Sick and Wrong

It's coming... it's coming closer... and closer...

Imagine Jaws music playing in the background and now imagine me panicking like a swimmer who wants to get away from a shark that is bigger, meaner, and more pointy-toothed.

So I sit at a station where there are three computers crammed in together. On Monday, the guy who works at the farthest computer from me (a distance of two yards) came in to work very, very sick. I mean, we're talking just short of death here. He sat at his desk and coughed and hacked. Sometimes he'd make these wheezing noises that were sick and deathly and terrifying---the kind of human suffering that you don't actually ever witness unless you're watching graphic, violent R-rated movies. There was this gurgling noise in his throat as he painfully exhaled and put his head in his hands.

All the while, I was sitting at my desk, wondering why he even came to work. I realize that we're student workers, so we're naturally hard-up for cash, and we don't get paid sick days. But sometimes you've got to do something for the common good. Like stay home.

Yesterday, the girl who sits between him and me came in to work. She flopped down on her seat, wheezing. The guy gurgled, "You sick?" She croaked some unintelligible response. She proceeded to log in to her computer and work. Every now and then, I'd hear long, low groanings and moanings coming from her chapped lips. Several times, she simply put her head down on her desk and didn't make any effort at all to work. She'd pass out for long periods of time. I maybe should have poked and shook her to make sure that she was still conscious.

Instead, I ran to the front of the room where the Clorox wipes are kept. I brought them back to my work station and proceeded to Clorox the hell out of it.

Now, I realize that I'm likely to call in sick when I discover I have a hangnail. That aside, shouldn't there be some sense of What's Good for the Community when you're deciding whether or not you should go in to work? Don't these people understand that their persistence in coming in to work will cost their coworkers time and money lost in work missed (because at least some of us have enough sense to stay home), time in classes missed, assignments handed in late, and bottles upon bottles of Nyquil purchased (thereby increasing alcohol consumption)? Get a clue, people. You're sick and wrong.


Limon said...

In high school I worked at a library, and I was actually very guilty of going to work when I was sick and staying home when I wasn't.
One time I went to work for weeks with what was probably undiagnosed bronchitis, coughing all over the books and periodicals I was shelving.
Then one day I was fine but didn't want to go, so on the way to work, I "fell" in the snow. I actually just rolled over a bit until I was uncomfortably wet and cold. Then I went home. I called in and they were confused, but since they couldn't yell, being in a library, I knew I could get off pretty easy.

Kelly said...

This little tiny old lady sitting in front of me on the train today let out this wracking 30-second Victorian consumptive cough just as I reached my stop. Then she uttered a little, "Excuse me." I feel like I should be tested for TB now.

Cicada said...

Waitaminute... come to think of it, Limon tested positive for TB this week! And I'm not even kidding. GET OUT OF THE OFFICE YOU SICK FREAK!

Limon said...

Hey, I've only coughed up blood twice this week. Isn't there any room for active recovery?

Coop said...

At I.S., there is no room for active anything. My elbows are bruised from Coworker Balding to the right of me.

Th. said...


My gosh. If I called in sick for a hangnail I would never go to work. Ever. I have eight right now.

I take it that's unusual?

daltongirl said...

Sadly, they don't put alcohol in Nyquil anymore. At least that's what my kids' pediatrician told me. Takes all the fun out of drinking it.

I think someone needs to send a memo. Or post a poem like they have on the nursery door:

If you have snotty noses
That are running like hoses
Stay at home for today
So the others can play.

Don't come in here, you jerk,
Then the others can work.

Lie in bed like a log
So the others can blog.

Nemesis said...

Cicada, I dare you to print out that poetic gem and post it on your computer somewhere.

But seriously, that's why college campuses are so rife with things like influenza and meningitis and scurvy. It's because people have no sense.

Stupidramblings said...


I feel positively replete with positive emotions after reading this post and its subsequent pseudo conversation.

Nevertheless, I agree. Tuberculosis is bad. Scurvy, however...

ps Thanks for the kind words you wrote on my blog.

Savvymom said...

I got mono one time and the DR said I probably got it from the water fountain when I was filling up my water bottle. So don't ever drink out of the fountains either.

daltongirl said...

Daltonboy thinks you should wear a surgical mask, like they do in Japan (only it's the sick people who wear them--not the people who are trying to avoid being sick or getting hangnails). He also thinks you should print out the poem on the front of the mask. I think you might make a powerful statement with something like that.

Cicada said...

I actually thought of wearing a sugical mask, too! I thought that it would very effectively get the point across. A surgical mask and gloves. And maybe I could fill a spray bottle with rubbing alcohol that I could spray in the faces of those who were infected and trying to talk to me while yelling, "Unclean! Unclean!"

Stupidramblings said...

As a sequel to this post, I think you should write

Sicker and Wronger: The Revenge.

Starring: Richard Simmons and Carly Simon in a whimsical tale about true love.

Buy it today on DVD and BETA.

Tolkien Boy said...

I hope you didn't get it.

Because I did.

cough, cough...