last week i signed up for the flu shot, to be administered by a registered nurse, compliments of my employer. i had signed up for the 11:15 slot, but apparently this nurse was one efficient shooter because around 10:30, sarah called me and said i should scoot on down.

i signed the release form and remembered to be nervous. the mere mention of shots would give me panic attacks for days before doctor’s visits, as a child. as an adult, i’ve avoided them altogether except for those at the dentist’s office which i don’t mind one bit, defying explanation.

today, the shot was nothing at all. the nurse asked me to pull up my sleeve so he could get at my left shoulder, but i had to pull my arm out of my sweater instead. he quickly swabbed a spot with alcohol and asked my name.

nice try, i thought, diverting my attention. my nerves are sharper than your wit.

“halsted,” i replied, waiting for the curious questions that usually follow. i felt something pinchy-cold on my arm, and waited for the huge metal spike of death to slide into my vein, boring into my bones, slashing through tiny, helpless blood vessels …

instead he chirped, “okay, you’re done!”

i waltzed smugly out of the corner office. “did you get your flu shot?” asked a coworker.

“why, yes i did. you should too!” i must provide an example to others, now that i’m no longer a total wuss.

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