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Fake News

The Inaugural Sick Day of a Workaholic by Sarah Garfinkel



6:50 am: Wake up before your alarm (as always) and realize with horror that your right eye is swollen shut. Pink eye is contagious. Janice gave you some “constructive feedback” last year when you went to work with strep throat, and the only thing you dread more than missing work is disappointing your supervisor…no!

6:51 am: Run to the bathroom mirror and apply pink eyeshadow to your left eyelid to see if you can get away with going to work with two pink eyes.

6:54 am: Your roommate’s shriek upon seeing your face in the hallway prompts you to forlornly report your sick day. It’s your first in six years at the organization. (It’s been an awesome six years. Until today. Today is terrible.)

7:30 am: Realize with horror that Janice assigns the fall project to either you or Larry today. Larry is your arch-nemesis. You must. Beat. Larry. Larry steals your limelight and you have sacrificed too much to share the praise. Pull out your voodoo doll of Larry and insert a pin while simultaneously pressing your positive affirmation button.

9:00 am/16 hours since you last received positive performance-based feedback: Your team’s conference call isn’t until 10. Sigh and flip through the channels. It’s all garbage. What do people do when they’re not working? Call up your friend Gloria from high school and ask her how she can stand having all that free time. She does not seem pleased.

10:00 am: You dial into the conference call, but you clear your throat before you can mute yourself and Janice asks if that’s you, Esther, and what are you doing working on a sick day, Esther, so you hang up in shame.

11:15 am: Decide to set up your living room like your office. You’ve heard that familiar settings help people relax. Walk around the room and put your hands in a jar, pretending it’s the jelly bean jar on Janice’s desk. Pretend Janice tells you you’re wonderful. Shake your head modestly. Make the executive decision to seat voodoo doll Larry in a makeshift cubicle instead of his window office. Good luck getting any natural light now, sucker. Puncture his doll flesh with two more pins.

12:00 pm: Sift through your favorite news site and copyedit all of the articles from the past two weeks. You find 57 errors. Unprofessionalism. Call up the editor (you have his number on speed dial) and he “accidentally” puts you on hold—again. He really needs to figure that out.

3:00 pm: A commotion on the street prompts you to walk outside. See Child 5 and Child 6 (you’ve numbered the neighbors for efficiency) and Mothers 2 and 3 setting up a lemonade stand. Run upstairs, print out your 10 page CV, put on an eyepatch to hide your pink eye (mothers are way too overprotective) and beg them for a temp position.

5:15 pm: You’ve destroyed the sign that says 25 cents a cup, added the word “artisan” and upped the price to $3.50. Easy. Child 5 and Child 6 get distracted and start playing with weeds. Peasants. You’ve already turned a profit. The mothers seem unsure of what to do. “I guess we’ll donate it.” Whisper to 5 and 6 that you will invest this money for them now—they’ll thank you someday when social security runs out. Sprint away cackling.

7:00 pm: Download eight dog walking apps and walk eight dogs at once, while also coordinating a UN conference (a subcommittee you’re working with as a freelance gig). Check your email and feel your heart sink—Larry got the project. Name the pit bull Larry. Walk Larry the pit bull to Larry the human’s house. When human Larry eventually walks outside, let dog Larry go in for the tackle as you rub your infected eye on stupid human Larry’s face. Larry’s going down.

9:00 pm: Apply to 27 jobs for fun (your therapist told you that “hobbies are healthy”) and get them all even though it’s 9:00 pm—you’re just that good. Tell Janice. Get promoted immediately because you’re a boss. (Well, not literally. But you’re senior to Larry now!) Wink with your one good eye at voodoo/now-Swiss-cheese Larry. Celebrate your promotion by creating 94 new subfolders on Google Drive.

4 hours and 16 minutes until you get to go back to the most magical place on earth and no that place is not Disneyland, Janice, it’s the office: Drink an espresso shot—your personal Melatonin—and settle down for your nightly pre-work nap.


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