Be careful about reading health books. You may die of a misprint. — Mark Twain

We used to admire the people who went to work when they were “under the weather” and heroically “toughed it out.” But now we know that these people are sickening. That is, they make us sick. Not by making us look like weaklings and malingerers by comparison, which is pretty disgusting too. No, it turns out they’re spreading their germs everywhere when they show up. Looks like that girl in the seat behind you in 3rd grade wasn’t far from the mark with her theory about all the cooties you were emitting. In its “Seasonal Influenza Bulletin” the Centers for Disease Control tells us to stay at home from work when we’re sick. Where were these people when I was cleaning out the checker chambers at OH-5? Anyway, staying home is ranked even higher than covering your mouth or washing your hands, so I guess they mean business.

                                          thermometer

Okay, you’ve decided to do the “responsible” thing and call off work. Now what? Well you certainly don’t want to make the call out at Butler’s while knocking off a dog and a beer at the turn, or while stickin’ a J down at the basketball courts. You’re a sick person. You need your rest. Plus, you want to be in a controlled environment for this event. You want to give the boss an academy award winning raspy-voiced performance. The Idler once worked in the office of a steel-industry related firm, and one of the highlights of the day was when we played the tape of people calling off sick. Sometimes you could actually hear the juke-box in the background. On one famous one we could distinctly hear voices saying “five ball in the corner pocket” and “last call” while the fellow coughed pitiably and recounted his symptoms. So when you call off, watch your atmospherics and keep it simple.

 While you’re getting your rest, you might want to venture into the funhouse that is daytime TV. Start off with some “Spongebob Squarepants”, just to get your feet wet. Each segment consists of two episodes, both preceded by the Spongebob theme song. You should have it memorized by noon. “Absorbent and yellow and porous is he!” Looking for culture? Try WQED where you can swing with Curious George. Also excellent theme music with a strong percussion line.

You want to sound knowledgeable about things medical when you get back to work? Tear off some witty self-diagnoses? Tune into a few episodes of “House” on the all-day House marathon channel. This will leave you feeling sufficiently erudite and smart-alecky to take a ride on the “Cash Cab”. The host is a New York City cab driver with a Dodge Caravan tricked out with lights and cameras and stuff. There’s a sort of story arc in the sense that the quiz lasts only as long as the cab ride which you can follow on a map, and the contestants are permitted a certain number of calls for help. The best are usually the ones where they lean out the window and call to people on the sidewalk to see if they know the answer. New Yorkers, renowned for their warmth and hospitality, rarely disappoint.

Well, the Idler is feeling a little chill coming on. Also, his alley just opened up here at Playmor. Hope you’re feeling better!

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