A seasonal tale of near death experience from my early blogging days


If you’re going to pull a sickie, use your imagination. You’ve all pulled sickies. Come on, own up, every single one of you. You’ve woken up, thought ‘Work? Bugger that for a game of soldiers.’

You make the phonecall. Decision time. Croaky flu-ridden voice? Or all feak and weeble, ‘Been puking all night.. and the rest,’ voice? It doesn’t matter, since it’s a Monday morning and everyone thinks you’ve been on the lash all weekend, whatever you say.

Well I’m here to give you the best sickie excuse in the world, ever.

I think I told you I used to be a home delivery driver for Tesco. If I didn’t then I just have, OK? Any road up, it was this time of year four years ago. We were chronically short of staff, and I’m stupid, so I volunteered for any and every shift we couldn’t cover. As a result, I worked 19 straight days. In theory, I started at 9:00 am, but I always got in at 8:00 to make sure I had enough time to load the van with the ¾ of a ton of shopping that constituted a run. People buy lots of stuff at this time of the year. I’d do a similar sized run in the afternoon. I finished shift at 7:00 pm.

I said I was stupid. For 15 of those 19 days (not Saturdays or Sundays, hence the discrepancy) I did an evening shift too. From 7:00 to 11:00. Another three quarters of a ton of shopping. It was hard graft, I can tell you. I didn’t get enough sleep either, for a variety of reasons that need not trouble you. Four hours was a good night, and good nights were an endangered species.

It finally took its toll. One afternoon I very nearly had an accident. I didn’t, but thought to myself, ‘Uh huh. Time to get some help here.’ So i got back to the store, unloaded all the empty trays off my van, and sought the store manager. He was a decent cove; I got on well with him.

‘Paul, I nearly crashed the van this afternoon.’

‘But you’re OK?’

‘I’m fine. I’m uninjured, anyway.’

‘What happened?’

‘I nearly hit a tree.’


‘I didn’t hit it because it wasn’t there. It was growing in the middle of the road.’


‘Paul, I am so tired I’ve started hallucinating. I’ve done 19 days without a break, and tonight will be my 15th evening. I’m exhausted, absolutely shagged out. When I start seeing trees that aren’t there, I think that’s nature’s way of telling me to stop.’

Now that is a corker of a sickie excuse, isn’t it. No dodgy prawn, no imaginary virus, but hallucinating. Pretty damned good eh? With the added benefit of being absolutely true.

I was reminded of this yesterday. You may have seen my Post ‘Bum…’ I wasn’t making that up.