Perhaps one of the toughest calls in “parental baseball” is when to send the child to school and when to keep them home based on the pathetic and wildly overplayed dramatic performances that must play out on hundreds of thousands of bedroom stages each and every day.
If you’ve never had the opportunity to witness such a performance, it’s guaranteed (I don’t care who you are) that you’ve at least given one yourself.
“Oh, Mom . . . ack – cough. . . I feel so – ack – cough (while pulling your hair straight back on your forehead) ba, bad . . . I think I’m (long pause for full effect here), Si-ICK.”
That last word is said as though you were holding the word itself in your hand and it has the consistency of a 2 week old dead jelly fish and the smell of something worse . . . “Si-ICK . . .” It has now become a two syllable word and you utter it as though you are right on the verge of regurgitation when the “ICK” part is pronounced. Clearly someone should contact the mortuary and let them know that an extra case may be on the way. I mean really, it could be just that bad.
Of course, no amount of having given your own Oscar winning performances will help you discern whether the one you are witnessing as a parent is as real or as fake as the stuffed lion at the foot of the bed. I have sent them off to school only to have them back by noon with a temperature of 103. I have allowed them to sleep in and stay home only to find them propped up later on my bed watching TV and eating hot buttered popcorn with a Root Beer in one hand and a remote control firmly in the other.
“Hey Pop, what’s up?”
“I thought you were Si-ICK today.”
There is a very long pause as they realize they are perhaps looking a little less than Si-ICK.
“Uh, . . . (throat clearing sounds) yeah, I am . . . Just feeling a little bit . . . ack – cough . . . better . . . I think maybe I’ll go lay down a while . . .”
“You already are lying down.”
“Yeah – guess I am . . . but maybe I should be in my bed . . .”
“Yes, maybe you should.” (“In the bold faced liar’s section at the State Hospital,” you want to add – but you don’t. Gotta let them keep a little pride as they muck their way through a day when they know they aren’t exactly on the best side of life.)
Mothers are the worst. (Yes, I mean all of you.) They not only fall for these acts with little to no attempt at any sort of “credibility evaluation,” but they reward the little offenders (Si-ICK or not) with all manner of tender loving care – everything from ice cream to homemade soup to time on the game cube to special magazines from the local convenience store.
“Well – I just thought he might be getting bored . . .?”
But with that kind of treatment how do you think Junior is going to respond the next time he’s contemplating a little Russian vacation?
You also can’t help but remember the last time you were a bit under the cloud deck with a fever of 100 or so (that felt like 112 because you are so darn old now) and the best you can remember getting was the mail brought to your bed so a late bill might be promptly paid. But Junior, who’s as healthy as this year’s Derby winner gets more attention than a baby at a Junior League meeting.
For the record, however, it should be noted that I gave a few fine performances in my time and clearly our children did not fall far from the paternal tree in this regard. Son Rob today put on a “swine flu performance” that was one for the ages – complete with a grim nauseous countenance at 7:00 AM that would have had Hollywood agents extending contracts over top of each other.
Of course, by 11:00 AM he was solidly ensconced on the sofa next to his loyal dog with his macaroni and cheese and soda pop watching the History Channel and talking up a storm about how “the marksman of the past are so much better than anyone around today . . .”
Not when it comes to acting son.
He looked so darn comfortable there, I really wanted to join him, but alas tomorrow’s deadline was looming and I had plenty of work to do. But I may just feel the slight touch of a fever coming on. I’ll be sure to take my temperature when the presses finally stop.
Wouldn’t want anyone else around here to get si-ICK.By Stuart Revercomb [email protected]