Faking It

Today was music day and I am 10 years old.

I hate music days because I hate singing in public. I cannot carry a tune and my face turns beet red when I am asked to sing in front of people. You could see the glow in the dark when I try to sing God Bless America one more god damn time.

My school alternates between Music Days, Art days, and PE Days. I love PE days because who doesn’t love playing some volley ball and putting on 1980 style shorts? Yup, check out my 10 year old package ladies, please restrain yourself. Art Days are fun even though I can’t draw to save my life. But nothing compares to the massive embarrassment of Music Days.

So I make a decision. A decision that will affect me well into my adult life. I’m going to fake it. I’m going to skip Music Day at school and instead go to the arcade and play Flight Commander. I am a genius.

For the record, sticking a bar of soap in your armpit does not give you a fever. All it does is goop up your prepubescent pit hair and is a pain to get out. Don’t fake a fever, can’t be done. But how to fake? You need physical evidence people, something that your parents can look at and know without a doubt you are sick.

Being the enterprising 10 year old that I was, I came up with a recipe. Take some water and add spices. It doesn’t matter which ones, just a lot of it. The more the better, you are going for “pungent aroma”. Next, if you have any leftovers from last nights dinner, add some of that. Throw in some toothpaste so things will stick to it and float. Finally, add just a touch of Tabasco to give that red tinge that makes everyone worry.

Get up in the morning, make a retching noise and dump the polyjuice potion into the toilet and bam—instant throw up and physical proof that you are sick. Mom and Dad come running, splash some water on your chin and face and point to the toilet. No one wants to get to close to examine, they just verify the contents—some food, specks of stuff and random chunks. Bingo, you stay home and get to play video games and Music Day can rot in Hell. Hossman 1, Music 0.

I did this several times during that year to get out of music. I was the king faker, none better. But this scared me so I do not recommend it to the children reading this. Why? Because now, even when I’m sick as ba-jesus, I still think I’m faking.

You may have noticed that not a whole lot of blogs were posted this last week. That’s because I got the flu and every key stroke reminded me of bacon sizzling. I sat there for 4 days wallowing in my own crapulence. You could see the stink coming off of me. I was so hot that the air around me shimmered. It was terrible. And in my head, the whole time, all I could think was that I was faking it and should get up and go to work.

This drives my wife absolutely insane. I’ll get up and stumble while she reminds me that I am not faking it and am actually sick. I deny it until I fall down the stairs and knock myself out. I’ll try to do some chores and pass out in the washing machine. It makes life harder for her than need be, but I can’t help it.

I think it is the different ways our families handled being sick. Her family gave you a bell and soup until you were all well. That was the most ridicules thing I had ever heard. A bell? Who the hell gets a bell? The first time my wife got sick with me and asked for a bell, I called her mother then dropped her off at her house. I was not superdad then, I was ignorant 20 year old.

My family was a different story. I grew up in southern Arkansas and being sick was no excuse not to work. Let me tell you, you are sick a lot less often when it means you have to stack bricks rather than ring a bell. Sure, I had to hand mix some concrete while sick, but I threw up in the mix just to get even. When these were your options, you went to school a lot more.

But that was before my Dad went to college. When I was 10, he worked in an office and didn’t need me to do the stacking anymore. So yes, I pulled this trick not realizing that it would mess up every true sickness I would ever have.

I got chicken pox late in HS and went to school anyway thinking that I was faking it. I took off my own cast on a broken arm because I thought it had been on long enough and I was faking it. I rode my bike right after stitches on my knee because I thought the pain wasn’t real from the popping stitches. And I drive my wife completely nutty when I am sick.

She has to force feed me Tylenol and Nyquil, I won’t take it by myself. She has to put locks on the doors so I won’t leave. She has to fry and egg on my forehead to prove that I have a fever. All because I faked puke a couple of times.

This last time was no different. There were times that I was delirious and thought that the care bears had shown up. But I was terrified that everyone would think that I was faking it, given my track record.

Just for old times sake, I made the concoction one more time. I have to do this now to convince myself that I am sick. We call this Karma.

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