Since age 18 (I’m 52 now) I can count on one hand the number of “normal” Christmas holidays I’ve enjoyed.
I’ve primarily worked rotating 24 hour shifts since that time or have, for the last five years, worked in a sales environment that required Christmas eve worked, Christmas off, and a solid 12 hour shift on the 26th…basically one of our biggest sales periods of the year.
This year was no different, with the exception that I was doing exceptionally well…folks were opening their wallets and I was selling much more high-end product than normal. All well and good, but the real moneymaker traditionally occurs on the 26th.
I woke up the morning of the 23 with a weird little cough…I blamed it on keeping my window open all night.
For some perspective, I’ve not gotten sick in four years…not even a mild cold, so of course this can’t be happening now.
Just to be safe I started slamming water and vitamin C.
On the morning of the 24th, I had the tell-tale “hot” feeling in my chest. OK, I feel it coming, but the water, the humidifier and the vitamin C will beat it.
On Christmas morning I wake up with a 103.5F fever…the highest I’ve experienced since I was age 28. I spent the night buried under the covers with the room temperature at 72F and shivering like I was laying on a block of ice.
I knew I’d never make it to work on the 26th, a day I critically needed to work (I ended up dropping to 101.5F on the 26th and didn’t go in).
So if there was ever an excuse to feel sorry for myself this was it: miserably sick, losing money, couldn’t enjoy Christmas with my kids as I had hoped. All the standard pity-pot excuses.
And I’m laying in bed…shivering…and wondering how the hell this feels: On concrete. Or in a makeshift tent somewhere next to the freeway. Homeless.
Lot’s of people experience that. And I’m not so financially secure that a monetary misfortune wouldn’t land me there too. Not that I don’t have a certain social safety net, but the prospect of being homeless is not entirely outside the realm of possibility. The simple notion that I could suffer within the comfort of my own home was mind-blowing.
So it was with that perspective that I, although achy as hell, was able to put a smile on my feverish face when I exchanged gifts with my kids on Christmas day.
It really can be a lot worse. Sometimes you have to experience some “a lot worse” type experiences to realize that.
Merry Christmas everyone!