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Illness: The Freelancer's Best Frenemy

Read Time: 2 min

Currently I have a uvula the size of a DayQuil lozenge pressing against the back of my tongue. After having gone to the doctor and gotten roughly a billion pills to fix the issue, I called all my friends and my mom pretending to be Julia Child. See, my doctor has a great job. He just walks in, looks at people, and writes little prescriptions for people. He doesn't even have to know what's going on, as is the case here. He just has to give me pills and then I take them. That is an awesome job.

You know what else is awesome? Being sick and working on deadline! In fact, if there's anything I prefer, it's slamming out an article while my drug-induced haze from antibiotics, antivirals, and steroids make me blurry. For kicks, I decided to throw in an antidepressant, some DayQuil, and–for some reason still not quite clear to me–my roommate's birth control pills. See, I don't think of myself as just a good writer. I am a great writer. So this is sort of like handicapping myself. It's a way to experience writing like the plebeians do. (I just misspelled that word.)

I'm sure we've all worked sick before, so there's ways to avoid getting in this situation. The first is of course to do your damn work ahead of time, but no one is that good. Anyone who works ahead to give themselves a buffer in case of illness or emergency is a nerd. Sorry. It's just true. You probably also sat up front in school and answered all the questions right and generally went on to be an academic success. Well, this 2.0 GPA didn't, so knock it off or I'll flush your head down the toilet.

The other thing you can do is contact your employer to let them know you might be late. Personally, I think that's a level of responsibility I'm not ready to take, so I prefer to pretend like my internet's not working or that I got robbed. That gets you bonus sympathy points. No one cares when you get sick as an adult, but they do care when your stuff's been rifled through. You can also claim the death of a relative, but be careful with long-term clients, as you may run out of relatives. To get around this, I claim right off the bat to be Catholic or Mormon, so I have dozens of fictitious extended family members to take out as I succumb to, say, food poisoning.

Now here's the deal. I really am legit-ass sick, so I think that this is very, very funny. Your mileage may vary, so leave me a comment below and let me know.

8 thoughts on “Illness: The Freelancer's Best Frenemy”

  1. Your timing is perfect, and I totally get the hilarity of this piece. I’m just now beginning to feel marginally human after having spent three days knocked on my ass by a vicious cold/flu/plague. Fortunately, the editor with whom I work most often picked up on my condition during a phone call (possibly because I currently sound like the love child of Darth Vader and Bea Arthur), and was most sympathetic. However, I still have to meet a deadline in about…um, 35 minutes, so I’d best quit farting about on the web. Hope you feel better.

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  2. I have to agree with you — this is a post of unparalleled comedic genius. Plus it gives good and practical advice too, which I can vouch for. Growing up with an extended Mormon family and marrying into a Mormon family, I can confirm that you are correct in saying that there is no shortage of relatives a desperate Mormon freelancer can claim have bit the dust when an excuse or deadline extension is needed.

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  3. I planned a “vacation” to get a new hip. Finished all projects ahead of surgery, told all my clients I wouldn’t be available that week, and was quite proud of myself.

    Then a lingering cold produced white blood cell counts too high for me to be admitted to the hospital. (Too sick to go to the hospital?) So I’ve sat here unemployed for a week taking antibiotics, with no idea when my WBCs will be low enough or when my surgeon will be able to reschedule.

    So if anybody has anything short to be copyedited or proofread—

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