The Sick Note
“Dere Teecher. I am sory that Tommy canot cum to skool toda as he has a teribbul cold. Yores fathefully, my mum.”
Everybody has some form of sick note story from school or work, whether as a sender, as a parent, or – most often – as a sceptical co-worker, forced to cover for some malingering colleague under dubious circumstances.
Work as a PE teacher, in HR or simply in any form of office or factory environment and before too long you’ll have seen it all: ailments, twinges, limps, toothaches, headaches, backaches, mysterious 24-hour viruses, unspecified ‘things that really need checking out’, Firstdayoftermitis, Doublemathsitis, Mondayitis, Fridayitis, kebab poisoning, ‘probably nothing but I don’t want to infect the whole office’ and ‘a touch of ebola; should be okay after the weekend.’
This creates a climate of disbelief around the sick note, an unfairness that is intensely irritating to those people who do suffer the genuine misery of backache, migraines etc.
And while we’re here, can I just repeat to my managers here at Drumond Park board game development HQ that it was a TOTAL AND GENUINE COINCIDENCE that the start of the Rugby World Cup coincided with the onset of my debilitating allergy to dice.
If you discover that your nickname at work is ‘sicknote’ then this is probably an indication that you’ve gone too far. The most famous sicknote-moniker goes to Spurs and England midfielder Darren Anderton, who sits atop the Google rankings for many variations of the phrase, whether fairly or unfairly (you be the judge). So if there are any footy-fans on your Articulate team then ‘Darren Anderton’s nickname’ is probably your best approach should the S-word appear on your card.
Governments are constantly on at GP’s to issue fewer sick notes, but it’s unlikely that we’ll need to retire this particular card any time soon. More threatened perhaps (by SMS and email) is its cousin, the ‘cowardly phone call to work before the office is open, in order that a message can be left on the voicemail in a suitably ill voice.’
Perhaps we ought to include that one in Best of British…
We’ll leave the topic of ‘sick note’ with two YouTube videos: Darren Anderton (feeling perky that day) netting for England against Sweden, followed by seminal Irish folk band ‘The Dubliners’ with their version of the classic ‘Paddy’s Sick Note’