DJ Tanner was my idol. She had the greatest bangs, she got to sing onstage with the Beach Boys, and she was an all-around good girl which afforded her a free pass on some occasional bad behavior. So when DJ faked a sick day a la Ferris Bueller to go get Stacey Q’s autograph, I paid close attention to her every maneuver so I could recreate the magic.
I had a good run of sick day as child, many valid – and some not so much. But while I never had a DJ or Ferris-worthy day off, I always enjoyed spending my sick days reprioritizing the Tiger Beat posters in my bedroom and watching the Price is Right from the comfort of a couch-cushion fort with a bowl of cookie dough. And after a refreshing recharge, I was always back to my old self – and back to school – the very next day.
When you’re a kid, sick days are a dime a dozen. A cough is a great reason to get out of that chemistry test, an overzealous pimple is probably a sign of the twenty-four hour flu, and a fight with your best friend easily induces a stomach bug. And even if you do have a case of the sniffles, when your only responsibility is writing a book report on To Kill a Mockingbird, there’s always a good excuse to stay home for a day. Yet as an adult, even though Mom is too far away to validate my temperature, I find the reasons not to have a sick day far more compelling than that bowl of cookie dough.
In spite of my nine hours of sleep a night and dedication to adding spinach to just about everything, a cold caught me late last week, and by Thursday night my voice was three octaves too low for comfort. So I decided to suck it up and call in sick Friday. Yet rather than enjoy Lifetime movies, P90X infomercials, and quality time with my down comforter like a good sick girl should, I whipped out the guilt checklist.
This guilt checklist is the list of all the items you try to accomplish so you can still feel like a functioning member of society at the end of a sick day. It often involves housework, errands, and sit-ups. On this particular sick day, the fear of being a waste of space drove me to pay bills, scrub my kitchen, and make notes for what I need to do when I’m back in the office Monday. DJ Tanner would shake her bangs in disapproval.
So while I’m feeling much better, I suspect a day of shameless relaxation would have sped my recovery. I can’t help but long for yesteryear when sick days allowed you to attend to more critical responsibilities like that Barbie’s dream house refurbishment rather than cleaning out the moldy pasta in the back of the fridge. Next time a sick day comes along, I vow to put away the checklist – or at the very least bring cookie dough back into the equation. How do you spend your sick days?