The Uncomfortable Calculus of Deciding Whether to take a Sick Day

Inspired by real events.

11:13pm:  Man, I feel pretty lousy. I thought I’d be over this by now.  Wonder if I should take a sick day tomorrow?  

11:14pm: Nah, that’s probably not a good idea.  We’re already a week behind on project #1, projects 2 and 3 are on my to-do list for Monday, and projects 4 through 6 are hot on their heels. If I stay home, it just puts us further behind.  I’ll just go to bed at a good hour, and hope a good night’s rest gets me ready for Monday.

11:30pm: *lights out*

11:59pm:  *turns over for the 37th time*

12:03am:  *gets up because nose starts running — again*  Why must my sinuses produce water? This is weird. Is this grown-up snot? Just more annoying than regular snot?

12:15am: Husband flees bedroom for more peaceful sleeping options.

12:30am: *drifts off to sleep*

1:07am: *wakes up*  Wonder what time it is. Feels late. Yeah. Yeah! It’s working! I’m getting some sleep!  *looks at clock*   Oh…..

1:08am: Maybe I should take a sick day tomorrow after all.  No, got too much to do.  Let’s go back to sleep….

3:23am:  *snot*  *look at clock* *sighs*

3:24am: Why am I itchy right THERE? In that spot I can’t possibly reach unless I get up and fold myself into a pretzel?  Maybe I can ignore it.

3:25am:  Ignoring it.  Ignoring it. Ignoring it.


3:27am:  *listens to the silence* Maybe I can turn over so these achey parts won’t be as achey. Guess not. *curses gravity’s effect on viscous bodily fluids

3:28am: I probably shouldn’t go to work tomorrow. It’s 3:30 in the morning.

3:29am:  I’m such a wimp! Pioneer women didn’t get to take a sick day!  Marines don’t take sick days! I work in an office, for pity’s sake. I can sit in my chair and work.

3:30am:   Or I can sit in my chair at  home and work, to be honest.  I could work on projects 2 and 3…..  *thinks about work*

3:35am:  *drifts off to sleep*

5:55am:  So do I go to work or not? *stretches*  Still achey. No fever. Headache isn’t too bad.  Throat is ok. 

6:05am:  But work is a half hour away. If I get there and then feel crappy, I still have to get back home.  Maybe I’ll just work from home today. 

6:06am:  Actually, I feel like I’ve been run over.  Sick days were probably meant for stuff like this. 

8:01am:  Guess it’s a sick day…..

Dedicated to all the workers out there who know the struggle between feeling like crap and not wanting to return to a bigger pile than they left at work the day before.  Listen to your momma: take a sick day.




Gallery of Pics from NY Trip

Click to view full-size shots.

A difficult question: religious thought, academic freedom, and dinosaur DNA

I am terrible about starting a new blog series before finishing the last one.   Or the other one.

(My “how you work at work” profile says I’m better during the early parts of a project but fade away during implementation. Can I use that as an excuse?  “I’m a Clarifier! And a Developer!  I’m not responsible for failed promises to finish my thoughts about vocation and calling and higher ed and food and sin and school rules and the meaning of life!”  BOOM.  Excuse acquired.  -1 to Guilt, +1 to Justification)

I gotta be honest though, I’m just gonna lob this question out there and then run away.  It’s a hot potato for everyone.  If you’re worried about my soul, stop worrying. I’m firmly a theist and a Christian and have no intent to change. If that disappoints you, then let’s keep thinking together.

Is it possible for critical, honest academic freedom to co-exist alongside fervent religious belief?

Or did Sid Meyer get it right when he set up his Civilization games so that you can’t follow a religious pathway with your civilization if you also choose rationality?

See? This poor lackey chose the Piety tree for his civ, so he's out of luck when it comes to Rationality.
See? This poor lackey chose the Piety tree for his civ, so he’s out of luck when it comes to Rationality.

I’ve pondered this question for years. Probably since college.

Most recently, Ken Ham’s really ridiculous blog post about why there can’t be alien life anywhere else in the galaxy sparked my thinking.

See, it’s hard to actually THINK ABOUT this question because people on both sides are writing dumb-ass crap in the name of their belief system.  In Ham’s case, it’s putting words in God’s mouth and then calling them holy:

Jesus did not become the “GodKlingon” or the “GodMartian”!  Only descendants of Adam can be saved.  God’s Son remains the “Godman” as our Savior.  In fact, the Bible makes it clear that we see the Father through the Son (and we see the Son through His Word).  To suggest that aliens could respond to the gospel is just totally wrong.

An understanding of the gospel makes it clear that salvation through Christ is only for the Adamic race—human beings who are all descendants of Adam.

Many secularists want to discover alien life hoping that aliens can answer the deepest questions of life: “Where did we come from?” and “What is the purpose and meaning of life?” But such people are ignoring the revelation from the infinite God behind the whole universe. The Creator has told us where we came from: “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” Genesis 1:1; Nehemiah 9:6. And He told us what life’s purpose is: “Fear God and keep His commandments” Ecclesiastes 12:13.

The answers to life’s questions will not be found in imaginary aliens but in the revelation of the Creator through the Bible and His Son, Jesus Christ, who came to die on a Cross to redeem mankind from sin and death that our ancestor, Adam, introduced.

