April 3, 2007

Sick Days

Do you remember sick days when you were a kid? I do. Most of them were honest-to-god sick days but I'll admit there were times I'd try the old hold the thermometer under a lamp trick just to get out of a particularly tough day. Like a day in which I had to recite something (when I went to a private elementary school, I was required to recite Bible verses) or a day on which a legendarily bad quiz was being given. I didn't miss a day often (at least one year I recall getting a perfect attendance award) but when I did, I tried to make the best of it.

Television wasn't a big thing in my house. We'd watch a couple of hours per week but that was about it. I was usually absorbed in a book or listening to music. These were the days before the Internet. I do, however, remember playing some pretty nerdy text-based role playing games (remember Zork?) on my state of the art Apple II+ back in the dark ages. Nothing screams dork quite like good old role playing games.

But what I most remember about those sick days was watching television. (I'll admit, now, that typing that sentence made me feel pretty pathetic.)

To be sick in my house was to be given carte blanc with the remote. I would even, sometimes, be allowed to move the small television we had upstairs into my room. My parents still have this television for some ungodly reason and it was old-school; it had no remote and only got the standard 13 channels.

I'd almost always tune into The Price Is Right. I'd surround it with throwbacks to the golden age of television like Bewitched, I Dream of Genie, Eight Is Enough, One Day At A Time, What's Happening and Alice. It wasn't always easy. There were choices to be made. Simon and Simon, for example, might be up against The Love Boat or Charlie's Angels and Magnum P.I. might have to compete with Fantasy Island. That was a no-brainer though. Magnum always won. Sprinkle in a few game shows - Press Your Luck or the $64,000 Pyramid and you've pretty much got a full day right there.

Those days, like the television shows that represented them, are long past. Being sick doesn't always equate to a day off in the grown-up world. "Sick" and "work" aren't mutually exclusive. I've been running a fever since Sunday night. My nose is about ready to go on strike and run away to a healthier, less-rubbed face. Yesterday, I managed to work from home but today my nose and I have to hit the road and head into the city for a big, important half-day meeting. There's no getting out of it. Sadness.

I'll be out in the big bad world, sniffling all the way, if you need me. Wish me luck.

Posted by Chris at April 3, 2007 7:19 AM

You have to throw M*A*S*H into the "Sick TV" mix. The Australian version of the Price is Right sucked and as a foreigner, Bob Barker will always be "that dude from Happy Gilmore" for me...

Posted by: E :) at April 3, 2007 7:46 AM

Oh, to be a kid again. I know exactly how you feel--the memories are nearly the same, and the cold I have right now sounds about the same, too...

Feel better.

Posted by: Alissa at April 3, 2007 7:53 AM

Ah, the good old days. I remember prolonging an illness in 6th grade because I was involved in the storyline on General Hospital.

Get well soon Mr. Cactus!

Posted by: Nanette at April 3, 2007 7:54 AM

Well I hope you feel better.

Posted by: William at April 3, 2007 8:13 AM

What a nice piece!

I remember my mom making me "egg on toast" and buying 7-Up just for me. And, when you got up off the sofa, she would fluff the sheets and pillow where you were laying so they felt cool and fresh when you came back.

Posted by: Debbie at April 3, 2007 8:23 AM

I'll never forget my first sick day as a regular working adult. I settled in and discovered the lineup included A-Team and MacGyver. On the one hand I was stoked to see the shows, but on the other, remembering how "old" primetime tv had to be to be on in the daytime made me realize how old I was.

Posted by: SciFi Dad at April 3, 2007 8:23 AM

*sigh* Those were definitely good times. I too remember TV sick days. That's what we did every. single. time.

How I long for those days back. Not to worry about having to feed a child, laundry that's piling up and *shudder* meetings that just won't go away.

Hope you make it through!

Posted by: s@m at April 3, 2007 8:32 AM

Yup...what I remember about being sick was watching TV, too. The Price Is Right sticks out for me as well...Bob with his brown hair (brown!) and his little stick with a ball for a microphone. And how he always reminded us to help protect the pet population by having our pets spayed and neutered at the end of each show.

Anyway. Feel better. Being sick ain't the same when you're all grown up, is it?

Posted by: mamatulip at April 3, 2007 8:36 AM


I used to hope there was a Frankie Avalon movie on to watch...

Posted by: daisy at April 3, 2007 8:46 AM

Aww. Feel better soon.

Posted by: Fraulein N at April 3, 2007 8:55 AM

I miss those kind of sick days too... Whenever I can I try and recreate them when I stay home sick from work, but it's never quite the same...

Posted by: suze at April 3, 2007 8:56 AM

I miss the good old fashioned sick days. I was missing them a lot when I talked to my SIL and she told me that she had tried to get my brother home from work to help her with the baby when she hurt her foot. I thought, "You're a mother now. You don't get sick days..." What's a sick day?

Feel better!

