Chances are, with it being this time of year, if you scroll through your Facebook feed right now, you’ll likely find a paragraph-long rant from someone declaring that people shouldn’t come in to work sick, spreading their germs with everyone else; how doing so only makes it worse for the whole office.
Here’s the thing: I was always that Scar or Jafar-like villain who secretly kept coming to work sick anyway. And in hindsight, I have no regrets about my selfish actions.
Strange Trivia Rabbit Trail: Have you ever noticed the common practice in Disney cartoon movies where the villain either has a foreign accent (to subliminally instill in us the propaganda that foreigners can not be trusted) or effeminate mannerisms (to further distance mainstream America from accepting the homosexual community)? It just so happens that both Scar (from The Lion King) and Jafar (from Alladin) relate to both of these tropes.
Yes, I was the co-worker who secretly came to work sick.
I deserve the electric chair, so I can personally relate to the lyrics of Metallica’s 1984 song “Ride the Lightning”, or at have least people standing on my front porch with pitchforks to denounce me for the heinous crime I committed more times than I could count, over the course of a decade.
If nothing else, surely some people could get together and create a clever hashtag to trend, to globally “sick shame” me on Twitter:
But with cold blood running through my icy veins, even now, I admit I wouldn’t have done anything differently.
I only had a limited number of sick days each year. I had to save them for my kids. My wife and I had a deal: We took turns staying home each time one of the kids got sick; which occurred a lot over the past several years.
Between two kids, this has included febrile seizures, a parapharyngeal abscess, tubes being put in ears to end countless issues with ear infections, as well as a few trips to the the emergency room.
And this doesn’t even include the Rolodex of times one of our kids simply had a temperature (that led to nothing more), and we had to leave work to stay home with them.
So obviously, “sick days” were never for me. They were for my kids.
I wasn’t willing to stay home and use sick days for myself when it could lead to me running out of them, then having attendance issues at work, and/or having to not be paid for work that day.
And that would all be on top of the medical bills that kept popping up an account of our kids being sick.
I am not ashamed to admit that I was always the one showing up to work sick while doing my best to keep it a secret; as I would chug an entire carton of orange juice at my desk, along with some priobiotic Kombucha, and Ibruprofen; as a cheap way to get myself through the day.
Amazingly, it usually helped restore me to health after about 2 or 3 days.
But don’t worry, entire world: I’ve been a stay-at-home dad for over 3 months now. I rarely get out of the house anymore. You are safe.
So yeah, that hashtag again…