Calling in sick

Just try to think of something nice, something pleasant to distract you from whatever uncomfortable situation you might find yourself in. Maybe you’re not feeling so great. Maybe you have strep throat and you had to stay home from work, but when you called in sick, your boss gave you that, “Yeah, sure,” like he didn’t really believe you, and even if he did believe you, he didn’t really care, you should be at work, it doesn’t matter about any doctor’s note, it doesn’t matter that you’re taking antibiotics, that you’re contagious. Everybody takes sick days. Everybody gets sick. Everybody except for Johnson, that guy never calls in. In fact, he’s come in a few days when he should have clearly just taken the day off. Like that one time when he was trying to fix the office printer, and the auto stapler mechanism started malfunctioning, and he got that ridiculous gash on his forearm, right through his shirt, and he left, I mean, he had to, he was losing a lot of blood, getting it everywhere. But he came back in like two hours, all stitched up, just tons and tons of gauze wrapped around his whole arm, like you could totally see the wound still oozing through the gauze, and everyone was like, “Are you OK? Shouldn’t go home? Didn’t they put you on antibiotics?” And he just casually laughed it off, “Yes, no, and yes. Really, I’m fine.” And he even stayed an hour late that day, because he used his lunch break for the first hour at the emergency room, and then he made it up, that same very day. Fucking Johnson.

You can’t get strep throat though. I mean you can, but even if you go to work, you’ll look basically the same, there won’t be any bloody gauze to wear like a trophy. So you lose some face with the boss. Whatever, did you really think you were in line for a promotion? For a bonus? I know it sucks, having this day off, this unpaid day off, and you can’t even enjoy it, just laying on your couch, hungry, thirsty, just waiting for that Z-pack to kick in so you can swallow something without any pain. Just think about something happy. Think about that time two summers ago, where all of your friends took the day off and went to the beach, and you were like, screw it, and you called in sick also. And it was your first time calling in sick and you didn’t think it would be a big deal, because it was summer and productivity generally takes somewhat of a dip during the summer, and you just shot an email to the boss, “Hey, I’m not feeling so great. See you on Monday.” And you had a blast, just one of those great summer three-day weekends. But then you showed up on Monday and Johnson not only did all of your work, like he actually went through your desk and found a bunch of work to do, he then sent you an email that said, “Hey, just letting you know I stayed late today and finished up all of your work. Hope your feeling better.” But he “accidentally” sent it to everybody in the office. And then on Tuesday the boss called the team in for a little meeting, just to go over the sick day rules, how ever since they changed the health insurance policy last fall, how even though everybody’s paying a little more and getting a little less coverage, it’s because the company’s paying more too, so that’s why they had to eliminate paid sick days. You can still take two sick days a year, but they’re unpaid. And while he was at it, the boss went into a whole speech about productivity, and Johnson was just standing there beaming, and the boss looked like he was looking right at you the whole time.

Just stop thinking about all of that stuff. What are you going to do? You’re sick. Do you really think things would be better if you were at the office? What are you going to do drink cups of tea, one after the other, all day long? You have the doctor’s note. There’s nothing more you can do. There, you can feel it starting to kick in, right? The antibiotics? They’re starting to make you feel a little better, right? Well, drink a cup of tea, with honey and lemon. That’s going to help. And eucalyptus. I don’t know, in the health foods aisle. And just think about something warm, something comforting, like a cup of hot chocolate with whipped cream and marshmallows when you were a little kid, when it was so much easier, not to take a sick day, you’d still have to be pretty sick to convince your mom to let you take a sick day, but once you were home, and sick, it was all uphill from there, laying on the couch, blankets, daytime TV, who cares about Johnson, always the last one out of the office, always wearing those ridiculous button down short-sleeve shirts, displaying that nasty scar, a constant reminder of his dedication to the company, to work, to life, to being a team player, a real go-getter, a real gunner, gunning for the top, straight up up up up up.

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