'if i go for 10, i'm probably gonna have to barf up a lung'
As I was heading out the door to go to work Thursday morning, the nurse at my sons' school called to tell me that my youngest had thrown up and was down in her office, waiting for me to pick him up.
(Typing that - "had thrown up" - made my stomach turn a little bit, because I'm not a good nurse when it comes to my kids vomiting. Additionally, my imagination kicked in and I got a sensory recollection of that horrid stuff the janitor would sprinkle on the floor when a kid christened the hallway or classroom and I totally gagged. Blech.)
Twenty minutes later, my little ashen face boy was nestled on the couch, under strict orders to aim for the bucket placed near his head if he felt the urge to purge, and watching the Cartoon Network. During a commercial, I rubbed his back and asked how he was doing. His response?
"What's for lunch, Mama?"
It was 10 a.m., the kid had just tossed up his breakfast 30 minutes prior, and he was ready to score a peanut butter sandwich. Might ye be fakin' this malady, me wee little laddy?
He assured me he wasn't faking, but you can't fool a pro! It takes one to know one, and in my day, I was a master faker! I don't know whether to be proud of him that, at the tender age of six, my kindergartner pulled his first fake sick day on me (I waited until I got my thespian skills down hardcore in eighth grade), or dismayed that we could be in for a long and illustrious career of this.
When I would pull a fake sick day on my parents, I used to work out the plan a good two days in advance. If the intent was to take the entire school day off, then the night before, I'd start with a few quiet moans and a random complaint that my throat was scratchy. The next morning, I'd not respond immediately when my mother would wake me. Maybe toss in a cough here and there. Then I'd wait. Wait for one of my parents to ask if I thought I should stay home from school. Tell them "Oh, I think I ::cough, cough:: can make it. ::BIG COUGH::." Then smile proudly, yet covertly, when they'd call the school office and tell them I'd not be in that day.
An hour later, when I knew both parents were firmly entrenched at work, I'd call my friend Cameron, tell him if he wasn't at my house within 15 minutes, he could find himself a new best friend, then we'd dupe our nitwit principal, pull my girlfriend, Sloane, from class, and tool the streets of Chicago in a Ferrari that Cameron's dad loved more than Cameron. Danke Shoen, my little sausage kings. Danke Shoen.
The full sick days were rare, however. More often, I'd go at least a portion of the day, lest the guilt of my ruse truly did make me sick. At the designated time - usually before lunch - I'd ask to be excused to go to the office, place that call to my mom, then walk home. Two blocks later and away from school, I'd break into a grin and hustle on my way. Most fake days weren't taken to get out of a test or some unfinished homework assignment. Quite likely, it was to get out of gym (again, my stomach just turned a little bit at that). Other times, it was because I just wanted a moment's peace, and if I could get a few hours home alone, more the better.
When I got home, I kicked into gear. For starters, a snack that wouldn't make it appear obvious the sick girl had eaten. Then, being a former huge General Hospital fan (and because we didn't own a VCR when I was growing up because it was the olden days and we went to square dances and read by the light of one tiny candle and would go to bed early to build our endurance for fighting off locusts bent on destroying our crops in the summer), I'd kill an hour watching. Finally, it would be show time! I'd pull my 45s out, load the stereo in the living room, and sing, baby, sing! Quarterflash's Harden My Heart, the Motels' Shame (Tricia Thongs and Penchant for Panties has lurked within me for a long time!), and the John Lennon tracks off the Double Fantasy LP. Occasionally, and sadly, sometimes I would toss in Chicago's Hard To Say I'm Sorry as an ode to my high school crush. Good, good times. What I figured was, dancing around the living room, emoting to the classics, I'd work up a set of flushed cheeks and maybe a headache if the music had been playing loudly. Settled down and ready for my parents to walk in the house by 5:30 p.m., I could still pass for quasi-sick, and the next morning always dawned with a miraculous recovery!
As the day wore on, as my son downed his peanut butter sandwich, crackers and juice, then danced around the house in anticipation of his older brother arriving home from school so he could play - all while remaining vomit free, mind you - I browsed the Internet on faking it and discovered nearly 2 million entries on how to fake being sick (aka "pull a Ferris"). The world is filled with sneaky little bastards, and again I was left proud and a little dismayed.
Today I am a straight arrow and I don't fake squat. I've got perfect attendance at work, and I can't bring myself to lie to get out of a commitment. Trying to act sick makes me short of breath and break out in hives, which perhaps qualifies me as sick, but I like to think it's just me being lame.
Tomorrow, 24 hours without vomiting (shudder), my kindergartner (who, for the record, I don't think was actually faking...at least not for the entire day) will return to school. As for me, the pro? I'm actually a touch sick with a sore throat and cough I can't seem to shake, but I don't think that will stop me from staging a festival in my living room. I'm thinking Scandal's The Warrior to warm up, then onto the Go Gos' Vacation. It's the cure for whatever ails you, fake or not.