Tuesday, October 24, 2006

On phoning in sick

On phoning in sick

Photo: Pandemian.com"Your phoning-in-sick voice. It's rubbish."

OK, I'll be first to admit that when I call in sick to work, I adopt an involuntary whiny whine that sounds about as convincing as Jade Goody addressing the Oxford Union. I can't help it. Everybody does. Every single phoning-in-sick I've taken for years on end has been of the whiny-cough-cough variety, even from people who are clearly at death's door.

It's dreadful, and forces one to evaluate your entire phoning-in-sick strategy. Should you do your own phoning-in, or should you get a friend, spouse or relative to do it for you? What tone of voice should you take, and is it wise to record a few helpful sound effects, such as the sound of a handful of frozen veg going into the toilet bowl? Nowadays, I eschew all whininess and go for the Australo-Cockney "Awight geezer. I'm a bit crook. See ya when I see ya" followed by a huge hacking cough and the pre-recorded sound of a handful of frozen veg going into the toilet bowl*

The problem with getting someone else to do your phoning in sick, is that it leaves you open to accusations that you are already halfway to the races, an appointment with your cross-dressing whip-wielding master, or similar. Not that I'd know, obviously.**

The phone-ee must plan their calling-in technique carefully, and still remember to ensure that it all comes together on the big day when you actually end up genuinely sick. I must confess one occasion, the day after I first moved out of my parents' house and into a flat with the soon-to-be Mrs Duck, when I found myself too chuffin' exhausted to get myself in for a late shift that evening.

It being olden times, and we hadn't quite risen to the top of the Post Office waiting list for a phone, I was forced to stagger out into a beautifully sunny afternoon and use a public phone booth. In Reading town centre. Outside the Butts Shopping Centre. With every bus in the world roaring past. And music blaring for a nearby fashion emporium.

And Motorway Tyres still believed me.

Look: Here's how to do it properly.

* Note to employers: May contain traces of lie

**Though if anyone knows of a good ointment, my ...err... corrupt uncle would be pleased to hear.

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