Gen Xers Knew How to Play Sick But Our Kids Don’t – So Here’s a Guide For Them To Stop Embarrassing Themselves

Children These Days Have No Clue How to Properly Play Sick - I'm AshamedLet’s be honest, we Gen Xers were skilled at playing sick, were we not? Our generation had to work hard for a sick day. Many of our parents worked and would have to take a sick day themselves, and let’s not forget, our parents were raised by hard core parents (our grandparents), who sent them to school no matter what. Hello, their parents were the one’s who walked five miles to get to school, up hill, in snow … so a sniffle or the plague wasn’t gonna cut it.

That’s what we had to contend with. Which is why, we learned early on that we had to be Ferris Bueller convincing or we were going to school (heck on occasion we weren’t convincing enough, even when we actually were sick!).

Yes, we truly perfected an art form and nowadays it seems our kids are merely phoning it in. Complaining about random aches, not committing to their performance, it’s embarrassing! Which is why I give their generation this:

8 Tips To Properly Play Sick – How to gain your parent’s sympathy and maybe even regain their respect:

1. Complain about the appropriate body parts and stay focused. There is a general list of pains and woes we parents find acceptable to lend our sympathy to: stomach aches, headaches, sore throats, nausea. Pick one and don’t stray. Don’t lead in with a stomach ache and think that adding a toothache, leg cramp, or shooting pain in the elbow is going to help your cause. That’s an insult to our intelligence. Stay the course … a thousand points of light …

2. NEVER fake a cold. Moms can tell a real cough, stuffy nose, congested chest from a fake one. Oh, we’re that good, which is why the dry Sahara Desert cough is a dead giveaway that you can and should be going to school. And never blow your nose unless there’s something in there. The “faux nose blow” is a one way ticket to the carpool lane. Remember this trusty phrase: “No phlegm or snot, home you will be not.”

3. Avoid immediate trips to the doctor or the ER. A fake sick day is totally wasted if you don’t get to enjoy it, duh! Here is a short list of complaints that will get you a trip to the doctor or ER without passing go (never say these things, unless they’re true).

  • “I’m having trouble breathing.”
  • “I can’t swallow.”
  • “I feel like something inside me exploded.”
  • “My head is really itchy”
  • “It burns when I pee.”

4. Avoid trips to a therapist’s office. Getting too creative could send you straight to the shrink’s cushy couch. Avoid fantastical verbiage like:

  • “My eyes feel wiggly”
  • “I think I have amnesia, who are you?”
  • “I have an invisible rash.”
  • “I’m seeing four of you and they’re not all doing the same thing.”

5. Don’t oversell it. We don’t have little gold statues to give out, though many a morning we wish we did. When you act so sick that you can’t move, and then you fall to the floor from your bed as if you attempted to rise but just couldn’t muster the energy, and then you lay on the floor like a sad sick seal moaning and only lifting your head, it takes everything in us not to fall to the ground laughing and later sign you up for Julliard.

6. Understand the concept of temperature.  Listen children, you cannot have a 107.2 body temperature and have a conversation — or a pulse, for that matter. We get that figuring out a way to alter your thermometer is like the kid equivalent of MacGyver using a toothpick and a piece of gum disarm a bomb, but understand the highest temperature does not win a prize — just a funny Facebook status update.

7. Never talk about school. When trying to avoid the S-word, don’t discuss it in any fashion. Don’t tell us you wish you could go, but alas you’re so sick. Don’t mention that you have a test or unfinished homework. Don’t talk about an annoying enemy at the playground or even a tutor that will have to be cancelled due to your unfortunate absence. We will put two and two together. Yep, we don’t even need a tutor to do that.

8. Always remember, we’re not as stupid as you think we are. Though it’s hard to imagine, we were kids once too and we tried every trick in the book … twice.

Follow these simple rules and you’ll be wrongfully staying home from school in no time. That’s right, you CAN fool us, or at the very least make us proud trying.

kids home day

BTW Today, my son, J, complained of a stomach ache … leg ache … elbow ache … and a nasty hang nail (which he could not find to show me, but assured me was painful, though not visible).
REALLY? He went with a hangnail/stomach/leg/elbow ache?  I expected so much more. Then Ry (my daughter), followed up with, “ditto,” as if they were both afflicted by the same stomach/leg/elbow ailment.  ”Oh naive girl, when the ship is sinking don’t hop onboard!”
Here’s a pic from my day… They look really sick, right? DON’T JUDGE – I thought they could use a “personal” day and I was super tired. Gen Xers aren’t stupid, but we’re suckers.

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Related Story: 5 Things Gen Xers Did Growing Up That our Kids Will Never Understand.

10 thoughts on “Gen Xers Knew How to Play Sick But Our Kids Don’t – So Here’s a Guide For Them To Stop Embarrassing Themselves

  1. Foxy Wine Pocket

    I’m pretty lucky. The threat of extra homework has both of my kids terrified of missing school. All I have to ask is, “Do you feel sick enough to miss school and have all that make-up work–in addition to your normal homework?” Unless they are truly sick, they perk right back up.

    But I’m never letting them get a hold of your brilliant list.

    1. Jenny from the blog Post author

      Yes, it’s like getting a hold of the answers to a test… for life. PS I learned early on how to forge my moms name that made playing sick unnecessary when she was at work… and I was a teenager, until then I usually went to school and then to the nurse to convince her to call my parents, she was way easier then they were

  2. Rebecca Martorella

    Laughing out loud because I find myself conflicted by my sadness at my child’s inability to fake it. I even have tried to teach him how to get to the nurse’s office when he wants an escape but he won’t do it! I don’t want to encourage him to lie but aren’t these basic child life skills?

  3. Sparkling74

    I had a severe case of IDWS myself today and was tickled to just get the call that we have a snow day tomorrow. January is such a hard time of the year to get out of bed!

    1. Jenny from the blog Post author

      Ohh I used to love that. The truth is I’d let them stay home pretty much any Monday morning. They just don’t see the pattern when I beg them to go in late after the weekend and they say, no. I NEVER had a parent beg me to go in late… and I NEVER would’ve said no. IDK who’s more f’ed up… me or my kids?

  4. cherie

    You were the best!!! You really think you had me fooled, but little did you know… I think Dad was fooled sometimes. The parent notes were a little much though, because when you really were sick, you had to tear up the ones I wrote and rewrite them.

  5. One Funny Motha

    Particularly like the fever one. My kid would totally do that. He is so not slick. When he wants to be done with dinner he says, “Can I be full now?” I always say, “No. I’ll tell you when you’re full.” It cracks me up every time. Also, like #4. “I think I have amnesia, who are you?” Any kid who said that would have my respect b/c it’s funny.

  6. Bari

    So cute! Everyone deserves a day off. Life shouldn’t be serious work all time and no fun. Heck schools from DC to
    NYC got a snow day so kids could go
    sledding. Now that’s a fun system. No
    lying just play and it’s the schools’ idea!


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