C’mon admit it. When you were a kid and had a sick day from school- it was pretty epic. I’m not talking the Ferris Bueller “lick the palms” and “fake the barfing noise” sick day. I’m talking about when you were actually sick and got to stay home from school. It was pretty sweet. You’d be sitting there with the Tiger Beat Scott Baio poster or Star Wars stuff on the wall (hypothetical early 80’s examples to pique your nostalgia), the fuzzy comforter, the little TV playing Gilligan’s Island reruns. It was kind of like the little kid jackpot. Because even if you were sick, you had mom or dad there who had to stay home from work with you, and blankets, and TV, and hot soup, and ice cream for the fever, and the humidifier, and pajamas, and stuffed animals, and all the attention in the world. Who wouldn’t like that. But somehow, somewhere along the line, it all got messed up.
I spent the last three days stuck in quarantine with a fever and antibiotics and the mucus marching band that stomps around your head like you see in the commercial. It wasn’t any fun at all. Sure I got to watch TV till my eyes bled. I got to sleep a ton. But I didn’t really enjoy the whole experience. My wife was at work. My kids were at school. The house was empty except for me and my bacteria. There was no one making me soup. There was no one making sure I had a blanket, or some warm milk, or some socks and a hat. I know what you’re thinking: “stop your whining man-baby that’s what’s wrong with men and women and sex nowadays is that men are such babies”. But wait. Hear me out. I’m here to say that this kid once loved being sick, and now that I’m a grown up this adulthood thing has even sucked the joy out of that.
Yes, even in the land of kid puke and projectile snot there was once a silver lining of extra attention from mom and dad. And as with all good things, they come to an end. At some point in my past, getting sick grew up. This time around, I had to make an appointment with the Doctor and do the whole insurance card thing and copay and prescription pickup. Total buzz kill. The Whole Thing. I had to worry about the kids getting sick. I had to worry about the wife getting sick. I had to worry about what I was missing at work. I’m one of those folks who actually likes working, defines myself by my working, and feels left out if I’m not working (no, it’s NOT the fever talking). It was a whole lot easier when you could just curl up in a bubble of bacteria-laden worry-free kid germapaloozaishness. But not anymore. It’s clear to me that being sick stinks now and like many things, they were always better when we were kids. So on my final afternoon home when the antibiotics had been working long enough and I was feeling well enough where I knew I could finally return to work the next day, I made myself some Swiss Miss hot chocolate just like I had as a kid, and buried myself in a pack of Oreo cookies just like I ate as a kid, and watched some classic TV just as I did as a kid, and I sat in my T-shirt and shorts and curled up under a blanket and enjoyed being sick just as I did as a kid.
By the way, my wife thinks I’m nuts. She STILL enjoys being home sick, even now as an adult, and relishes having eight hours at home with NO one else around except for she and her bacteria.
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