2:20 pm

    Very funny!

  14. Deena ? - February 18, 2018 2:26 pm

    ????????. This is sooooo true!! You go Jamie!!!!

  15. Jack Darnell - February 18, 2018 2:51 pm

    I love it when life is good LOL. Get better soon or she will kill you! Experience speaking!

  16. Charlie - February 18, 2018 2:52 pm

    I feel your pain Sean! I have come to the conclusion that us men are just big baby’s when it comes to have colds or flu. When I feel just a little scratchy throat I tend to go into panic mode as I know that I am just getting ready to a big PITA to my better half. Good luck!

  17. Jack Darnell - February 18, 2018 2:52 pm

    PS Besides, ” ‘EM girls is tough!” 😉

  18. John Grider - February 18, 2018 2:58 pm

    You forgot to mention the restorative powers of chocolate chip cookies still warm from the oven. My mother knew.

  19. Jan - February 18, 2018 4:18 pm

    As a wife, mother of 3 sons, and grandmother of 4 grandsons, I can testify that this is all too true!

  20. muthahun - February 18, 2018 4:28 pm

    I’m glad to see that your sense of humor is not afflicted. Turkey baster, huh? Gonna have to remember that…

  21. Pamela= McEachern - February 18, 2018 4:58 pm

    Truer words have never been spoken, I know of this medical mystery. Feel better soon and I think Jamie deserves a special day for her real soon!
    Peace and Love from Birmingham

  22. Jack Quanstrum - February 18, 2018 4:59 pm

    Ha! Ha! Ha!

  23. Donna Velasquez - February 18, 2018 5:45 pm

    Oh lord I laughed! It’s the mom’s fault – we do this to y’all. Going to forward this to my new daughter-in-law. She’s gonna need it for reference.

  24. Laura - February 18, 2018 8:06 pm

    Bless your heart- it is so tough being a man with illness. The story goes that a woman having an extremely long and hard labor without drugs may come close to feeling what a man with a cold experiences…:-) Seriously, as a nurse of almost 48 years, it is absolutely true that men and women handle illness very differently. Most men are really just like you described and women just like Jamie. Once in a while, I had a male patient who tried to be stoic in the middle of a major heart attack, but that was the rare exception. I feel as much for Jamie as for you- being the nurse when you are also sick…not for the weak for sure.

  25. ALICE RYAN - February 18, 2018 8:09 pm

    Thanks for the laugh. I needed it.

  26. Sandi in FL - February 18, 2018 8:44 pm

    Well, bless your heart, Sean. They say that laughter is the best medicine, so take two ha-ha’s and call me in the morning. LOL

  27. Karen Irby - February 18, 2018 9:14 pm

    Sean, it was so wonderful to meet you in Grove Hill, AL, recently! And to put your face to the person whose column I read first thing every morning. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and experiences with us all, and I pray you and sweet Jamie will be well soon!

  28. The Psycho Mother - February 18, 2018 9:54 pm

    OMG. I love this.

  29. Jody - February 18, 2018 10:17 pm

    Thanks for the laughs. Hope you and Jamie recover soon.

  30. Perri Williamson - February 18, 2018 10:39 pm

    Forever-in-a-dress has your number! Feel better.

  31. Debra - February 19, 2018 1:11 am

    This one made me laugh today as I had flashbacks of both my son and his father. Too funny… Loved it!

  32. orbraaten - February 19, 2018 2:14 am

    This is definitely prizeworthy material. Great job!

  33. Mary - February 19, 2018 4:52 pm

    Oh this made me laugh!! Several years back my (now ex) husband had to have sinus surgery. He was in the bed for a week after said surgery. About 2 months later I had to have the same surgery from the same doctor who informed me that my sinuses were in much worse shape than his. I came home from the hospital that day and went to sleep and got up the next day and was back to being wife/mother. A few years after that we had a terrible motorcycle accident and we were both hurt pretty badly. He had a broken collar bone and 7 broken ribs. I had a broken jaw and my hands, shoulders, knees and ankles were covered in road rash. My hands were bandaged up and I looked like the Penguin in Batman. He wanted a bath a couple of days after we got home from the hospital and we had a neighbor rig up a hose in the tub and his mom brought us a shower chair. Of course I had to bathe him and during said bathing I was informed that I was not washing his “nether region” very well. I volunteered to let his mother come do it at which point I was told I was doing a fine job. You sir, were right on with this story. Hope you feel better soon, ya big baby!

  34. kathi hill - February 19, 2018 5:54 pm

    thank you. You made me laugh out loud, and I needed it. I don’t feel so good myself!

  35. Diane - February 20, 2018 12:17 am

    This is such a true story. Even if my husband is not sick, he would rather complain then eat when he’s hungry. Men……

  36. Lee Taylor - February 20, 2018 5:50 pm

    Sooooooooo TRUE?

  37. Edna B. - March 16, 2018 8:44 am

    Thanks for the morning giggles. This is so true. Us moms don’t mind taking the blame for this. hahahaha.


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