Can you go home again?


HELLO, is this the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta?"

"Yes, it is."

"This is Al Steele of Timonium, Md., and I am calling because my son has just graduated from college and he's coming home. He hasn't cleaned his room for four years and his mother and I were wondering what shots we needed."

"I see. Can you describe the room to us?"

"It's medium sized. The bed is against the wall. He hasn't made it since we came up for Parents Day during his freshman year. There's a pile of dirty clothing by his bed."

"I think you and your wife ought to have cholera shots for starters."

"Thank you. Off in one corner is what he called his study area. The last time we saw it it was filled with old books, music tapes, yellowing term papers, beer cans and a banner which read 'We'll Beat Columbia If It Kills Us.' "

"Might I suggest that you both get a typhus shot?

"That's what I told my wife you would say."

"Is there anything else you can tell me about the room?"

"Well, he had a hot plate next to the sink, and he hadn't washed the dishes for four years. It appears he kept buying new ones as the old ones got dirty. So all the dirty dishes remained in the sink next to the burnt pots and frying pans."

"I know this may be a silly precaution, but I feel that you should both have yellow fever shots as well. Our CDC detectives have found a lot of yellow fever being spread by unwashed pots and pans, particularly when they are used more than twice."

"I can't believe we sent a boy away from home four years ago and all we get out of it are shots in our arms."

"I know it doesn't seem right, but you people raised him to keep his room that way and you have nobody to blame but yourselves. After university, what does your son plan to do?"

"He wants to work in something that will improve the environment."

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