The Nothing Hour
Last Friday, one week ago today, I sat at my desk at work in the afternoon, my ears ringing from my illness and bubbles were coming out of my nose as I practiced my mouth-breathing skills.
All sounds were muted since my fallopian tubes (ear canals) were completely filled with snot and I felt like I was swimming underwater. Time had slowed to an interminable crawl and every half hour I checked my watch to see that only three minutes had gone by. Meanwhile my eyeballs started to burn as I tried to look at my computer display.
“Is this Hell?” I asked myself. Every fiber in my being only wanted one thing: To get off work and start the weekend, where, if the Lord would only smile on me, just this once, I’d be well enough to go back to the shit factory by Monday. (I know, what a lofty goal.)
Fast forward to today. I’ve got another week of living Hell under my belt and I found myself back in the exact same situation.
It was the most powerful feeling of deju vu I’ve ever experienced in my entire life.
Home now, I feel slightly better. That alone is enough to make me feel different. Not being at Work has remarkable restorative powers. Sure, my ears are still ringing and my snot is still the color of Nickelodeon slime, but I do actually feel a wee bit better.
I can’t believe the length of time I’ve had this crud. I don’t think I’ve ever been this sick in my entire life. So far 2011 has a shot at the worst year E-V-A-R. I’ve been like this for six weeks now with the current bout lasting 14 full days and still no end in sight.
Somehow I did make it through this week, though. The weekend is here. I will lay low, conserve my energy, ingest my snake oil and placebos, try to sleep as much as I can (epic fail) and try my damnedest not to set one toe outside of the house. I pity the fool who knocks on my door.
By the way, do you know how to tell the difference between effective and ineffective medicine? It’s easy. The shit that has absolutely no effect is the stuff you are allowed buy. This stuff has a code name. It is “Over The Counter” or OTC. There is a huge industry built around selling this fake stuff.
The shit that actually works? That’s the stuff you can’t buy, at least without tithing your physician a Benjamin ($100 bill) and even then there’s only a slight chance he might see things your way and prescribe something that actually works.
If the medical community had any brains at all, they’d put me in an induced coma and wake me up when this shit was over. Now that would be valuable medical treatment.
This week was the ultimate rat-in-a-spinning-wheel experience. Toss and turn and sweat fitfully all night long, where I’d lay awake in bed for hours, staring at the ceiling, then oversleep and find myself with 45 minutes to get ready for work.
I’d run around the house like a madman, skip breakfast, pray to God my car would start, get to work three minutes late, out of breath, then get pounded with the life or death pressures of selling useless crap on the internet.
Then get home when it was already dark, scramble to find something for dinner, then stumble to bed.
There sure is nothing better than being at work especially when you feel like death warmed over. Just the three of us: me, boss and coworker. The holy trinity of cough and snot. Coughing. Blowing our noses. And all in the confined space of a work area smaller than the living room in my house. No privacy and we’re all eating each others germs and phlegm. Yummy!
This week the boss added a new bit of hilarious fun. Sitting at his deck and hocking up loogies, oh God, and then noisily plop-plop-plopping that snot into his goddamn wastebasket under his desk.
Seriously. Is this Hell? If it is, can I at least have the courtesy of a little confirmation?
There was one bit of a bright spot this week, though. (I’ll go ahead and wait while you pick yourself up off the floor.)
I was able to jump off the rat race and get off work early a few days and briefly disrupt the vicious cycle. I came straight home and fell into bed. I wanted nothing out of life more than just fall asleep, which of course turned out to be the single thing which was denied to me. Funny how it works out that way. Even when sick I can’t nap. I did consider quaffing a bottle of tequila but somehow even in my condition I knew that would be a damn lame thing to do, even to get a few minutes of sleep.
What I discovered during these brief periods of rat race interruption, quite by accident, is something I’m calling The Nothing Hour. Lo and behold, this is quite the revelation. The idea is this: No matter what is going on in your life, you step outside of your normal bullshit rut (which is so deep you can hang posters) and do nothing for one motherfucking hour. Every day. No matter what.
That’s it. That’s the whole deal.
I’ve found that it works wonders. It’s like, “OMFG! What a strange sensation! What is this feeling? What is this doing nothing shit?”
