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Paddy Courtney: Calling in sick

The big difference between having a nine-to-five job and self-employment is the whole 'calling in sick' malarkey.

It would be pointless doing it now, because I'd have to ring myself to tell me that I wasn't well enough to come to work today, which would be impossible for one thing, because I'd be on the phone already and wouldn't be able to get through to myself, and besides, I would know I was lying.

So in the interest of curiosity and writing this column, of course, I rang my own number. I was freaked out for the few seconds it took to dial the number because I wasn't quite sure what would happen. What would I do if somebody else answered? Worse than that, what would I do if I answered? What would I say to me?

It was a bit of a disappointment in the end. My call went straight through to my voicemail, which I have to say was weird and unsettling listening to myself tell me that I was sorry that I couldn't take my call at the moment and to leave a message. So I did. I left myself a message telling me that I wasn't feeling too good and I wouldn't be at work today.

The freaky thing is, to be authentic, I actually put on that sickly, whiney voice that I used to do when I rang my bosses all those years ago to prove how 'ill' I was. "Ehh, hello, cough cough, snot snot, throat clear, I'm not feeling, cough cough, myself today and won't make it in, I'm soooo sorry, cough cough, fart."

Usually, that would be followed by a semi- sympathetic boss saying through gritted teeth, "Don't worry Paddy, what's important is your health; you just mind yourself and, hopefully, we'll see you tomorrow", all the while they're thinking, "you lying little bastard".

Come to think of it, why am I on about ringing myself to tell me I'm unwell? Talking to one's self is the first sign of madness. I am sick. Brilliant. I'm taking a sickie today.