I’m not feeling well today.
After two days of fevers and chills, my temperature is normal, but I have a dreadfully sore throat and a pounding headache.
Yet I’m going to work again today.
Part of it is the challenge that teachers face when sick. Oftentimes it’s easier to drag yourself into work and teach rather than planning for a productive day with a substitute teacher.
Part of it is the years I spent in jobs without the benefit of sick days, when missing work meant missing pay. When you are living on the edge of homelessness, you can’t afford to miss a day of work, and that mentality is difficult to shake.
Part of it is stupid machismo, which causes me to believe that it will take a hell of a lot more than a few microscopic germs to keep me from working.
Part of it is my inclination towards optimism. If I want to stay home, I need to arrange for a substitute teacher, and that can only happen if I call the night before. But when I am sick, I am often absolutely certain that I will feel better by morning.
In this case, it’s true. I do feel better. But I still feel rotten.
In this particular instance, I also blamed my wife. I told her that in the future, she must take a more hard line approach to keeping me home when I am ill.
“Do whatever it takes,” I told her last night. “You are supposed to be the voice of reason.”
This was stupid, of course, partly because it is not Elysha’s job to convince me to act responsibly, but also because she may actually do whatever it takes to keep me home the next time I am ill, in which case I am doomed.