Your Temperature or Your Life

Whose idea was it to make temperature scanners look like guns?

Roshana Ariel


You’re under arrest. Photo from Dreamstime.

We’ve lived through this pandemic for the past seven months here in the U.S.
For most of the country, restaurants, gyms, medical offices, barbers all closed down for months. And once things opened up, in many cases, the first thing you saw while walking into the dentist’s office or the hair stylist’s shop was a white gun pointed at your forehead to check your temperature.

Whose idea was that, to make the temperature scanners look like guns? It’s off-putting, to say the least, bordering on threatening.

Obviously, temperature scanners have been around for many years, used at doctors’ offices, etc., to quickly and easily check a patient’s temperature. Now they seem ubiquitous.

Memories of Mom

I remember my mom checking my temperature when I was little. She’d gently touch my forehead with her hand, then get the thermometer out of the medicine cabinet.

Mom’s gentle touch. Photo from Dreamstime.

She’d ask me to open my mouth wide, opening her own mouth to demonstrate, and place the small glass wand under my tongue. She’d often sit with me, sometimes holding my hand for the three minutes needed to bring the mercury up the glass tube. She’d ask about my symptoms …

Mother is a verb. It’s something you do. Not just who you are.

— Cheryl Lacey Donovan

Did I have a tummy ache? Did I feel chilly or warm? Did my head hurt? She’d lift her own hand occasionally to check the time on her silver-plated watch. Then she’d pull the thermometer out and carefully turn the little wand in her fingers to see where the mercury lined up against the tiny numbers on the side.

Instant results

Well, we’re way beyond that today. We get the pronouncement of fever or no fever within a couple of seconds. Nobody holds our hand or speaks lovingly to us about how we feel. It’s just a gun to the forehead and a beep. “You’re good to…



Roshana Ariel

I write about how to live life well even when it’s crazy or difficult. I’ve had lots of practice! As an editor, I love to rewrite my life to make it beautiful.