When I was seven years old, I complained of an ear-ache to my mum.
It was so painful that attending school would be literally impossible, is what I claimed.
Mum was suspicious. This was after all, the fourth consecutive Monday that I had complained of an ailment that rendered me unable to even contemplate doing basic arithmetic or practise spelling.
“We’d better go to the doctors then hadn’t we?” –
She thinks she’s calling my bluff, but I agree because this is preferable to sitting through Miss Pearce’s reading of Charlotte’s Web.
Doctor Patel gets out one of those ear-looking-into-thingamajigs and takes a look into my ear. My mind is racing for excuses as to why there is no evidence of ear-ache. Maybe I will say “Oh is that my ear? I thought this was my ear!” And point to my head.
As it happens, such elaborate false claims were not necessary.
“It does look pretty red, and a little swollen” says the doctor.
Ha! You fucking idiot! I’ve tricked you both. One has ten years parenting experience, the other has trained for five years to become a GP and they have been tricked by a year 2 pupil.
“Can I have a lollipop now?” I ask. Which isn’t a random request, they gave them away to kids.
5 minutes later I’m skipping down the road sucking on a chupa chup wondering how I will spend the rest of the day. The whole day is mine. I think I made a den out of cushions.
Skip forward 20+ years and history is about to repeat itself .
“I’m sorry I just *cough* feel awful, I mean I’ll come in if there’s anything urgent. *sniff* I think there was that team meeting?”
I’m told by my manager that it’s best to stay home and recover. Immediately after hanging up I dance around the room, thinking back to Doctor Patel and his incorrect diagnosis. Why are people so thick? You just tell them you’re ill and they just believe you, how weird is that?
So now I am free. Free from responsibility, free from powerpoint, free from expectations. I feel totally and utterly liberated. Until my housemates get home around 6pm that is.
The reason for my deception is that I’ve got quite into the snooker world championship recently and O’Sullivan plays Ding Junhui at 11. Now I get to enjoy all of the build up and punditry sat in my pants eating Hula Hoops. What a life.
By 12.30pm the game is over and I wonder if it was really worth taking a day off for. By 1.30pm I’m desperately bored, by 2.30pm I’ve learned that there’s only so many episodes of Top Gear you can watch back to back on Dave. I decide to go to the shop to buy some shampoo which I don’t need, this kills thirty minutes. Just three hours to go until I will have some company.
6pm finally arrives and right on cue housemate Baz walks through the door.
“You’re home!” I say pointing out the obvious
Baz slowly places his bag down on the floor and looks past me to the living room.
“Alan, what’s that giant pile of cushions?”
The next day I return to work and Jane informs me that Jill from accounting was off ill yesterday too before declaring, “There’s something going around.” This works to my advantage,
“Jill from accounting! Wow, if she’s off sick then it must be bad!” There are at least 3 others in earshot who would have subconsciously registered the fact that my illness was real.
A week later I meet Jill from accounting for the first time. I just about manage not to wink and say “That was a great 147 for the rocket wasn’t it?”