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My Secret Talent

I have a secret talent that I've been keeping hidden from people for years.

By Stephen Kramer AvitabilePublished 2 months ago 7 min read
My Secret Talent
Photo by Maria Cappelli on Unsplash

I have a secret talent that I haven’t been able to tell people about. Well, it’s about to come out. Here. But still, I won’t be able to share my talent everywhere. Is it a talent? Is it a special skill? I’m not sure how to classify it. I’m also afraid talking about it will ruin it, jinx it, and it will fade. But if it does, oh well.

I don’t get sick. Not anymore. I’m trying to remember the last time I got sick and it’s difficult. I know for a fact I never once got sick since I got the “stay at home” orders with the pandemic. Actually, I know I haven’t gotten sick since changing my diet, and that was before the pandemic. That was November of 2018. I also think I don’t get sick largely because of my diet and the fact I started paying more attention to what I eat. But it’s gone back before that. I can safely say it’s been over 5 years since I’ve been sick, but the last time I remember getting sick was when I moved to my new place in February of 2017. So, possibly closer to 7 years?

People may wonder, why can’t you talk about this? Well, because I work for a company like many others that gives me Sick Days. And like the age-old bit of wisdom, “If you don’t use it, you lose it.” That’s right. Sick Days disappear at the end of the calendar year, born every January 1st and dashed away each December 31st if they still exist. They must be used throughout the year otherwise their existence was meaningless. I also get Vacation Days, and those carry over, but the whole combination of the two is silly because no one cares if I use one or the other at any point when I am out, planned or otherwise.

But here’s the thing, just like anyone else, I like to be able to just call out if I feel like it. Sometimes I have things come up, emergencies, or something a step or two down from an emergency. What’s that? A fiasco? We don’t get Fiasco Days at my job so I use Sick Days when a fiasco rears its ugly head. But everyone who works at a corporation gets it. Things come up, whatever it is, you use a Sick Day. Some places don’t care if you use a Vacation Day. But you better remember to use all those Sick Days before the end of the year, lest their existence be pointless. But like anyone else, some days you just don’t have it in you to work. Some days you just don’t feel like it. Some days you just want to do something else, anything other than work your job. Is this news to anyone? No. Millions of people, probably billions, have called out of work before me when they were fine.

But there is always that stigma that you shouldn’t do that, granted it’s your Sick Day to use as you want. It could even be for your mental health, which is absolutely fine. That kind of plays into the “I don’t have it in me to work today” scenario. You can just feel it. You need to relax. I especially get that, being someone who works 40 hours at my main job and also works 15-20 hours freelance writing and still tries to find time to squeeze in my own writing, there are days when I am supposed to work and I just think, “Nope. Not today. One of those Sick Days is going to fulfill his little purpose and spread those little, hairy wings.” (What the hell do I think a Sick Day looks like?)

But there is still that stigma of your “mental health.” I’d never say anything to anyone about that if they needed to take a mental health day. I just don’t think as a planet we’ve quite gotten there yet. I’ll probably never utter those words, not because I find them unacceptable, I just find you can’t say that to everyone. You can always say you’re sick. Or like I often say, “I need to call out today.” Which gets translated into me being sick and others asking if I feel better when I return even though I didn’t say I was sick. Other times, “Something came up” whether it be “an emergency” or “a fiasco” or “a debacle.” (Which is worse? Fiasco or debacle? I lean towards debacle. I also don’t get Debacle Days at my job.) But yeah, I don’t let those Sick Days go to waste. But I don’t get sick. Should I be penalized for not getting sick? I can only take Sick Days when I have an emergency? I don’t have many emergencies, thankfully. I don’t even really have too many debacles or fiascos that call for a day off from work. Should I be penalized for not getting sick nor having many emergencies nor debacles nor fiascos? Absolutely not!

So, I call out with vagueness when I am not feeling up to it. Call out is a funny term because I don’t call out. I text out. But whatever. I text out with vagueness. (There’s a weird sentence.) But now, what do people assume? That I got sick. And you can’t call out, or text out, of work last minute, even if with vagueness, and then the next day return to work and when people say “How are you?” you go “I was never sick. I am a perfectly healthy individual.” Because what the hell is that? Your coworkers will be like “Why’d you leave us high and dry?” I was low and wet… and not sick… hanging at home… I can’t let these people know.

So, I give vague answers when they ask how I am. “Feeling like 600,000 bucks! That’s a million bucks after taxes.” Yeah, I divert their attention with humor and now no one cares that I was out or why I was out. I just allow people to think I was sick for the most part.

But I have a god damn streak going! And I can’t tell people about it. Not coworkers anyway. Also, anyone else ever say they weren’t feeling well to get out of something? A social gathering? Something with some friend or whoever and you just don’t want to? We’ve all lied, let’s not act like perfect angels. We aren’t. Our wings are little and hairy like those little flying Sick Days and their sparse, coarse, beige hair. (The Sick Days are really fleshing out like little creatures you can see, huh? They also have purple eyes by the way. The irises. Not the corneas. That would be weird.) Whatever those numbers are that you periodically hear about how many people got sick in the month of “blah blah” you can probably cut it in half because we all lie about being sick for one reason or another.

