Monday, November 28, 2005

Bless You, My Self

I'm coming down sick. DAMN it!

In the 20 months or so that we've lived in this town, I haven't been sick once. Nada. Not so much as the sniffles. But today I find myself woozy and disoriented at work - which in itself would not really be an unusual symptom; feeling slightly sick to my stomach, likewise, is pretty much par for the course on any given workday IN HELL.

But sneezing, heavy-headedness and chills are definitely not the norm. This may actually be (horrors!) a cold. Or else maybe bird flu, or bubonic plague. It's too soon to tell.

There's an interesting psychology behind minor illness. People seem to take so much pride in it; they consider it such a representation of their innermost self, of their true character. Those who are often ill relish their sufferings, and brag about how terrible they feel. They enjoy the attention and the pathos and the drama of being sick. They drag themselves stoically to work, unless they force themselves to stay heroically at home. Whichever.

Then there are people like me. I'm never sick, never. And just look at me puffing up about it, as if excellent health were some kind of karmic reward for being a gosh-darn all-around super person. We look down our noses at the frequently ill; we give off gentle sympathetic murmurings, all the while secretly despising the weakness of character that allowed some piddling cold virus to get the better of you. And even more secretly, way down deep inside, in our heart of hearts, we whisper, "Hypochondriac!"

We healthier-than-thou types always end up shooting ourselves in the collective foot, of course - or perhaps I'd better just speak for my own foot. We make such a point of telling everyone, "oh, I never get sick," that we can't call in sick without the whole office smugly surmising that we're just hung over. Which, damn it! is generally the case.

And that's why I'm drinking a third glass of chilled Chianti as I type this post. For one thing, it's making my throbbing head feel quite a bit better. But more importantly, if I'm going to call in sick tomorrow, I damn well intend to enjoy myself tonight!


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