Posted by: Kelly at April 3, 2007 8:58 AM

Oh wow! We played Zork on our Commodore 64! What a flashback. We were also addicted to Summer Games and Winter Games. Good times, my friend, good times!
Hope you feel better soon.

Posted by: Traci at April 3, 2007 9:01 AM

Get well soon Cactus!

Posted by: Maribeth at April 3, 2007 9:04 AM

Blah! Haven't you kicked that cold's ass to the curb yet? :)

Posted by: Zandria at April 3, 2007 9:51 AM

Darn, I feel so old. I got to listen to the radio and the shows you talk about seem like they were shown only yesterday.

Get better soon.

Posted by: ann adams at April 3, 2007 10:00 AM

Ah yes... Zork...

Sick days to me were NO TV. My mother believed if you were sick, you were SICK and were to stay in bed with NOTHING to DO but get well. Ugh.

Needless to say, when my kids were home sick...they got TV. All day. All night. All the time. LOL.

Posted by: sue at April 3, 2007 10:33 AM

Oh, and p.s. - get better soon.

Posted by: sue at April 3, 2007 10:33 AM

Good luck!

When I was a kid, if you're staying home sick, you'd better be REALLY sick. No TV, no nothing. You're in bed or else you're well enough to go to school.

Also, when you go to the same school as your cousins who also live in the same house is that there wasn't really a sick day. The teachers all know each other and they all know our family, so somehow homework assignment would get sent home to me via one of my cousins. *sigh*

Posted by: oakley at April 3, 2007 10:56 AM

Yes, I could do with an old school sick day. BIG BUCKS NO WHAMMIES STOP!!!!!!

But I hope you feel better soon. Sorry to hear about all the snot!

Posted by: Teenuh at April 3, 2007 11:10 AM

I had that realization too... because it's true for home also. I can't just go to my room and watch TV or sleep unless I'm throwing up or practically dying. There are two kids to manage and if all you do is become a human trampoline on the floor, well that's something.

Going to work is adding insult to injury. How sick is too sick to sit in a chair and type? It's not like I'm doing road construction in sub-zero weather. It sucks.

That's it. I'm working from home tomorrow!

Posted by: Brad at April 3, 2007 11:35 AM

Yeah, today is the "hold the thermometer under the lamp" day for me - called in sick and am laying in bed surfing. Wish you could be here (well, in your bed, not mine)!

Posted by: Heather at April 3, 2007 12:02 PM

your mother giving you carte blanc with the remote, for a television that had no remote, seems like a cruel, sadistic trick.

Posted by: snippy at April 3, 2007 12:55 PM

I love "I Dream of Jeannie" and "Bewitched" I just always thought they were such great fun. I always get thrown off on "The Price Is Right" though because of the differences between Canadian and American prices. At least, that's what I always blame when I'm wrong.

Posted by: Heather at April 3, 2007 3:38 PM

Yep, yep, TV on sick days was the best.

Hope you feel better soon!

Posted by: Alison at April 3, 2007 4:08 PM

You know what I hate about being grown up and working? When you have to use vacation time just to run errands and stuff. I freaking hate that.

The past few months, I've been thinking of Alice a lot. That show frigging rocked.

Posted by: Sparkle Pants at April 3, 2007 5:01 PM

My parents were really strict about TV, so I never really got to enjoy sick day TV. I did usually get to go wild and have some ginger ale or coke though, which was a big deal because they were also pretty restrictive about soda.

There are a lot of benefits to being a grownup, but when you get sick, you just want to stay home on the couch and whine and have someone take care of you. it's no fun when you have to go to work instead. Hope you feel better soon!

Posted by: bad penguin at April 3, 2007 7:16 PM

I sincerely hope you get some buttered toast served to you on a tv tray...along with some ginger ale and all your favorite programs on tv.

Posted by: wordgirl at April 3, 2007 11:16 PM

My Mom used to bring the 13 inch black and white tv to your room when you were sick. With the antenna on top. I'd love a sick day like that now. Someone bringing me flat soda and grilled cheese sandwiches as I half-listen to the tv drone.

Feel better soon. Drink your OJ and get some sleep.

Posted by: Annie at April 4, 2007 1:24 AM

I was "sick" yesterday with a case of 'it's too damn nice to be at work, so I've been *lousy all week*'...Needless to say, it's nice to have paid sick days!

Posted by: Michelle at April 4, 2007 8:06 AM

Holy cow, Zork? I loved Zork! Haven't thought about that one in a while...

Hope you feel better soon!

Posted by: Jen at April 4, 2007 1:38 PM

Exactly! I'd always throw the Brady Bunch in to the mix, too.

Posted by: Janet at April 5, 2007 11:35 AM

I always copped out and faked sick, when I had a math exam. I'm sure mom always knew but she let me have it anyways. This is going to sound dumb but I'd wait till mom and dad were gone and then I'd blast Led Zeppelin and sign at the top of my lungs.
Live large like a rock star

Posted by: shaners at April 5, 2007 4:19 PM