Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Don't Worry, I'm Not Actually Sick

Food service workers are not allowed to work while sick. There's very strict guidelines for that sort of thing: if you see someone working with a conspicuous cough, dashing to the bathroom every few minutes, or straight up puking on their lunch break, you send them home.

And in an ideal world, the transit time google maps gives me for I-94 is accurate whether it's 11PM or 9AM.

In reality, two forces come into play when you're sick:

a) You only get paid if you're there. Paid vacation time exists, but it's earned over a span of years, and must be submitted ahead of time. There's no such thing as calling in and taking a personal day.

b) Unless you get sent home, it's your responsibility to find coverage. Otherwise, tough luck, keep making those drinks and try not to cough so much, the customers are staring.

Once I worked three days with strep throat. By the end it was so bad I couldn't talk, and I communicated in gestures and written questions on receipt tape, like some unscrupulous mime. It took a visit to a real live doctor and a handwritten note for me to get out of work, along with the warning that I could not speak for at least three days. (I made it about two before I couldn't take the silence anymore.) My boss didn't want me working to begin with, but what could he do? His usual workweek ran above 50 hours, so covering me was out, and any hourly employees would've gone into overtime trying. It was a doctor's note or nothing.

Doctor's notes don't fix everything, though. An ER nurse's response to my predicament a few months later, when both my wrists were in such agony I had to drive to the hospital using my elbows? "I can write a note saying you can't perform any tasks at work using your hands." Remember: you don't work, you don't get paid.

Me: "There's nothing I can do at my job without my hands. I need to be able to work, can you do something for the pain?"

Her: "I can prescribe you Motrin."

Me: "Is it special Motrin?"

Her: "Well, it's a larger dose than regular Motrin. But you could just buy generic Motrin and take twice as much."

Me: "Could I get...something stronger...?"

Her: "Motrin."

That conversation cost me $110. I really must remember emergency rooms are for when you're about to die or about to give birth.

This. This is what I want to see when I have my time machine. I won't even go all Bad Guy From Timecop to make myself rich--

Okay. That's a lie. I'll totally steal Confederate gold using sweet machine guns. But I won't go full Ron Silver.

You never go full Ron Silver. Otherwise this happens.
I want a giant wool cake hat. I feel it will make me look solemn and wise.

I also like to think that Playboy apparel finds its way to Uyghur-ville in much the same way "Patriots 19-0" shirts find their way to Nicaragua: People need clothes. Clothes exist in abundance. Why not send them the clothes?

Alternately, Playboy is a popular brand in Uyghur-ville, which means if they're still a highly Islamic society their interpretation of the Koran is pretty badass.

Also, I plan on using "What do? Cat." any time I notice I've got extra space from here on in.

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