I really, really, really hate to be sick on weekends.
Saturday and Sunday are the only two days of the week that I feel are mine (as opposed to Ma Times'). I run errands, work in the yard, do chores I can't do during the week, carry on long telephone conversations, go shopping, or go see plays that I don't have to review so I actually can "sit back, relax and enjoy" as the theater greeter encourages the audience to do, instead of worrying about sound, lights, characterization and whether the costumes match the era of the show.
Even if I feel horrible on a weekend, I feel obligated to push myself to do all this anyway. To stay in bed makes me feel like some slacker wimp wasting perfectly good time.
It's no good to be sick on Mondays, either. If you go to work, you do a bad job, and if you're contagious, you earn the contempt of your colleagues to boot. If you stay home, everyone thinks you're sleeping off a bad (or extremely good) weekend.
Tuesdays are out as a sick day for me, too, because that's deadline day for the Pasco Diversions page, which is my full responsibility, and heaven knows, my mama taught me to be responsible.
Fridays are no good for taking off sick, either.
When I was growing up, there was an unwritten, unspoken rule that if I was too sick to go to school on Friday, I was also too sick to go to a slumber party, out dancing or to the movies on Saturday night. So no matter how I felt, I dragged myself to school on Friday.
Now that I'm a grownup, I retain enough of that guilt to get me to work on Fridays, especially if I have something great planned for Saturday or Sunday.
That gets it down to Wednesdays and Thursdays, which are the perfect days for me to stay home from work sick.
I wouldn't dare do anything useful at home on those days, because if I'm well enough to, say, dust the furniture or take up the hem of a skirt, I'm well enough to go to work.
If I stay home sick on Wednesday or Thursday, I am morally obligated to stay in bed, sip hot broth from a cup, let the dishes stack up in the sink, take naps off and on all day, watch something really dumb and useless on television, or just lie in a dark room and stare at the ceiling, feeling that I'm fulfilling my obligations to the world and my dear employer simply by staying still and getting back my health and/or not passing around my germs.
Reasons to stay well
The coming weeks are a good reason to stay healthy. Starting Monday evening, I have 11 straight days of plays, concerts, outdoor events and appointments, and I don't want to miss a single one.
The most melancholy will be April 21, when friends, relatives and acquaintances of the late Joe Camper will gather at the Show Palace Dinner Theatre to pay tribute and say goodbye to this super-talented guy.
Before his recent, untimely death, Camper had been a mainstay at the Palace and, before that, at the Musicana Dinner Theatre in Clearwater and many other places, writing songs, doing choreography, singing, acting, dancing and even waiting tables in between.
The Show Palace gang plans to do some of Joe's compositions, including one he wrote about angels that was in the Christmas show last December; sing some of his favorite tunes, including his special song with his dear friend Gary Wyatt, Don't Blame Me from Sugar Babies; recount fun or funny times they had with him; and do a picture presentation of his career highlights.
It's an informal get-together for longtime friends as well as those of us who got to know Joe through the theater. If you want to go, please call for reservations at (727) 863-7949 or toll-free at 1-888-655-7469.
Before and after that are some happier shows, including one of my favorites, Once Upon a Mattress, a sendup of The Princess and the Pea, at the Black Box Theatre at Nature Coast Technical High School south of Brooksville. The directors are former River Ridge drama teachers Lori and Tim Erickson.
I first saw the show in 1996, when the Ericksons did it at River Ridge as part of a summer workshop. Sisters Molly and Wendy Knapp of Gulf High School played the snippy Queen Aggravain and the man-hungry Princess Winnifred the Woebegone, so eager to marry the prince that she swims the moat to get to him first.
A performer familiar to many in these parts, Lucy Werner, will play Princess Fred in the upcoming production. Show Palace veterans will remember her from the 2002 Christmas Show when the tiny girl wowed everyone with her big, bell-clear voice. The next year she played Gypsy Rose Lee as a little girl in the musical Gypsy. She's only a sophomore at Nature Coast Technical High School, but she's been chosen to participate in this summer's Broadway Theatre Project in Tampa (the one founded by Ann Reinking), a workshop that has launched many a fine theater career, including that of Brooksville's Ken Allan Jenkins, who made it big on Broadway as Ken Alan (Fosse, A Chorus Line revival).
The cast also has Danny Aiello as the silent King Sextimus, and, yes, he's the great-nephew of the famous movie actor Danny Aiello (Moonstruck, Do the Right Thing).
The show opens at 7 p.m. Thursday and continues at 7 p.m. Friday and 2 and 7 p.m. April 19. Tickets are $10 for adults, $6 for students (age 4 and younger not admitted; latecomers seated at the intermission). Call (352) 797-7088, ext. 296.