A one-time school project gone terribly, terribly wrong.

11 October 2006


It feels as though I'm honing for another cold.

I posted earlier that "there's no worse way to spend a sick day than actually being sick". In fact there is: spending a day at work being sick.

My work involves writing and comment on industrial safety, and lately a topic of concern, along with the soi-distant coming epidemics of avian flu, regular flu, rockin' pneumonia and boogie-woogie flu comes a rising concern about "presenteeism".

Presenteeism refers to the tendency of some people (particularly men, but women are by no means immune [a-hem]) to drag-ass into work despite their raging fever, open and suppurating sores, or the fact that they're spewing blood, vomit, and viruses from every orifice.

This idiocy is probably the greatest boon to disease ever. The psychology of the tough guy will doubtless be a major factor when the Next Big Epidemic arises.

However--workplace sickness policies in North America are also largely to blame.

Economics, it is said, is about scarcity. By assigning limited numbers of "sick days" we create scarcity and commoditize them. They acquire value.

So: "Why waste my valuable sick days being sick?" When I could be fishing? Working on my Nash? Trying to scour up parts for my Yamaha U7e?

Instead we drag ourselves in to work until we are not just at death's door, but standing in the foyer investigating his umbrella stand.

This is where it gets really stupid: When you're infected with the flu you aren't contagious at the worst stage. Nope--when you feel the worst you couldn't give it away, not if you saved up a vat of your snot and dipped someone in it (I am not reccomending this in any way).

It's when you first start sniffling that you're passing out viruses like a clown scattering candy into the crowd at a parade.

Or when you finally "pull through". On the first day that you wake up and realize you're finally a hundred percent better, all your viruses are making a run for the lifeboats, having been trounced by your immune system, once it figured out what the problem was and who those rude strangers in your lymph nodes were. They're looking to find a new home in someone whose immune system might not notice them for a bit.

At both of these times, you're probably at work.

How many people do you meet? How many surfaces do you touch in that time? How possible is it that you're starting the cold that'll have the whole world sneezing?

So we need to change sick day policy. Why not have a number of "sick weeks". Say four per year.

Under this system you would be obligated to stay home as soon as you felt off colour. You would remain home through the ensuing immune system unpleasantries and return to work only three days after the cold wore off. Then you couldn't infect anyone else.

The math goes like this: current system, one person takes three days off but infects three more people who each take three days off. Cost: 12 person-days.

Metro system: one infected person takes a week off. Cost 7 person-days.

Personally, since you only pass on the viruses when you're feeling well, I suggest staying completely away from work until you feel sick.

However it's a moot point for me, as I have not yet worked here long enough to accumulate any sick days anyway.

Besides, where else should I go to blog?


At 11:55 p.m., Anonymous raincoaster said...

Sick days. I once had a job where I had paid sick leave.


There's your real problem. At least half of the workers in BC have no paid sick leave. Half! And those people are packing your groceries, serving your drinks, cleaning your houses, etc etc...

At 7:26 a.m., Blogger Metro said...

Ah-ha! So all I need do is let go the maid and the chauffeur!

At 9:15 p.m., Anonymous raincoaster said...

And the waitress and the barista and the guys at the grocery store and the...

you've heard the joke:

Husband, to wife: If you could cook, we could fire the chef!

Wife: If you could fuck, we could fire the chauffeur!

At 10:52 p.m., Blogger Metro said...

The little boy woke up in the night with a terrible cry. His mother rushed into the room.

"What's wrong son?"
"Oh Mummy, I had a terrible nightmare! I dreamed we were all in the parlour, and everyone was wearing black. And when I asked why someone said 'Your grandmother is dead, child'."
"Hush now, Timmy--it was just a dream."

But it wasn't. The very next day the boy's grandmother tried to pry toast out of a live toaster and was electrocuted.

The next night the boy had a similar dream.
"What did you dream, son?" asked his dad.
"There were people all in black, and when I asked one of them why he said 'Your grandfather has passed away, boy'."
"Hush now," says the father, nervously "It's just a dream."

But the next day the old man was struck by a car as he was taking his daily walk.

The next night the boy dreamed again.
"They were all in black again," he told his parents "and one of them told me my father was dead!"

Gravely the parents put him back to bed, then they brewed a pot of coffee.

"The boy's been right every time so far," says the mother.

"All right then," says the dad "They say you should live each minute as though you were about to die, and I can't think of a better time to start.

Tomorrow I'm going to get up and phone in to work. First I'm going to tell that lousy Mr. Frimp what I really think of him, then I'm gonna quit.

After that I'm going to have a big old plate of waffles with maple syrup and sausages. Then I'll take the boy to school. I'll go out to the course and play a round of golf. While I'm there I'm gonna give that snotty club owner a piece of my mind. I'm going to have a couple of beer, and then I'll head home. I'll play catch with Timmy, and then if I get the chance I'm gonna take you to bed for a night you'll remember long after I'm gone."

Touched by his bravery, his wife smiles.

The next day the father gets up and does just as he promised. After a bit of a funk in the morning, he cusses out his boss, quits, and has a great brekky. He drops Timmy off, and, not trusting himself to speak, zooms off to the golf course. There he gives the promised lecture to the club owner and a few others into the bargain.

Returning home he finds a police car parked in his drive.

"What's going on honey?" he asks as he enters the house.
"Oh it's alright for some," she says bitterly. You've been off golfing all day while I've been going through hell!"

"What happened?" he asks in astonishment.

"The milkman dropped dead on the porch this morning!"

At 1:13 a.m., Anonymous raincoaster said...

Now I know why you've been doing all the punning; it must be the drugs! That NeoCitran is wicked stuff, man.


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