The dry cleaner had taken my ticket and was looking for my good suit when the man behind me said, "You're Bill Gold, aren't you?"
When I pleaded nolo contendere to the charge, he said, "I'm David R. Isen. I'd like to ask you a question."
"What is it?" I inquired.
"You fellows on the newspapers frequently write about smokers who pollute the air with their cigarettes and cigars," Isen said. "What I'd like to know is how come you never point out that the person who refuses to stay at home when he has a cold pollutes the air a lot worse than any smoker?"
"You're right," I said. "We really ought to get that point across a lot more emphatically than we do - especially at this time of the year."
"All you need is one guy who is coughing and sneezing in an office and he infects a half dozen others," Isen went on. "Each of those six infect another half dozen. By the end of the week, there are enough people down with colds to transform Group Health into Group Sickness. If the first guy had just had the good sense to stay in bed when he caught a cold, the whole thing could have been avoided."
"You're right," I said. "I'll write my Tuesday column on the subject. Friday and Monday will have to be about Children's Hospital, but I'll write it for Tuesday."
So here it is time to write the Tuesday column, and I have the grand-daddy of all colds. I've been sneezing and wheezing all weekend, but staying in bed is out of the question. Too much work to do.
Theoretically, one should stay at home - but not one who is still $163,000 short of his goal for Children's Hospital.