Tag Archives: matlock

Down with the sickness

Being sick when you’re 13 is one of those rare species on the list of Good Things About Being 13. It’s an enchanted ferry ride to no-school land, where watching “Matlock” reruns in your pajamas and eating ice cream thrice a day is not just acceptable but encouraged behavior.

I remember my grandma (who I unceremoniously nicknamed Mima when I was two) would make me toast in the morning, scrambled eggs if it was a not-really-sick day. This toast was way good, even better than the toast at JA’s Cafe, my family’s breakfast mainstay. And don’t get me started on Mima’s chicken spaetzle soup; you might have other things to do today. One day, home sick from elementary school, I asked Mima for the recipe for her toast, and she dutifully wrote out the recipe in her careful, ex-secretary hand.

In high school, my parents started letting me stay home alone when I was sick. I enjoyed the relative autonomy, exchanging “Matlock” reruns for LiveJournal binges, but the spread was considerably lacking. The best I could muster was a toaster-to-microwave grilled cheese sandwich with a can of overly sweet tomato soup, but at least I could spend all day plunked down in front of our ’97 Dell, entering seedy AIM chat rooms with screennames like cAtHoLicScHoOlgrrl and SOADismylife87 – the heady stuff of Chris Hansen’s dreams.

Being sick when you’re 23 and under-employed is like neither of those scenarios. Sure, I can troll Tumblr (which is, let’s face it, the 2012 equivalent of LiveJournal) and order from the sub-par Thai restaurant down the street. But a sick day when you’re unemployed is a gruff reminder that you’re home looking at cat GIFs while your friends are at work looking at cat GIFs. That you could be at your temp job answering callers’ inane questions instead of in bed asking yourself stomach-lurching existential questions. That you should be trolling JournalismJobs instead of Tumblr, revising your cover letter for the umpteenth time, pitching stories to outlets way out of your league. That it isn’t worth the 30-minute Metro ride and the copay for the doctor at the income-scaled clinic to tell you it’s just a virus and that you should take it easy for a few days.

Then again, maybe the sick day isn’t some dour memo, but a Snoopy-themed sticky note saying you should take it easy for a few days. That this perma-stress is not going to land you a job any more than worrying about your gluten intake or your grasp of realist literature will land you a job. Listen, the sick day is knocking on your door and saying, “I sweatergod, if you don’t turn on HGTV right this second I’m calling your mom. Here, I brought gelato.” The sick day is your friend.

This morning I noticed Mima, whose technical savvy is worthy of another post, was on Gchat. I asked her for something, and she replied right away: “‪Take a slice of bread, put in toaster, and spread lots of butter on it.‬”

Thanks for reading, more soon.