This isn’t for the weak. The first couple of times I tried it the feelings were so alien they almost killed me.
Stop and smell the roses? Bah! Sure, do that, only skip the rose smelling part. Just do nothing!
My plan is to take an hour for nothing every single day for the rest of my life. And I’ll always carry a rocket launcher on my person to be used on anyone who attempts to fuck with my Nothing Hour.
This may very well be my greatest discovery yet. Greater than the GPS Dildo. Even greater than the Advent Calendar of the Seven Seals. Maybe I’ll get a trademark on this.
Of course, it goes without saying, even during The Nothing sacred time, somehow The Snot is still there. Fucking party crasher.
That’s sick, man
The message is clear. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) want you to “Stay Home!” when you’re not feeling well. They want you to call in sick.
Too bad, so sad!!!
I don’t want to overstate this, but I am literally a modern day super hero. I am Vector Man. My special powers activate the moment I start feeling ill.
vector: an organism (as an insect) that transmits a pathogen
I know, calling me an insect is quite the over-compliment but I’ll take what I can get.
It’s been at least six years since I last called in sick. And probably a lot longer than that. Unfortunately that’s just about as far as my memory works. I do know this: I’ve been at my current job about 4 months and haven’t called in once. And my previous job was 5-1/2 years and I never called in sick, either. I’ve got quite the streak going.
The problem? Staying home to protect the health of other people costs me money. I haven’t had sick pay since 2001. I also haven’t had health insurance since then, either.
The CDC seems to have the opinion that if people stayed home when they got sick that would be beneficial to society as a whole. Or some such shit like that. Whatever. I don’t live in that world.
Interestingly, if a cell is infected with two different flu viruses (such as H1N1 and H2N2) then the virus genetic material can be rearranged in the cell so that the released viruses include mixes like H1N2 and H2N1 surface molecules.
Source: Flu Terminology 101
This is what I call the double-whammy reverse incentive. I can’t afford to call in sick and I can’t afford to see a doctor. So I just work through it. Germ powers activate!
Saturday, out of the blue, my snotbubbles kicked on. Think of my snotbubbles as similar to Spider Man’s “spidey sense.” So I knew that Vector Man’s super powers were about to power up. That night a cold and/or flu thing came down on me like a ton of bricks. That was one hellacious night and when I woke up my body was feeling like it had tumbled all the way down Mount Everest. Every part of me was sore!
Sunday night was more of the same. When I woke up I was dead man walking. My wife told me to stay home from work. “Ha!” I scoffed in her face. “Vector Man has never failed to perform when needed.” So I dragged my sorry ass in to work and, for once, was successful at keeping my damn trap shut. (Which is, by the way, my #1 goal every time I go to work.) It was a busy weekend and I had a lot of ecommerce orders to ship. I worked half a day, got all my orders out, then asked to go home where I tried and failed to take a nap.
The thing is, and I learned this recently when on jury duty, when I’m not in the office no one does my job! Literally. When I came back to work every single order that had come in for three days was sitting there waiting for me. That really cracks me up! Think the customer is important? Think again!
It works like this: When the boss is there and you are there, the boss will ride your ass hard to make sure those orders go out. It doesn’t matter if they came in at 3pm. They will be going out today. Period. Even if you have to make a special trip to the goddamned post office. But, if the boss is there and you are not, suddenly that shit flies right out the window. Suddenly it’s perfectly fine and dandy for those orders to sit. For days. The message is loud and clear: Fuck the customer if anyone other than Vector Man has to get off their ass and do some actual work.
So yeah, today I will be hauling my ass into work one more time. Even though last night more than lived up to all of my wildest expectations. I’ll be working because no matter how sick I get, Vector Man has a responsibility to his fellow man.
Vector Man action figure includes Snotbubble (TM) fluid kit, Triple-Sneeze action (TM), Projectile Vomit Pack (TM) and Irritable Bowel Syndrome plug-in with motorized performance and temperature-sensitive paint. Odor Paks sold separately.
Thank God that Toy Biz v. United States determined that action figures are “toys” and not “dolls.” It wouldn’t be quite as macho to be a doll.
For more reading see Can’t call in sick scenarios.