"What I Really Know" comes from our readers. Each month we solicit short personal essays on a selected topic and post some of our favorites in print and online. Below, reader Laurence Taylor of Elk Creek, Penn., shares what he really knows about "spring fever."
I heard about spring fever when I was 10 years old. I kept putting off my chores. Mother said that I just had spring fever. “What’s that?” I asked. She said that it was not doing things I needed to do, and was just another term for laziness. Laziness was a sin. That was a heavy charge, and I didn’t want any fever that led me to sin. I asked her, “How did I get this fever? And how do I get rid of it?” Mom had just the thing. She came back carrying a spoon and a bottle. She said, “Open up,” poured a spoonful of thick, dark, greenish liquid onto the spoon, and shoved it in my mouth. I choked, swallowed, swallowed some more and finally uttered, “Ugh!” Sulphur and molasses were the best tonic for spring fever, she said. I jumped off my seat, put on outdoor clothes and went to do the chores that I had been trying to avoid. Sulphur and molasses had nothing to do with curing my spring fever, but the threat of the cure did. I never caught spring fever again. It was much easier to do my chores, get the guys together for some baseball practice, go hiking in the woods — anything but hang around letting her think I needed another dose of “tonic.” The cure was worse than the fever.