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This letter makes me itch like crazy

Hi, Willy Billy. It's Anonymous again. Your favorite fan from the Cope's-Latest-Column Discussion Group. Did you notice I called you Willy Billy? Isn't that funny? I didn't think of it until I remembered I had a goat in my stuffed animal collection when I was a teenager and his name was Willy Billy Goat. He got chewed up to pieces by my schnau-poo I had once named Barbra after Barbra Streisand, even though Barbra was a boy, but I remembered them both the other day, Willy Billy Goat and Barbra, and it reminded me of you. Not that you look like a goat. But I thought that would be a good name for you, Willy Billy. Isn't that funny?

But that's not what I'm writing about. You can probably tell I didn't catch Ebola. I have always been lucky that way, not catching diseases they have in places like Africa and Hawaii, and it looks like I dodged another germ bullet. We have even started having Cope's-Latest-Column Discussion Group meetings again, especially after that one where you said you went to Heaven. That one caused even more discussion than usual. My friend Dottie said that even if you don't go to Hell over all the other columns, you will certainly go to Hell over that one because it was blasphemy she says, and God will put up with a lot of naughty things, but blasphemy is not one of them. Old Mr. Hamperstein said he thought you were just joking around, but Dottie said, "If God had a sense of humor, then why did he create icy sidewalks?" and old Mr. Hamperstein who broke a hip two years ago on an icy sidewalk couldn't answer that one.

But that's not what I'm writing about, either. I am worried about measles. Especially the getting them part. I cannot remember if I've ever had measles and there is no one left to ask, since both Mom and Dad went to Heaven years ago, and my big sister Connie is in an assisted living place and can't remember where she leaves her dentures let alone if I ever had measles.

Do you think I should get a vaccination shot in case I never had them? But if I did have them and I get a vaccination shot, do you think the shot could cancel out the immunity I can't remember whether or not I already have, and then I will get measles again? And if I didn't ever have them and get the vaccination shot, do you think I will get autism, which I can't remember if I've ever had, either? And which is worse, autism or the measles? I've heard autism is pretty bad, but at least you don't itch like crazy. Except with my luck, I would get autism and the measles both so that I would itch like crazy, anyway, but not be able to tell anybody about it.

Or is that chicken pox where you itch like crazy?

Anyway, the way I see it, a person just doesn't know what to do anymore. You hear this and then you hear that, and everybody's telling you something different, and sometimes, I just feel like curling up in a ball with a cuddly wuddly bear. Which I think I would do if I had any stuffed animals left after Barbra got through with chewing them all up to pieces. I used to get so mad at him for doing that, but then he went to Heaven too. Anyway, so that is my question, Willy Billy. And don't you think that name is funny? I laugh every time I say it. Willy Billy, Willy Billy, Willy Billy. Ha ha, isn't that funny?

—Yours Truly Forever, Anonymous

•••

Ah, Anon, it's good to hear from you again. I love hearing from people who don't hate me, even if they tell me I'm going to Hell.

I'm delighted you didn't catch Ebola, and am pleased that Cope's-Latest-Column Discussion Group is active again, as it encourages me to know there are people I can turn to for an explanation whenever I have no idea, myself, what I am talking about. But on to your question. Or questions, as it were, for you actually asked several, none of which I can answer. I am not a doctor. Back in the '80s, I did have a thin, white sports coat that did make me look a little like a doctor, but sadly, it didn't help me know more about human immunology, nor did it make me look more like Don Johnson. (Incidentally Anon, have you ever had a dream about having Don Johnson as your gynecologist? I know it's none of my business, but I've had so many women tell me they had this same dream, that now I'm wondering if it may be one of those Jungian, universal... oh, never mind.)

But back to your worries over measles and vaccinations and autism and such. I wish I could help you, but I'm neither qualified to answer medical questions, nor insured against medical malpractice. However, I can give you one general piece of advice that might guide you through any number of future concerns. I suggest that whenever you're given a choice between believing what a great preponderance of trained professionals are saying on any particular matter, and wild, unsubstantiated crap you've read on the Internet, I'd go with the pros if I were you. After all, we know what modern science has accomplished for humanity in the past five centuries, while from what I hear, 90 percent of what you see on the Internet is coming out of some guy living in an abandoned school bus someplace in Nevada (I read it on the Internet).

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