COVID Attitude · 4 November 2023

I think that COVID has given me a different attitude toward sick days.

COVID may or may not be in our rearview mirrors, but looking back, I can definitely see how it has affected me. Yes, I have had it a couple times. Maybe even once before it was even called COVID-19. But that is not what I mean. I mean that COVID has affected the way I think about taking sick days.

I used to think that I had to be at school all the time. I could only miss a day when I was deathly sick. I even worked with somebody who told me one day that I needed to go home. Kim was an aide in my class who said, “You’re sick. Go home.” I did. But grudgingly.

That was the way I always took sick leave. Grudgingly.

But COVID changed that. COVID has given me a new look at how I ought to use sick leave.

Now, I must say that I usually still take sick leave only when I need to. But I no longer think that I need to be deathly ill to stay home. I have decided that I can be under the weather enough to just take a day to get a bit better. Oh sure, I have gone to work when I probably should not have. Even after COVID. But those times have been few and far between. When I am deathly ill, I stay home. But like I said, there are some days when I just need a little more sleep to get over whatever little bug I might have. Those are the days that I actually take now instead of trying to power through it all.

The other attitude change that I have now about sick leave is that I need to think about other people instead of just myself.

People might think that they are being brave and noble when they power through the cold they are trying to kick. But in reality, they are just bringing the bugs to work. They are infecting others while trying to portray that they are being brave and noble. Oh sure, they are showing themselves to be tough. But at the expense of those around them. By the way, when I say “them,” I really mean me. After all, that is what I always thought. Just be tough and power through.

There is another downside to trying to power through a sickness. You often end up getting sicker because you do not take the time to get well. To just lie down and rest. And like I said with “them,” I mean the same with “you.” I end up getting sicker because I will not take the time to just rest and get better.

I am not sure that everybody has had this shift in attitude about sick leave, but that does not really matter that much. If just a few people change their attitudes, maybe those around them will benefit. And that benefit could affect even more people. That is, after all, how change is made. Just affect the people around you instead of infecting the people around you. I guess that is how COVID has affected my thinking about taking sick days.

(P.S. Just because my attitude has changed, does not mean that my actions have changed. At least not all the time.)

© 2023 Michael T. Miyoshi

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Sixty · 28 October 2023

Sixty. It is hard to believe that I am turning sixty.

I have always said that age is just a number. Or an attitude. It is not how old you are, but how active and how vibrant you are. But sixty? That is old. Or at least it is getting up there.

Actually, I still think that age is just a number. After all, what is the difference between 60 and 59? One. See. Just a number. And I know people who are older and in better health and better spirits than I am. Then again, it is not about comparisons. It is about the attitude.

(On the other hand, the number sixty is not really the interesting number in my life. The more interesting number is 29. You see, I am on year 29 in the same job. Nearly half of my life doing the same thing. Educating young people. Not only that, but I have spent all but three and a half of those years in the same room! That seems to be something. (But it is still another story. Maybe one I will write next year.))

But back to the notion of sixty.

It is funny. Back when I was in my twenties, I was hanging out with my younger brother and his friends. I do not remember exactly what we were doing or where we were planning to go, but I said to them, “You don’t want to hang out with an old man.” (They were, and still are, about five years younger than I.) They all laughed. “Hey, old man.” That moniker stuck. And I have been an old man to them since that time. And now, I really am. (Like I said, they are only about five years younger than I am, so they too will be old men in no time.)

As they say, time and tide wait for no man. Or woman. Time marches on. We just keep getting older by the day. By the second. And that is okay. Better to keep getting older than the alternative. Which is not trying to be morbid or anything. In fact, it would be a great opportunity to preach. But I will refrain.

The thing is, I do not really feel much older today than yesterday. Or even than last year. Or the year before. I am certainly not getting any younger, but except for needing a nap every now and then or going to sleep at dusk, I do not really feel much older than I felt last year. (I do not really go to sleep at dusk. I wonder whether anybody really knows what dusk is anymore.)

One last notion about age. I hope that age does bring wisdom. I know it is not always the case, but I hope that I have some wisdom in me. I will certainly never be as wise as Solomon, but perhaps I can apply the wisdom he gives us at the end of Ecclesiastes.

Well, that is about it. I am not quite sixty yet, but I think it might be time for a nap.

© 2023 Michael T. Miyoshi

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Vulture · 21 October 2023

My friend and faithful reader, Marc, suggested that I write about how teachers are vultures. Just put things where everybody knows they are up for grabs and they are gone in a flash.

I think that he may have been talking specifically about me. I am usually that guy who takes whatever is up for grabs. Especially free food. Which is a strange thing when you think about it. Just the notion of free food.

Free food is anything but free. Think about it. If you gorge on free food, then it sits in your gut and well… It sits in your gut. Probably because you ate too much. Or too fast. Or too much too fast.

By the way, when I say “you,” I mean me. But I do not think that I am alone. I think that others cannot resist free stuff. Especially free food.

I wonder what it is. The draw of free food. Perhaps it is just the treaty-ness of it all. It is a treat to eat. Or maybe because it is free, you want to eat more. I do not really know. What I do know is that whenever I have gone to an all you can eat place, I took it as a challenge. How much can I eat? Fish and chips during college? Eight or nine pieces. Plus the fries. And speaking of fries. I always need to get at least two orders of Red Robin endless fries. Yum.

The downside of eating like that though is the notion of an old commercial. “I can’t believe I ate the whole thing.” Rolling around after the feeding frenzy is always tough. But I just find free food too enticing. I guess I need to stop that.

It would be nice to remember the “I can’t believe I ate the whole thing” notion before I ate the whole thing. Remembering the pain of a full belly and the whole rolling around to get around would surely help me curtail my vulture tendencies. Maybe.

Ah well. I suppose I can try to stop being a vulture. I can stop hanging around the staff lounge waiting for people to drop their treats off. I can stop eating those endless fries after just one order. And I can stop asking people if they are done with that. (Which is a completely different story.)

I know that I am not the only one who acts like a vulture and eats all the treats when they come. But it sure seems like it. Thanks for the idea, Marc.

© 2023 Michael T. Miyoshi

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