It was all hush-hush around the office as I entered the room. Bill, my gangling coworker, hovered over the coffee machine ignoring our ritual “Good morning” greeting. Joe, the ugly one with teeth stains, quickly evacuated his post at the help desk while everyone else kept clattering their computers. And then it hit me. The word must have gotten out about my recent sick leave.
I had turned my work sample in the day I got “sick.” You see, in the wrestling profession, which should be called the wrestling hobby, injuries are constant: sore muscles, bone contusions, sprained ankles. My last day at work just happened to fall on the day of my last wrestling match. I foresaw a necessary sick leave, so I contacted my promoter and asked him to write one of his famous dissertations. In other words, a fake doctor’s note. He was quite good at these things, releasing many of the profession’s finest from their regular work schedules. For example, my road partner needed some time off from his job so he could concentrate on training. He was about to face one pro wrestling’s biggest superstars, albeit the match took place at a flea market, but that’s where you have to wrestle sometimes. Our promoter carefully crafted a fake doctors note template, had it authenticated by his son who attending medical school, and scribbled an unreadable signature at the bottom. It looked perfect! Or at least I thought it did. Now I’m sitting across from my real boss, the one who pays me real money to do real work, and I have no idea what to say. He asks how I’m feeling, I tell him I feel just as peachy as ever. “The time off really helped, sir.” He didn’t buy. He was toying with me, setting me up to lie again. So I obliged and began describing my experience in graphic detail. I vomited hundreds of times. It was thick and chunky, it had the appearance of minced veggies that had rotted in the back of the fridge. My body smelled of a foul odor, but it was worse than the foul odor coming out my mouth. My boss knew it, and to his amusement replied, “please tell me more.” He placed a number of forms in front of me, telling me to sign them. I figured it was my walking papers. Damn, damn, damn, I thought. I should have just wrestled and dealt with being in pain at work. But then something strange happened. I looked at the top of the sheet and it read “Doctor’s Note.” Are you kidding me? What is this? He’s definitely toying with me. My boss stands up and sternly asks, “Well, are you going to sign the damn thing?” I don’t know how to respond. So I blithely sign my name and hand it to him. He scoops up the papers and heads for the door. “Before I leave,” he said, “the whiskey is in the bottom drawer.” I guess I’m plum out of excuses. If you want a blank doctors note, go here.