And for most people it doesn’t matter if they say they were sick six months ago for one reason or a year ago for another reason. They keep up with that lie, they hold it close, it goes to the grave with them. But it doesn’t matter. For me it matters. A secret talent lies in wait, hidden beneath lies of sicknesses and floating, hairy Sick Days and their pointed, cat-like ears and wide mouths filled with 52 razor sharp teeth. I have a streak going. I don’t even know if I should be proud of it. But I kind of feel like I should be. At least 5 years without getting sick. Maybe 7!

Long gone are the days when I knew the medicine aisle fairly well. I don’t even remember how to spell… Nigh-Kwill? What’s causing this power within me? Is it the mushroom coffee? Is it my diet, the foods saying, “Forget reactive medicine… we are preactive food! We’ll snuff out a sickness before it manifests into anything!” Or is it a developed super power? Did I come into contact with a radioactive healthy person and not realize it? “Radioactive” feels pretty “not healthy” so I am going to cross that one off the list. But maybe my body just developed a mutation. No more sickness.

Or maybe I’m just lucky. Maybe I jinxed it by talking about it at such length. (Knock on wood. Please stay healthy.) No matter, it’s an excellent streak, and I wanted to talk about it.

But above all, I want to use those hairy, little, flying, purple-eyed, razor-toothed, double-bellybuttoned Sick Days at my own discretion… because they are mine… and I like using them. And I deserve them whether I get sick or not. I still need Mental Health Days and Nope Not Today Days and Debacle Days and Fiasco Days. Sick Days are just what they’re called. That’s it. Doesn’t have to also be the description of what the day is used for. I can use a Vacation Day and just lie on the couch if I wish.

I’ll try to keep the secret streak alive. This hidden talent will go unnoticed, much like the masked superheroes that grace your comic books. You know who they are, as the reader, but in their world, they do a selfless job saving the innocent and protecting humanity, and do not get recognized for their efforts. Not truly. I finally understand the superhero’s situation. You do what needs to be done… because it needs to be done. Not for a thank you. It’s a tough road that I’ll continue to weather. But I know I’ll be able to trek on through the tough times in anonymity. I know I’ll be strong enough to endure it.

Because I don’t get sick. The gift and the curse. The gift that keeps giving and the curse of not being able to brag about something that I largely have no control over and might just be dumb luck.

A tortured soul. But a healthy body.

A racing mind. But many antibodies.

A secret talent. But can’t tell no… body.


About the Creator

Stephen Kramer Avitabile

I'm a creative writer in the way that I write. I hold the pen in this unique and creative way you've never seen. The content which I write... well, it's still to be determined if that's any good.

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Comments (7)

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  • Angie the Archivist 📚🪶11 days ago

    Delightful read… what a quandary! Thankfully, our sick days carry over from year to year… I once had 4 weeks’ worth of Sick Leave, which was extremely useful when COVID unexpectedly derailed my health and I used all my Sick Leave in one go. All or nothing…that’s me😵‍💫

  • Mr.Smith2 months ago

    The Coffee! Uggg...I forgot about the coffee! I forgot...smh...Fist to Palm Forward bend towards you Sage Stephen. Thank you for the recall.Never sick again!

  • People always tend to judge if we use Sick Days for days anything that's not physical, like something that's mental health related. I wish there were Mental Health Days as well. At my previous workplace, they would reprimand and shun people who even use Sick Days on days that they're actually physically sick! There was once this girl had very high fever, cough, flu, the whole package. They forced her to come into work and refused to give her permission to go see the doctor. She was so pale and extremely weak. Then she suddenly had to threw up and ran to the toilet but didn't make it in time. They made her clean up all that and even had the audacity to tell me and I quote "She's acting!". Like what the actual hell. I felt so bad because they were my superiors and I had no power to help that girl. So after she threw up, they let her go see the doctor and go back home. But they were badmouthing her the whole time! It was such a toxic workplace! Anyway, sorry for my long rant, now back to you. It's okay if you have to keep this talent of yours a secret. As long as you don't get sick, that's okay. Fingers crossed for you to never get sick again!

  • Don't worry, your secret is safe with me. (My memory's so poor anymore that I'm likely to forget who told me this before I'm done reading the next story.)

  • Real Poetic2 months ago

    lol it doesn’t matter how healthy I am, I WILL use my sick days!! 🤣 I love this and the poem at the end is spectacular!

  • JBaz2 months ago

    Nice, we don’t call our sick days they are UED (unplanned emergency day) use it for what ever you want, Healthy diet, no sickness = more quality time to yourself. That model = brilliance. Thanks for sharing.

  • ema2 months ago

    More than a secret talent I think it's a superpower! I like your story very much!

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