When someone is sick, most people feel some kind of empathy. That’s the human response. The slightly more jaded response, though, is giving a brief moment of thanks to God that the person in question is not going to be in the office today. As badly as I feel about someone being ill or suffering, that’s nothing compared to the overwhelming relief I feel at not having to deal with them for two days in a row. That’s probably more than a little wrong. It’s possibly evil. It does, however, have the virtue of being exactly how I feel about the issue. I may be a lot of things, but dishonest isn’t one of them.
Sure, if it were something life threatening I’d probably feel bad about the situation, but if someone having a head cold can give me a few moments of peace, there’s no harm in being happy about that, right?
Editorial Note: This part of a continuing series of posts previously available on a now defunct website. They are appearing on http://www.jeffreytharp.com for the first time. This post has been time stamped to correspond to its original publication date.