There’s a particular feeling you get in your gut just after you send the, “Sorry, I’m sick” text message.
Mostly, you feel a distinctive mix of guilt and anxiety, followed by the fear that whoever just received your message might a) hate you or b) think you’re lying.
It doesn’t matter, of course, that you’re telling the truth. You know deep down that your absence will be an inconvenience, and the distance of text makes it impossible for someone to gauge your authenticity.
This fear predated the mobile phone. Twenty years ago, employees mastered their very sick phone voice so their illness was adequately and convincingly performed. But how on earth do you perform sickness in a text message?
POST CONTINUES BELOW: We discuss on Mamamia Out Loud… is it ever okay to text in sick?
Well, you can make a few typos so it looks like you’re disoriented and so unwell you can no longer see.
Or you can include superfluous details about the frequency of bowel movements or the heaviness of your 12-day-long period. Perhaps you need to identify what you ate last night that has caused you to vomit four times since 1am. But with all the descriptions in the world – you could still be lying… and no one wants to be thought of as a liar.
So – a former colleague of mine came up with a solution.
The ‘sickie selfie’.
I can recall every one of them, mostly because they were traumatising.
The first was during a bout of food poisoning. She texted our boss, apologising for her absence, and there was no issue whatsoever. And then came the picture.
There was vomit in the toilet. It wasn’t the right… colour… not that vomit is ever the right colour. Her face was in the foreground, white and drawn, to prove it was HER vomit, and she hadn’t just googled a picture of vomit on the Internet and sent that through.