Illustration by Ryan Alexander-Tanner

I'M IN THE MIDST of a terrible fever as I write this. My stomach feels like every religion's version of a negative afterlife. My skin aches, but not in that cool R&B-song way where sometimes you ache for someone. It aches in that way where your entire body feels active and full of horrible potential, like you're a human drum who can only produce an "Unnnnghhhhhhfffffff" sound.

It's in this current state of wack-as-fuckness that I've reached the conclusion that staying home sick from work is one of the terrible things about being an adult. There's nobody to buy you bananas or soup or whatever (unless you have a girlfriend who will courier you some juice, which I do, and it's great, but the point stands). There's no glory in the current slate of mid-morning television, it's just a bunch of sad human parades (Maury or whatever the fuck Judge shows are on the air) spliced with commercials that guess at why an adult is at home at noon on a Monday. Mesothelioma? Is it mesothelioma? Do you want to be a dental assistant? Mesothelioma? NO, ITT TECH, I'M NOT INTERESTED IN CLASSES. I HAVE A JOB AND AM MAKING SLIGHTLY MORE THAN THE MINIMUM PAYMENT ON MY STUDENT LOANS. SHOW ME A COMMERCIAL BEFITTING A MAN OF MY STATURE—LIKE A FUCKING HONDA COMMERCIAL OR MAYBE AN AFFORDABLE WATCH.

The entire experience is stressful, and only compounded by the idea that you're falling behind at work, which used to be so chill when work was the Old Spaghetti Factory. I loved falling behind at the Old Spaghetti Factory. The previous day's tables would not be waiting for me to screw up their orders or unknowingly dip my elbow in their extra ramekin of ranch dressing. They'd be gone. Dealt with. Not anymore. Now going back to work after a sick day is an endless string of emails from people named Mark and Debbie and other names that only exist at work. Those same Marks and Debbies will descend upon your office throughout the day with pleading faces and murmur through coffee-stained lips, "Hey, feeling better?" No. I'm not feeling better, Mark, because I guessed wrong on this current flu bug so now I'm sitting here, breathing painful breaths that feel like the wind whipping through the immediate aftermath of a Civil War battlefield, and now I have to turn my head that quakes and groans like a millstone and look you right in your khaki pants fucking face and say something like "Haha! On the mend." Fucking Mark.

Staying home sick from work, it seems, has aged like the cartoons of our youth. Remembered fondly, wistfully, but upon reliving the experience it does not hold up.

Oh shit, I forgot I have Netflix. Never mind!