Tom Pfeifer's Blog

 March 30, 2020

Until COVID-19 became a concern, I can’t remember the last time I took my temperature. Whenever I became sick, someone inevitably would ask, “Do you have a fever?” And, I would reply, “I don’t know.”

Then came the Mexican beer virus. I am in the

high-risk category. I’m older than 60, a man, have

type A blood, and am a smoker. In short, if the bug

gets me, I’m dead.

One day, I noticed a thermometer in the medicine

cabinet. Curious, I soaked it in alcohol and took

my temperature. I figured if I saw it spike, I would

seek immediate medical attention. If not, I would

go about my day knowing I had cheated death for

at least another 24 hours. That first day it was a

perfect 98.6. Actually a bit high for me, as I

remembered, but within the margins. The next

day I took again. Again, a perfect 98.6. The third

day, a perfect 98.6. By the fourth day, I became

suspicious. I ran it under hot water to recalibrate

it. It stayed at a perfect 108. That thermometer

went in the trash.

Unlike me, my late wife liked to track her temperature. So I knew there had to be at least one other thermometer in the house. I found one in the first drawer I checked, which means there are probably two or more in other drawers. My wife believed in redundancy. It’s the digital kind and had no instructions.

I soaked it in alcohol and placed the tip under my tongue. In no time at all it beeped. 95.7. A bit low, but OK. At least I wasn’t running a fever. The next day, I left it in a bit longer, until it had beeped twice. 96. OK. On the third day, I let it beep five times. 96.7. I don’t know how many days I let go by like that, but one day I got distracted and all of a sudden it started beeping rapidly. 97.7. That’s about what I remembered my normal temperature to be. The next day, 97.6. It’s topped out a couple of times at 98.0, but that’s certainly not enough for me to scurry to the doctor.

I’m still not positive I’m using the thermometer correctly, but I’m pretty confident I am. And, if I am, then my temperature this morning was good and I’ve cheated death for at least another 24 hours.

If you’re reading this, then you have too.

Be safe, my friends.


(Editor's note: No one should go hungry during these trying times. If you have the means, please donate to your local food bank. Even a dollar goes a long way. Simply search "food banks near me" to find one. If you're in need, please contact them for help.)


Tom Pfeifer is the managing partner and chief strategist for Consistent Voice Communications and author of Write It, Speak It: Writing a Speech They’ll APPLAUD! Reach him at

Sign up to have 52 Motivational Writers Quotes delivered free each Monday to your inbox.​​

Relearning to Use a Thermometer