There must be something in the employee handbook that says "If the employee feels s/he is getting sick, s/he must report immediately to lacochran's office."
Monday, a relatively new co-worker drops by. We'll call him Millard.**
Me: Hi, Millard! How ya' doin'?***
Millard, so germ infested he appears hazy: Not so good. Really, *Mill pauses here for dramatic effect* I feel lousy.
Me: You should go home and get some rest.
The Millster: No, I'll stay.
The Millinator: God, I feel like crap.
Me, wishing I had a can of Lysol to spray at and around him: If you feel so bad, why are you staying?
Millerino: I don't want to take leave. I'll be okay.
You?! What about me, Germy McGermster?? I don't mean to be unsympathetic but GET THE HELL AWAY FROM ME!
I'm not the kind to walk around with hand sanitizer or anything. I just don't want people wheezing death on me. Is that too much to ask?
Millard came back into my office later in the day just to give me an update!
MillMania,catchit!: Is it getting warmer? I feel warmer. I may be getting a fever.
Me: You probably don't want to kid around with something like that. Knock off early. The boss will understand.
MilliVanilli, our own viral Johnny Appleseed: Nah, but I do feel kinda lightheaded. Well, have a good day!
Thanks so much for stopping by and sharing your no doubt highly infectious disease with me.
Amazingly, Millard's behavior is not unusual. My office seems to emit a high pitched frequency that can only be heard by sick people (and whiners). It draws them in every time. It was only a few months back that I had another coworker, let's call her Zelda, stop by and the following conversation ensued:
Zelda, teeters and crumples against my door frame.
Me: Zelda! Are you okay?
Zelda: Yeah. Doctor says I have some sort of flu... and now I've got pink eye, too.
Zelda proceeds to come into my office and sag into a chair, plopping her belongings onto my table.
Me: Maybe you should be home resting.
Zelda: Too much w--*Zelda ducks* Man, did you see that?! What was that?!
Me: What was what?
Me: You just...
Me: Look, you're obviously very ill. Go home. Get some rest.
Zelda, now taking my stapler in her germy hands and snorting the snot up into her head between every few words: Too much work to do. I'm gonna borrow your stapler to put these presentations together, okay?
Me: Didn't you just say you have pink eye?
Me: Isn't that highly contagious?
Me: Then why are you in my office holding my stapler?!
Me: Take the stapler. Keep it. Go back to your office. Better yet, go home!
Zelda: You're so sweet to worry about me.
People, sick leave isn't about you. It's about protecting me from the disgusting diseases you manage to embrace. No one is going to heap praise upon you because you worked when you should have been home in bed ridding yourself of the Beelzebub that has inhabited you. You are not going to get a gold star. No one's life depends on you getting your stupid little Powerpoint presentation together or whatever it is you think the organization desperately needs you to do. So stop being a martyr and stop spreading your nastiness and go home!
* Speaking of masks, my neighbor wears a pollen mask and huge, 1970- style noise cancellation earphones when he mows his grass. He looks ridiculous!
** How come nobody is named Millard anymore? It's a pretty sexy name. I'll bet Millards get all the chicks they want.
*** I'm always upbeat with new employees. They're always enthusiastic about their fresh new ideas that everyone who has ever worked for the organization has had in their first weeks and now knows won't fly. It's entertaining. ****
**** Okay, okay. Enough with the footnotes.