Friday, October 20, 2017

Typhoid me

I don't much write here about coming to work while sick. There's almost five years of daily posts in this blog so odds are it might have happened once or twice, but the fact is that I stay home pretty easily. Aching foot? I better rest it in the privacy of my house. Small bruise on my forearm? I think it would be for the best if I kept an eye on it at home to make sure it doesn't develop into a cancer.

But some strange psychology and confluence of circumstances drove me to work this week despite having a particularly wet, ugly, and outsized cold.  Perhaps I just wanted to see if I could manage it, stumbling around the library with an increasingly red nose and an ever present box of Kleenex. Perhaps having taken off sick time shortly before my trip to Paris I felt it would look suspicious if I came back only to stay home sick some more. Perhaps it all comes down to my being the supply person at work and knowing that we were particularly well-stocked with tissues, unlike the situation at my house where I could soon be down to toilet paper rolls. This afternoon I asked a co-worker to ask me how much shelving I got done.

"How much shelving did you get done?" She asked.

"Half a box of Kleenex worth."

Did I mention how it's a very wet cold? Ohhhh, it's not pretty.

If I weren't me I would be pretty mad at me for coming in and spreading infection. I am spreading a lot of infection! You would think one of my large team of managers would kindly send me home, but no, they seem delighted I have shown the fortitude and dedication to not call in. And maybe there's the real answer. Maybe the reason I have come in to work, hacking prodigiously, at a library no less, and spewing horrible fluids, is so that the next time I take a day or two off, maybe because I'm coming down with a slight case of being irritated by my job, or because my ear feels funny and there's a very important soccer game on, everyone will say in hushed and concerned amazement "Wow, he stayed home? He must be incredibly, dangerously ill!"

So it's an investment, as long as I don't get pneumonia or something, and the 300 people I infect with a cold don't mind too much.



  1. That is a very topical and exciting post. First off, I hope you're feeling much worse tomorrow--sneezing, coughing up a bit of phlegm, eyes watery and red--and yet that you go to work! That will show them your level of commitment and, as you say, make them stunned the next time you stay home, which should be a day you're feeling great! I always tell me students: "Look, there will be a lot of days you might not want to be here or you're feeling a little bit sick...those are the days you need to come. That way when you get for reals sick (or need to watch a great soccer game), your absence will be dramatic and noticed and the whole class will write sonnets about your empty chair and the long line of possibilities regarding your absence.

    1. I so appreciate your support here. I did go the next day positively drooling and trumpeting about the library in an alarming fashion! I'm glad my decision was sound and in accordance with what you advise your students.

      Do your classes often write collective sonnets? Or are many individual sonnets written. I'm okay with either.

    2. They write the sonnets individually, then put them all in a basket, then I shake the basket, then they each remove one, after which they get 13 minutes to memorize the sonnet, find formal clothing to wear, learn a perfect accent from a foreign country, then climb to the rooftop of the classroom and recite perfectly while flying a kite.

    3. Yeah, I always suspected that while you were a fun teacher, you were also a hard teacher. It's that flying a kite that gets me. I've never really managed it.


If you were wondering, yes, you should comment. Not only does it remind me that I must write in intelligible English because someone is actually reading what I write, but it is also a pleasure for me since I am interested in anything you have to say.

I respond to pretty much every comment. It's like a free personalized blog post!

One last detail: If you are commenting on a post more than two weeks old I have to go in and approve it. It's sort of a spam protection device. Also, rarely, a comment will go to spam on its own. Give either of those a day or two and your comment will show up on the blog.