A sickening plea
Dear Sick Kid,
I am curious as to why you came to class. I appreciate your dedication but you are obviously 10 minutes away from death and I wonder why you would want to spend your last moments on Earth in this lecture. There are so many great and exciting things you could do - sky-dive, cure a disease (preferably the one that currently ails you), find your soulmate, streak Newcomb (if you don't have much time left, you might as well go big), finally admit that you like Miley Cyrus' songs and not sneeze all over my right side - just to name a few.
You couldn't possibly be absorbing much information. It has to be difficult, if not impossible, to cough up bodily organs and pay attention at the same time. Maybe you have figured out the winning formula, but I know that I certainly cannot worry about my heart exploding and learn subjunctive conjugations simultaneously.
Your presence in class is distracting for everyone around you. Every time you cough or sneeze, we all have to pause to give you a dirty look, and that time adds up very quickly. In addition to the dirty looks, we have to rearrange our bodies to be slightly facing away from you every time you make a move - all the while trying to pretend we are not totally disgusted by your presence. It is quite a hassle. So, for the sake of your time and ours, don't attend lecture next time ... if you make it to a next time, that is.
While I realize that missing a class is the most heartbreaking event in some student's lives, I feel that in your case, staying home might be for the best. In college, it is a rare occurrence when you can legitimately miss class in the middle of a month when there are no finals or midterms. Gone are parent-teacher conferences, getting off for Jewish holidays when you're not even Jewish and leaving the Friday of National Honor Society inductions because the teachers didn't know the difference. Plus, according to the University, Memorial Day, President's Day and Labor Day aren't even holidays anymore. Seize the opportunity, sickling. Seize it.
If you do, for some reason, feel the absolute need to come to class, then you should at least clean yourself up a little bit. I am not one to get hung up on appearances but even I can only take so much. It is not respectable to have fluids dripping from every orifice on your face. It's called pride, my good fellow, and you should seek to acquire some. And if pride is too much to acquire at a moment's notice, then Kleenex shall be a fine substitute. Also, if you could please time your coughs so that they do not coincide with important announcements the professor makes, I would be eternally grateful. I know it is not customary for the sick to do this, but think of it as a courtesy to those of us who did not show up with the black lung.
I know all of your friends love being sprayed with phlegm and diseased saliva but I am no friend of yours, sir, and I do not enjoy such things. I am humbly requesting that you sneeze in the direction away from mine. There are people sitting in every other direction? Well, where are their humble requests?
Frankly, it seems as if you have been unwell for quite some time now, and I wanted to ask, what are you doing about it? Your mystery illness disturbs me greatly, and I think it's time to maybe, I don't know, get it checked out. I feel as though I have a pretty good grasp on the symptoms of common illnesses, and it seems you have all of them at once. It's been a long while, sick kid - a visit to the doctor is in order. I think things may be getting out of hand.
Thank you for taking the time to read this letter, and I only hope it reaches you before the start of class tomorrow.
Belle "I cannot get sick right now, I have a lot of things coming up" Gamble
Belle's column runs biweekly Thursdays. She can be reached a firstname.lastname@example.org.