Out Sick

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?

About WhiteElephantInTheRoom

I'm an 80s music lover, traveling junkie, mac & cheese connoisseur, amateur wine snob, party-planning priestess and Chicago transplant living in Southern California. I find adventure in the everyday and have a unending compulsion to write about it. Hope you enjoy reading my mind!
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12 Responses to Out Sick

  1. theveryhungrybookworm says:

    SO TRUE! I think everyone deserves that day of shameless relaxation now and then, but the guilt ruins it. Grrrr.

    Love DJ.

  2. Eruntane says:

    Last time I took a sick day (which I don’t do very often) I spent it on the sofa knitting and watching multiple episodes of Doctor Who. This was quite agreeable until night-time, when I was feverish and ended up having a very confused dream in which the world was about to end because I couldn’t find the correct pattern to knit the TARDIS.

  3. lexy3587 says:

    lol, Eruntane – Knit the Tardis!
    My sick days translate (to my dog) as : whole day at home to entertain the dog. He doesn’t get that I’m not feeling well and just want to rest. All he sees is me being stupid and not getting ready to take him on a weekend-worthy walk. Which is how I usually find myself on an hour or two of walk in the middle of some awful-weather day, in full watery eyed, sneezy sniffly wheezy coughing misery. Because guilt, it works!

  4. Mrs. Beadel says:

    You had me at “Full House”. ‘ Nuff said.

    Anyways, sick days are usually spent at work getting my students sick, because otherwise, I’d just return to more work upon my arrival. However, as much as I do have a chore list that is making me even more repulsed by its sheer length (as compared to DJ’s hair), if I do stay home, it’s because I am too dead to move, so I will snuggle and watch The View.

  5. The last time I took a sick day when I was not sick, I was in medical school on a rotation. I had a decent enough day, unfortunately a week later I came down with the flu. (It was a year of flu shot shortages and medical students were not believed to be high priority for shots.) So it looked really bad, like I was faking when I called in with the flu. So I ended up going in on day 2 of the flu, still running fever, but actually able to get out of bed, since when I called in day 1, it was kind of unacceptable. Fortunately day 2, I looked so terrible that they sent me home for the rest of the week. However, I too, loved Full House and dreamed of having a sick day like that

  6. The worst part of sick days are being sick! I always find I can’t relax enough to enjoy them. Mental health days, I believe in them!!!

  7. Sue says:

    LOL… I know the feeling everybody in my house and my office is sick, there is something nasty going around. If I do get sick I will think of it as a relaxing day at home.

  8. tiedejess says:

    I’m with you — trying to cross off a good portion of my to-do list while I’m supposed to be lying on the couch. The best fix for that?! Drive to my mom’s house and lay on HER couch. She cooks my favorite comfort foods, she lets me snooze on her comfy couch and even if I wanted to do laundry, there is none of my own there to do. Why would I want to wash her windows and scrub her floors? I don’t. If your mom lives within a 60-mile radius, I highly recommend this sneaky little trick.

  9. baileymoro says:

    My sick days are spent eating my favorite snack foods, staring out the window with a smug grin, thinking about how I don’t have to take that physics test just yet.

  10. Meagan Hardester says:

    I was like the girl in full house DJ when I was in middle school I had very fun sick days. Watching T.V. and eating ice cream and drinking soda. It was so worth it. SICK DAYS are ASWOME. If you are just faking it.

  11. rsargeant says:

    As an entrepreneur I truly have to be on death’s door to take a sick day. By then I truly enjoy being forced to curling up on the couch with the remote and my puppies.

  12. I spend it at the spa getting a facial and massage….

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