Is it possible, as an adult, to recapture the comforts of a sick day? When I had a fever or an upset stomach — mere colds were not enough to excuse one from school — I was put to bed in my room, the old black-and-white television playing at the other end. Pre-remote, it would usually stay on one channel all day, not that there was anything good to watch. No, between “Dialing for Dollars” and “Dark Shadows,” it was mostly soap operas. (I got hooked on “One Life to Live” at an early age, largely because it came on before “Dark Shadows.” I haven’t watched a soap opera since I stopped working nights, but they were good company once upon a time. I think it’s Lisa Alther who observed, in Kinflicks, that the appeal of soap operas, once upon a time, was how slowly they moved. She described a woman watching an episode that centered on shopping for decorations for a bridge party. I understand that’s changed these days.) My mother gave me Coca-Cola syrup and saltines if I was having trouble keeping food down. If I had a sore throat, there would be a snowball from the Windsor Hills pharmacy.
I have to say, lying on the sofa and drowsing to “Project Runway,” 200-plus channels at my command, just wasn’t the same. No cherry snowball. No saltines. No possibility that Stuart-What’s-His-Name was going to call me, and I would know the count and amount, maybe pocket $45. Okay, so Santino’s through to the final three, and Kara’s out. Did you really not see that coming, folks?
Under these conditions, I might as well work. So I put in my usual time this morning, as I did yesterday morning. But I wonder — what were the essentials of your childhood sick days?