Today I’m going to talk about wanting to be sick.
I don’t think I’ve talked about this before. It’s hard to be sure, since when I’m usually writing about being sick, I’m in the throes of being sick and, if you’ve ever been thrown-around by sickness yourself, then you know that your mind, at that time, is usually as transparent as a fog bank.
Now, I’m not sick anymore. Or so I’m pretty sure. I feel a little weak, still, and my body’s processes are a little wonky, and I’m still coughing. But not as much. And not as long.
But, overall, I’m not sick anymore.
Believe it or not, there was a time when I wanted to be sick.
I’m pretty sure you’ll believe it because this time I speak of was during grade school and when you were a kid you probably had similar dreams of sick days. You know, those dreams where you’d get to stay at home and read or watch television or play video games, and when the bell rang and all your friends were released from school’s chains, you’d rush outside and join in their reindeer games.
Because, by then, you’d be miraculously better.
Amazingly, I remember some sick days actually being like this. (Whether these remembered days were fever dreams themselves has yet to be determined.)
More often, I know, I would lay in my bed in a room with the shades drawn under the hulking bulk of the top bunk with a vomit bowl for company.
Since I’ve been on my own – I’d mark this point as going to college – I have emphatically not desired to be sick. For one thing, there was nothing that sickness allowed me to avoid that I couldn’t avoid on my own. If I didn’t want to go to class, well, there was no one forcing me to. If I didn’t want to go to work, I could simply not show up, or I could try and get my shift covered by someone else. If I didn’t want to turn in a paper because I didn’t have it done, I could just not turn it in (though, to be honest, this trend started before I graduated from high school).
Of course, all of these choices have consequences.
And I suppose that’s where the desire for sickness comes in when young. If I have a fever, I can’t be held responsible for not showing up at school, and a note from my mom or dad or a doctor – the ultimate authority – means that all my personal responsibility is erased. There are no consequences.
Correction: There were no consequences.