It’s a day late, but I thought I’d try and help Cubs fans who regard going back to work so soon after their World Series triumph as an unreasonable intrusion into their celebrations. Besides, any business in Chicago that doesn’t shut down during the parade is just BEGGING for you to send them a letter like this.
So here’s my template for a letter to your boss telling her or him that you’re taking the day off, written to try and reflect the emotional basket case you all became for those 108 years…I mean 4.5 hours on Wednesday night.
I regret to inform you that I will be unable to attend work today, and possibly tomorrow, and that my motivation levels thereafter may be severely diminished, owing to the events of last night.
I don’t know whether you’ve noticed but I have a hard life. It’s not your fault, or at least your shortcomings as a boss are not a primary cause of my struggles. I blame my parents, and I know they blame theirs, and so on back through the generations. My great-grandparents though – they had it pretty good. I mean, they both died in their late 30’s but they had it good for a couple of years soon after the dawn of 20th century.
But about last night. As you know, I had my accountancy finals straight after work and that’s going to shape the rest of my career as you’ve never ceased reminding me. I’ve been feeling unbearable stress about that since the end of September. Those preliminary exams during October were harder than they should have been and I kept messing up parts of the paper I’d been acing in practice so it just made me feel worse about last night. Well, that and the fact that I flunked college because my grasp of basic maths was “woefully lacking” according to my tutor.
But as it turned out, the exam was great. Sort of. The first question was right in my wheelhouse and I knocked it out of the park. I knew everything about…whatever it was they were asking me and the rest of the exam had me feeling like I did so well in the first part that I could kinda cruise the rest of the way.
Straight after the exam I had to cook dinner for my sister-in-law and her boyfriend who has Tourette’s and hates my cooking – except I’d forgotten he was coming. I walked through the door with some good vibes from my exam and ready to kiss my wife, only to be greeted by the immortal words, “You %^% !@#$#@”. That set me back and then I had to run out and buy ingredients for stroganoff, which I hate but it’s the only thing he can tolerate that I can cook.
By the time the main course was over I felt like I’d pulled the evening around. It hadn’t even bothered me that he spent the whole time I was cooking looking over my shoulder and telling me in his breathy halitosis-ridden way that I was doing it all wrong and putting the ingredients in the pan in completely the wrong order and the beef was off. I told him I finished the good cut last night and had to buy chuck steak as that was all the shop had left and he said I shouldn’t have used the good stuff and I said, “BUT I DIDN’T KNOW YOU WERE COMING OVER!!”. At that point my wife intervened to calm things down but like I say I got through and it was OK.
Finally our guests left and I thought maybe we were in for some seriously romantic alone time. We’d just settled down when the phone rang – I’d won the lottery! Which lottery, I asked? After all, I enter pretty much all of them. $100,000 now or $10,000 a year for 20 years, they said. I said both please and they agreed, which surprised me but I didn’t want to argue and they seemed serious.
We were just settling down again when I noticed unopened mail on the table – one looked like a bill so I ignored that and went straight to the surveyor’s report – we were thinking of building an extension. “Subsidence” was the first word that leapt off the page, followed by the words “remedial work” and “$100,000 with a 50% deposit to start the work”.
Still, the evening wasn’t a complete washout. The Tourette’s guy was gone, I was here with my lovely wife and our dog…hang on, where was our dog? My wife looked guilty and said he’d escaped the house earlier in the day and she hadn’t been able to find him. I slid a cookie slowly across the plate in front of me as she spoke those words, a sense of dread creeping over me and suddenly there was a screech, a bang and a yelp coming from outside. I didn’t even need to turn around to look out of the window – I knew exactly what had happened. Such a shock, such devastation, and yet in the back of my mind I knew it was coming.
Then the accountancy school phoned to tell me that I sat the wrong paper and there weren’t any resits scheduled until next year.
I returned to the sofa with my wife who I adored but of whose love I was never entirely confident, and looked deep into her eyes.
“You’re going to leave me, aren’t you”, I told her slowly.
It wasn’t a question, more a statement that I wanted confirmation of. “Just be honest with me”, I continued, “Deep down I’ve always known that I loved you more than you loved me, and I just hoped that my love would be enough for both of us – but I think I know now that it’s not.”.
She paused, looking bewildered. Then she started to smile but almost immediately her eyes widened in shock and agony as she clutched at herself and struggled to breathe. I wasn’t sure how to take it at first but then I realised she wasn’t reacting to my words – she really was in a bad way. I’d been concerned for a long time that her health wasn’t good. The vomiting, the binge-eating, the horrendous acne, the mood swings, the depression, the occasional euphoria, the swelling – it was painful for me to watch and sometimes I wondered whether she even cared about the state she was in but I loved her so I didn’t say anything. I especially didn’t mention her massive weight gain. Everyone else was talking about it – usually grinning – but when anyone looked like they were about to mention it I told them to be quiet.
15 minutes later and we’re in the ambulance. At this point I wasn’t at all sure my wife was going to pull through as she looked in such a bad way. The pain would disappear for a few minutes, then it would come back. It disappeared, then it came back – sooner this time, and worse.
In the hospital she was attended to by what looked like a bunch of kids for the most part – I wondered whether they knew what they were doing. I mean, there was the sullen-looking bald guy, the ancient cheery grey stubble dude and a shaggy-bearded hippy but for the most part they all looked about 15 years old.
At the hospital I stayed out of the examination room as a wave of panic came over me and I began pacing the hallway. Just minutes later one of the kid-doctors came out with a stupid grin on his face.
“Congratulations. It’s a boy.”
“And your wife says she loves you dearly but would you please get your wussy backside back in there with her already.”
Time passed and the next thing I was aware of was the same guy, much closer to me this time…
“There was some bleeding, just so you know. But she and your son are fine. Now get in there. Seriously.”
That was at about 12.45am last night. Since then I have spent several hours celebrating with my family. Then I had to take a call from the accounting school first thing this morning telling me it was a clerical error and I had in fact passed my exam – the right one.
And then a neighbor called to say our goat had been killed.
I told them (again) that it was a dog. “Whatever”, they replied.
So to conclude, the 15 minutes I spent drooling over my keyboard during a pause in the writing of this letter is the only sleep I’ve had since Sunday, and I do not feel that it is in the best interests of the company for me to be in work tomorrow.