We need to start proclaiming the authority of God’s Word from the very first verse—even on the subject of alien life! For more information on the supposed existence of ETs and other common questions about a biblical worldview, I encourage you to order The New Answers Book series from our bookstore. Or for witnessing purposes, we have a booklet that can be ordered in bulk with special pricing to help teach people the truth about aliens and UFOs and promote the gospel for your local church or youth programs.

Ken Ham, I’m calling bullshit on your decision to 1) link your interpretation of Genesis 1-3 to what God Himself actually thinks (because truth is, you cannot KNOW that you’ve gotten it absolutely 100% correct); 2) linking that leap of assumptions and induction to what the Gospel says; and 3) using both to peddle your books. That kinda burns me, actually, but we’ll focus on problems #1 and #2.

This passage I quoted is such a mixture of orthodox theology and Ham’s personal (biased) viewpoint that it’s hard to unwind the two.  Absolutely I agree that Jesus Christ came to earth to save sinners. However, that does NOT demand the corollary concept that God can’t do any other work in this vast universe except what we deduce He’s been up to.

When we put our words in God’s mouth and call them His, usually something or someone (hello, Gallileo?) shows up to prove us idiots. And then the good of Christianity gets laughed out of the room because we weren’t careful with what we said, how we said it, and how much certainty we claimed for what is – at the core – an interpretation of a complex text.

Truth is, I have no idea if there’s alien life in outer space. Neither do you, and neither does Ken Ham if he’d stop taking his own assumptions so seriously.  And thoughtful people read this stuff and decide Christians must be a special kind of stupid.

Christianity has been linked to Modernity for a long time, and Modernity craved certainty in its epistemology.  The scientist is driven by the desire to KNOW.

Here’s where I depart from the secularist, the rationalist, the empiricist:  I think relying on human observation or reason to provide reliable and unbiased “truth” or even certain data is just as crazy as they think I am for believing in a literal Adam & Eve. (I do think they existed. I’m not willing to stab you over this point, however.)   Our perceptions are crafted by our own viewpoints, our experiences, our very humanity.

"Nature will find a way."  Yup.  Plus, I do wonder if we can make that mosquito thing work on the cloning front.....  and if so, will things just play out like a weird reworking of the film? Maybe that's true of all sci-fi? Maybe fiction writers are actually writing our future??  AAAAAAH
“Nature will find a way.” Yup. Plus, I do wonder if we can make that mosquito thing work on the cloning front….. and if so, will things just play out like a weird reworking of the film? Maybe that’s true of all sci-fi? Maybe fiction writers are actually writing our future?? AAAAAAH

Science shouldn’t get all smug up in here about what it knows or the idea they’ve identified all their biases. They haven’t.   Cue Jurassic Park as one of my favorite novels on the limitations of science to recognize what it does and does not know.

Here’s where I’d like to stop circling the drain of rationalism vs belief and restate the question:

Is it possible for someone to “question everything” and “have faith like a little child”?  I’d really like to know.

A Stick in the Eye of Higher Ed

If you haven’t read this, give it a shot and tell me what you think:

Ivy League Schools Are Overrated. Send Your Kids Elsewhere. | New Republic.

I really love how Deresiewicz takes aim at a few unchallenged assumptions of our 21st century American higher ed system:

  • that admission to elite colleges has everything to do with academic merit
  • that academic achievement is properly measured by SAT scores and GPA scales, and that the only intelligences that matter are the ones measured by classroom testing
  • that the SAT isn’t a tool you can “game” if you have enough money to buy enough tutors and take it enough times
  • that the very structure of our educational system isn’t deeply affected by socioeconomic status, not just hard work and “pull yourself up by your bootstraps” American dreaming
  • that “success” in life should be defined primarily in economic terms (more wealthy = more successful)
  • that education should primarily promote economic mobility

I think colleges sold their proverbial souls in the latter half of the 20th century when they were willing to redefine education as “worker training” in order to get more students.

keep-calm-i-m-college-boundThirty or forty years later, our K-12 system is being ground down by over-assessment and lack of attention to socioeconomic factors that affect student performance, while class distinctions are ever more enshrined.

College is seen as the only way out of poverty, but usually it’s only the kids with social capital and a decent household income who can play the system well enough to get into a quality 4-year college.

The community college and junior college and vo-tech school network has nearly collapsed for lack of funding while ever more students – badly unprepared for the challenge of higher education because K-12 testing squeezes out time for actual instruction – are rushing into classrooms to do the college thing.

Does anybody even do apprenticeships anymore?

Seriously, people.  We need an overhaul.  *puts away soapbox*

Oh yeah, and it’s nice to be home from vacation. If you’re wondering why I went AWOL for a week.

The Reality of Student Debt Is Different From the Clichés –

An article well worth your time to read.

“The misperceptions matter because they distract us from the real trouble with our higher education system. It’s not the graduates of expensive colleges who are struggling to get started on a career. Such graduates make for good stories and they tend to involve the peer group of journalists, but history suggests that most of them will do just fine.

The vastly bigger problem is the hundreds of thousands of people who emerge from college with a modest amount of debt yet no degree. For them, college is akin to a house that they had to make the down payment on but can’t live in. In a cost-benefit calculation, they get only the cost. And they are far, far more numerous than bachelor’s degree holders with huge debt burdens.

The solutions to the dropout crisis have some overlap with the solutions to the so-called student-debt crisis: more accountability for colleges. For the most part, though, the two issues are different — and require different answers. Lifting the nation’s college graduation rate depends on better, more cost-effective education, rather than merely cheaper education.”

Read more: The Reality of Student Debt Is Different From the Clichés –