On sick days: “Don’t be a hero!”
Once cold and flu germs announce their presence to an office, they’re not content to leave until they take everyone out with them.
Pathogen X has been winding its way through my office ever since New Year’s. I (foolishly) thought I had avoided it. Then, without warning, it laid me flat on Wednesday.
It started around 2 p.m., as I was innocently working at my desk. My nose was volcanic, burping out waves of snot. I brutalized a box of Kleenex, a roll of toilet paper, and a handful of paper napkins before I decided to cut my workday short.
As I was packing up to leave, my friend Phil said, “Don’t be a hero, JVO. Don’t come in tomorrow if you’re still sick”. Sage advice; I stayed home yesterday, enjoying a Motrin and Sudafed-fueled day of napping, watching an Alice Cooper concert from 1973, and reading “Carrie” by Stephen King.
Today was a different story. I felt better(ish) when I woke up, and decided that the show must go on. I’ve always played along with the unspoken business rule that, unless you’re lying limbless in a pool of your own gore, you shouldn’t take two days off in a row.
The irony is that we all curse co-workers who don’t take off when they’re legitimately sick. Then we curse them for taking too much time off. I tried to straddle the line between the two.