Mental Health Days, Or, Perfect Attendance Is For Losers

A month or so ago, maybe longer, I was taking an item of clothing from my closet when the hanger broke. Like in half. I do not recall becoming annoyed or frustrated. I also do not recall throwing the hanger to the floor in disgust but it’s possible I did, because it has been lying there ever since. On the floor in front of the closet. For at least a month and maybe three.

Six million times I could have picked that hanger up and thrown it away; six million times I looked at it and thought, whatever. Maybe later. I have no explanation for my neglect. It’s just one of those weird things that we all do sometimes. My husband says that no, we do not all do those weird things but I don’t know if I believe that. It can’t be just me who feels that a broken hanger should be punished by being forced to sit there on the floor and think about what it has done.

Just a few days ago, I was getting dressed for work and I saw that hanger, again, and left it there, again. I have got to pick up that goddamned hanger already, I thought, and then, right after: I’d better take a vacation day.

The questions and curious looks came when I tried to explain this to some of my colleagues at the office. “You need a vacation day to pick up a hanger?” They asked.

“Yes,” I told them. “It’s scheduled for Friday. I have cleared my calendar.”

One person laughed, as if I were joking. Another pressed me for details. “You need a whole day to throw away a broken hanger?” He asked.

“No,” I said. “Obviously not. But I’m taking it anyway.”

I found this while searching for images related to the word “clothes,” and now I have lost my will to live.

As I write this it is Friday, 6:53 a.m. Vacation day is in progress. I cannot tell you how happy I am to be here; to have a whole day planned around nothing more than picking up and disposing of a single piece of garbage. I could be staring at my work laptop right now or worse, headed into the office in very sad business casual attire. Instead, I am contemplating that hanger and all the other things I might dispose of today, including half the stuff I’ve ever received from Ipsy, 17 years’ worth of Target receipts plus  450,000 emails from Bed Bath & Beyond.

I realize that a “mental health day” typically means calling in sick to work and pretending to be physically ill, and then taking the free time to give one’s mind a break. To get it recalibrated, so to speak. I have changed the rules a bit by actually admitting to my coworkers that I might be mentally unstable. I think this is fine, though, because it’s a good way to keep them guessing. Sure, we could choose her for the next round of layoffs, they might think. But what kind of person is she, really?

The moral of the story would seem to be that obviously, you should skip work as often as possible. But that is only one moral. The other is that broken hangers need not make you cry, or cause you to yell at your kids, or to wonder why all the bad things have to happen to you. The real moral here is that sometimes, broken hangers are exactly what you need.


Do You Sometimes Wonder If You’re The Stupid One, Or If It Really Is Everyone Else?

“Mom. Can you drop me and my friend off at Wal-Mart Friday night? We want to stay there overnight and make toilet paper forts.”

This is a question that was posed to me by one of my children. Obviously. It would be pretty weird if anyone other than my kids had asked me that. Both of them, as of this writing, are in elementary school. I am not sure what leads either of them to think I might leave them overnight at a Wal-Mart.

Target, maybe. But that is not the point. The point is that thinking about this question led me to recall several other things I’ve heard recently that were pretty downright stupid. You know what I mean – things that make you go, wait. Is it possible that no one in the whole world understands anything anymoreI mean, given the state of humanity in general, I think this is entirely likely, but then again maybe it’s me. Maybe I’m the idiot. Or, I guess it could it be that I’m getting smarter. I don’t know. Either way, here are some of the things I’m talking about. Read them and you can be the judge.

  • “Yeah, dude, I just ordered it. It’s an authentic replica!” Quite frankly I don’t even want to talk about this one, because it gives me a headache. But headache or not, I need to know: isn’t a replica automatically not authentic? BECAUSE IT IS A REPLICA???
  • “I like egg rolls, and yet I hate lettuce. Figure that one out.” You’re right, buddy. It’s a head-scratcher.
  • “Could you get him to sign something saying he’s incompetent?” Yes! Yes, I bet I could. And then on the back of that thing I will write out the definition of ‘incompetent’ for you, because oh my God in heaven there is no hope for any of us.
  • “Well, she was alive when she took all those ambulance rides.” This was from an ambulance company who’d just been told that my mother cannot pay her outstanding balance because she is deceased. I said, well, I really fucking hope she was alive when you took her on eleven separate ambulance rides. They said, “Oh, she undoubtedly was.” I felt faint and told them I had to hang up right away before my brain fell out.
  • “That’s a great shade, if you’re black.” So…right. I am really unclear what you mean by this. Are you thinking that maybe I switch back and forth, and tomorrow might be my black day? On the other hand, maybe you’re advising me against it because I’m white? Either way it’s very weird. Are you sure you work here? Do you have any previous experience with, I don’t know, humans?

Okay, fine. To be perfectly fair, that last one was my mistake. She was actually telling me it’s a great shade if you’re wearing black. I know this because I could not let my curiosity go unsatisfied. “What does that mean?” I said to her, when I was still stuck on the original thing-she-didn’t-say-but-I-thought-she-did. “Why would you…what does it mean?” And she said, quite slowly and clearly – “It means that it’s a good shade to wear when your clothing is black in color.”

I am guessing she probably walked away thinking, how could she not know what that means? What an asshole. PEOPLE ARE SO STUPID.

And if I had heard her thinking that – or, I guess, if she had said it out loud as she walked away and I happened to follow her for some weird reason and overheard it – then I would have said to her, girl, preach! I know EXACTLY what you’re talking about.