I Remember Sick Days

06 Dec

Here’s what I like to do when I get sick:  nothing.

At least, nothing productive.  I like to put some chicken in the crock pot with some carrots and onions and noodles, and I like to drag blankets up to the couch and get the closest thing I can find to a monster movie on the television, and drink Dole pineapple orange banana juice and just generally stink up the living room with my misery and flatulence.

I don’t know how much of that you needed to know, but the point is, at some point over the years, it became increasingly more difficult to do this, and I really don’t understand why.

There’s always been a sort of Tough Guy mentality in the workplace, so if you have a regular job, and you get sick, then for some reason, everybody wants you to come on in snorting and coughing and yes, probably farting too, and then leave a trail of pestilence and death all over the office. 

In particular, I’ve had something like ten male bosses over the years who really liked to posture as if they “never get sick.”

“Be careful,” I’d warn them as they approached my desk.  “I don’t want to get you sick.”

“No, I don’t get sick,” they’d tell me, their chests out.  “Sometimes I pick up a little something, a little bug or something, but I just eat a chicken breast with some vegetables and then I run five or six miles, sweat it out.”

Looking at you like they just smacked down a sweet fork maneuver on a chess board or something – sure, gettin’ sick is normal for a regular little fella like you, Tom.

Delusional, every single one of them.  Because every single one of them later got sick and stayed home and then simply never brought it up or published a correction.  They just didn’t get sick when I got sick, that’s all. 

Listen to me – you get sick.  You’re not an X-Man.  You get sick and you get in bed with your banky and your tissues and you groan about it to your wife, oh yes you do.  You’re not fooling anyone.

For me, anytime I run into someone in the outside world whether it’s at work or in school or at an AA meeting (not really), and they’re snorting and hacking and stuff is coming out of their eyes, all I can think is, thanks a lot, man. 

I don’t know if you’re trying to prove how tough you are or what but all you’re doing is being gross and inconsiderate.  And all I’m trying to do with my stinky monster movie marathon is be nice and discrete.  My family already lives in the hot zone and they’re probably the ones who got me sick in the first place – don’t worry about them.

Of course these days, I’m self-employed again, so I can certainly tell everybody that I’m staying home, no problem – but I don’t get paid that way.  Depending on how much work I had lined up for that day, that can cost me five hundred dollars or nothing.

That’s a weird thing that happens when you get old and responsible and you get sick on a Saturday morning – you think, wow, that’s awesome timing, now I won’t have to miss any work.  Used to be the other way around, and it makes me feel absolutely filthy, thinking that way.

The other thing about modern sick days, if you have a regular job, is that they’ll let you stay home, no problem.  Just go ahead and log in from your laptop and work from your bed all day.  They always say that with a sympathetic tone of voice – see, Tom?  We care.

But no, I’m not doing that either.  If you want a day’s work out of me while I’m sick and miserable, you’re getting a full day’s worth of my microbes as well. 

The last job I had where they said that to me, I said, okay, no problem.  If you don’t believe me when I say that I need a monster movie banky marathon, and that I need left the hell alone for a couple of days while I work this crap out of my system, well then that’s fine.  I’ll be there in a half an hour with a cloud of death hanging around me like Pig Pen from the Peanuts.

That time I even went up to the supervisor who had acted as if working from home was the nice, caring option – and I licked his mouse while he wasn’t at his desk.  There are just all kinds of things wrong with me and the way I operate, I’m sorry to tell you.  Felt good, though.

Anyway, you can’t call in sick from blogging every day – that really would be a pretty sissified thing to do.  But I can instead spend the whole day’s post whining about being sick and complaining about people who are tougher than me, or at least people who think they are.

But I’m actually a little curious – am I crazy here?  Does anyone else feel like there used to be things called “sick days” and when you took them, everybody had to leave you alone?  Nobody got to follow you home through a phone line and go, Hey Tom, where’s that TP report I asked for?

And were sick days really such a crazy, destructive, primitive practice that we had to do away with them?


Posted by on December 6, 2010 in Future Tom Grab Bag, Phoning It In


Tags: , , , , , , ,

4 responses to “I Remember Sick Days

  1. kate

    December 6, 2010 at 6:13 pm

    I can’t speak to the whole wide working world of sick days anymore, Tom. My last corporate boss made it real easy to quit after my first was born – all those baby appts were annoying him. Thanks, Jerk, you just made this decision way easier for me to live with. I didn’t just leave, I left with a big smile.

    I do know that with kids at home a sick day is a sad blessing, if Wally’s in town.

    I had to have some oral surgery a few years ago and was totally freaking excited about staying in bed for 2 days with my banky and some narcs. It was sadly awesome.

  2. Kimberly Kinrade

    December 6, 2010 at 6:18 pm

    I tried to take a sick day yesterday. It was a Sunday, a perfectly reasonable day to be sick, right? Well, turns out a single mom is NOT allowed sick days. I was in bed for a large chunk of the morning, unable to function from cold medicine. (Why is pot illegal but Nyquil isn’t? I can function much better on one than the other …. theoretically of course.)

    Well, when I finally materialized, my furniture was covered with sugar and my kids were eating a bowls full of sugar with a few dry cheerios thrown in for fun.

    I spent the rest of the day cleaning and yelling.

    So much for sick days.

  3. ecossie possie

    December 6, 2010 at 7:05 pm

    Its amazeing the number of people that used to call in sick on a Monday at my former place of emplyment.My Boss a sweet Lady called them the Monday Clubers.I of course had to one up then so I joined an exclusive club called the 1992 Club….Came home today to find all my doors ripped of the hinges an everything was gone.What kind of sick mind would do that to my Advent Calennder?

  4. sparrow1969

    December 7, 2010 at 1:05 am

    lol…it served him right that you licked his mouse. Just sayin’…

    I think one of the big reasons people get sick so often these days is that there is no rest for the overworked and underpaid. The harder you work, the more run down you get. If you take a day off to get better, you get punished by having a higher pile on your desk waiting for you when you get back.

    What a never ending circle of ugly.

    I hope you feel better soon!


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