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What to do when you’re home sick: updated

It used to be Price is Right and Family Feud until Mom called from work and yelled at you—what’s changed in 20 years?

ABC’s “Celebrity Family Feud”

The joys of having a beautiful, healthy, happy 7-month-old girl include her sometimes bringing home disgusting diseases like Hand, Foot, and Mouth or COVID or RSV or, as we learned with a rolling illness that first went to my wife and then me...strep!

Thankfully the Easter Break combined with an ice storm at one of my campuses on Wednesday meant the classroom time I missed was negligible, but it’s been a lot of couch time for me this week, and it got me thinking about the differences between when I’d get strep through about once a year in middle school and strep throat now.


12 years old: T-shirt, shorts, slippers...whatever was comfortable. When I wasn’t tired and laying on the couch, I just walked around the house, coughing on shit and spreading germs.

32 years old: T-shirt, shorts...not much has changed in that department. Except that now we wear masks to “stop the spread of germs” or some bullshit. IN MY OWN HOUSE. I oughta call Alan Dershowitz.

TV Habits

12: Watch Price is Right for an hour, flip over to some Family Feud reruns, and maybe catch a daytime episode of Hollywood Squares before boring shit like M*A*S*H* or the daytime news came on.

32: I think The Office: Superfan Episodes have just kind of been looping for the last 36 hours or so? I watched a lot of US Open Cup at night, too.

Eating Habits

12: Sure, I started with what Mom left out before work: applesauce, a banana, buttered toast, etc. A can of classic Campbell’s chicken noodle soup for lunch. But when I got hungry later? Sherbet, ice cream, popsicles...the dream.

32: I dunno. I made fish for dinner last night? Might have shrimp pasta this evening? Still popsicles, though.

Computer Time

12: Wore out the Backyard Football CD-ROM.

32: /nervously closes Incognito tab

School Habits

12: Teachers will send homework, usually consisting of a couple worksheets that take 10 minutes.

32: I have to record the lectures and post them to the goddamn learning management system and oh two students want the slides because pausing the lecture is apparently beneath them and also could I explain the discussion post more?

Northwestern Football

12: 3-9 (1-7), losses to Air Force and TCU, beat Duke

32: 1-11 (1-8), losses to Southern Illinois and Duke, beat Nebraska

Drinking Habits

12: Sprite and grape juice, often mixed

32: Tea and bourbon, often mixed