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Friday, December 14, 2007

Duvet Day, hurray!

The Last Word column from Day and Night magazine in today's Irish Independent

’Tis the season to be sickly, what with cold, flu, chilblains, everything-itis, and, of course, raging, Herculean, psychopathic hangovers due to Christmas party mania. The mornings are dark, cold and wet. All modes of public transport are packed to the gills, and are even more intolerable than usual due to mercurial heating systems that infuse the vehicles with either Arctic chills, or doze-inducing heat. I think you’ll agree that in the face of such woes, sometimes your only bet is to chuck an old-fashioned, restorative sickie.

Like many people, I'm always wracked with massive guilt when I ring in sick (er, which I never do) — even when I genuinely am sick (er, which I always am). I just never feel like bosses believe you. You could look something like Gollum from Lord of the Rings, retching your guts up, barely able to move — and still be made feel bad about the fact that your blood, sweat and tears will not be able to oil the wheels of the great, heartless capitalist machine for one measly day.

Of course, the first task in the great sickie game of subterfuge is calling in sick — should you do it yourself, or have someone do it on your behalf? I personally feel phoning yourself is the best option, even if it does necessitate that you dig deep down to bring out your inner Meryl Streep, conjuring a voice that suggests you've been up all night curled around the toilet. I find that adding a tonal shift towards the end of the call that implies it's breaking your heart not to be able to make it in today is a nice, almost subversive touch.

If you're smart, you should pick a mid-week day for your sickie scam. Sciving off on a Monday or Friday is just asking, practically begging, to be caught out, the duvet day equivalent of OJ Simpson writing that If I Did It theoretical murder book.

But once the awkward, Oscar-worthy phone call is sorted, the day is your own. That sneaky, hard-earned sleep-in on your duvet day is amongst the most relaxing naps you'll ever have. Naturally, you can't go outdoors because you're too ill to get up and/or you can't be seen, so the only option is to then take to the couch. And as we all know, your duvet is always more comfortable on the sofa than it is on your bed, kind of like how crisps are always nicer when you're taking them from someone else's bag.

At this point it's time to build your comfy sickie fort, replete with all the resources you'll need for an afternoon of lounging. Once you have Neurofen, DVDs, soup, tea and various selections of biscuits within arm's reach, there's very little need or, indeed, incentive to move, save for wholly inconvenient bathroom breaks (at least until those adult nappies become mainstream and/or socially acceptable).

Then, as the Americans are wont to say, it's time to let the healing begin. It's amazing what a visual diet of Oprah, Aussie soaps, Blathnaid/Sheena/Joe-ige and endless Friends' repeats can do for the system. By the time your housemate(s) or partner arrives home from work, soaked through and half-dead on their feet, you'll be just slowly scraping yourself off the sofa, and probably on the verge of screaming if you hear, "So no-one told you life was gonna be this way..." emanating from your telly one more time — surely the ultimate sign that you're ready to go back to work the next day.

So go on. Don't you deserve just one day? You know you want to. Just don't all do it at once, please. After all, someone's lowly worker-monkey blood has to keep the capitalist wheels greased while you're dossing.

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