Manteca, CA — A systems analyst from Manteca, California has let friends, relatives, and coworkers know he’s still concerned about that thing on his arm. Less than a week has passed since Wayne Feders noticed a small red blotch on the inside of his right forearm. He doesn’t remember banging it against anything, nor has any recollection of a spider or other small insect crawling up his arm. It could be anything, friends have remarked, leaving Wayne to scour the internet for medical advice.
“I’ve seen similar marks on Google Images,” Wayne said nervously, “and if it’s what I think it is, it ends badly. I mean, I’m hoping it’s nothing, but my mind tells me it’s either from a brown recluse spider, or a tick infected with lyme disease. I’m just waiting for symptoms to occur before I can get medical help.” When asked why he simply wouldn’t go to a doctor, he shot back, “Obamacare,” then mumbled something about copays and deductibles, and that he’d rather go to the ER and have someone else foot the bill like it used to be.
As luck would have it, his cousin Luke called out of the blue to ask him if he’d be going to their cousin Patricia’s wedding in Sacramento. Luke was a premed tech before dropping out of Las Positas Community College to pursue his passion for craft beer. “I like hoppy hops,” he shouted repeatedly during a family intervention some years later for his problem with alcohol. Clean and sober for nearly seven weeks, he was quick to give Wayne advice on the photo he’d just received via text of the blotch in question. “It could very well be a spider bite,” he surmised, “but I’m leaning toward the early stages of necrotizing fasciitis, or what’s known as flesh-eating disease.”
Needless to say, this got Wayne into a panic. He dropped the phone, started hyperventilating, and immediately dialed 911. However, in his panicked state, he had the phone upside down and actually called 611. A Verizon rep answered after recognizing the number he was calling from, and Wayne proceeded to tell her his symptoms. She told him she would suggest getting advice from a medical professional, and that he — according to her records — is allowed an upgrade on his current phone. After some small talk about upgrading to the iPhone 7 in the fall, he abruptly hung up prompting an immediate callback to take a two-minute survey on the performance of the Verizon experience he’d just had.
Out the front door, and about 30 seconds into the survey, he ran smack into his 11 year-old neighbor, Jake, knocking him to the pavement. Unscathed, Jake quickly got up as Wayne apologized profusely, showing him the red blotch and explaining how it will soon consume his arm from elbow to forefinger. Jake said the blotch looked familiar, and showed him a similar one on his left arm. “A flea bite,” he said matter of factly. “My mom said it’s been a bad year for it, and I probably got it from our dog, Misty.” Wayne stood with his mouth open as he recalled how his cat, Tinkles, hasn’t stopped scratching. Jake assured him it would go away in a few days and not to worry. Wayne felt like he’d been reborn, and promised to fix Jake’s bike the next time he got a flat. No friends, relatives, or coworkers called to check on Wayne’s status because, quite frankly, this wasn’t the first time.