Beware, everyone. A nontoxic epidemic lurks. No need to head to the clinic or rush to the emergency room. No vaccination or medical treatment exist for this acute illness. It attacks indiscriminately, enticing the mind to wander, sometimes for days. It slows productivity to a crawl, lures the body into embarrassing situations, and may cause entire departments to shut down. Yet, it’s harmless. So what is this affliction called? Spring Fever.
No ticker-tape parade announces its arrival either because it’s oh so sneaky. Recently, it eased itself into my Monday morning shortly after I arrived for work. Moodiness, a telltale symptom, convinced me that I didn’t want to do any real work that day. For obvious reasons, I had to look busy. No problem. But looking official would be a challenge. I took it.
Gazing at the pile of papers on my desk, I grabbed a few pages, shuffled and reshuffled them, then placed them neatly back in my “IN” box.
Chronic curiosity, another symptom, caused me to pick up my new Samsung smartphone and test the functions of my cute little gadget. Satisfied that they all worked, I started to put it down on my desk but felt the smartphone get warm in my hand. Puzzled as it grew hotter, I threw it out the window behind my desk and heard an explosion as it landed on the ground. I ran to the window and poked my head out to make sure no one was injured or that the damn thing didn’t start a fire. All I saw was a circle of singed grass surrounding what was left of the smartphone. Phew! That was a close call. Since my exploding phone was not on my agenda, I returned to my escalating, deliberate state of non-productivity. I found a large rubber band in my desk drawer and used it to fashion a slingshot. Using paper clips, I started flinging paperclips across the room at no particular target. After I quickly got tired of that, I moved on to refilling my stapler and tape dispenser. Still heavily entrenched in boredom, I focused on another reasonable diversion on my desk. A huge, colorful cup on my desk brimming with assorted pens caught my eye. “Hey, this could be a fun project,” I convinced myself to regroup the pens by color and place them neatly in my center desk drawer. I even took the time to sharpen all my pencils, some even down to two inches. Time: 8:15. “Now what?” I mused.
I slowly swiveled my chair around to face the window. The warm sunshine streaming through beckoned me, “Come on out and play.” I tried to resist, but it was useless. I told you that this disease moves fast. Contemplating another route of inactivity, I started staring out the window, daydreaming and feeling like a kid on a Saturday morning punishment. I knew I needed treatment. And to me, only one thing would suffice: more goofing off. I wanted to go outside and play. I wanted to take my shoes off and run barefoot through the cool grass. I wanted to …. RRRIIIINNNGGGG! DAMN PHONE! Annoyed, I picked it up. Pinching my nose to disguise my voice, I squeaked out, “Sorry, she’s not here at the moment.” Actually, I felt bad about that. But seconds later, I waved that guilt trip away. Still feeling lazy, I got up, stretched, yawned, and walked towards the copier to check the toner and paper supply. That done, I returned to my desk and continued with my self-imposed project of zoning out. In between all this “unofficial activity,” I drank three cups of coffee and two cups of tea. Time: 9:05. After a few trips to the ladies’ room, I felt the need to sham even more. I dug out an old clipboard and positioned some papers underneath the metal fastener. With pencil in hand, I left my office to roam the halls. Naturally, I found myself outside. The weather was beautiful. Sunshine, blue skies, and cool breezes welcomed me. I circled the building, trying to look like a bonafide building inspector on official business. “I can’t believe people actually get paid for this.” Ahhh…and there I was…ankle deep in cool, green grass. Time: Now or never. I threw the clipboard down and slipped off my shoes, planning to run the length of the building and back, which was a decent distance to recapture that carefree childhood euphoria which always seemed to rejuvenate me. Checking to make sure the coast was clear, I took off at a leisurely pace, letting it all hang out by skipping and swinging my arms a few times.
About halfway through my therapy run, I experienced an awakening. Some might even call it a highly significant emotional event. A large rock partially buried in the grass met my foot in a head-on collision. BAM! At that dead stop, I crumbled to the ground in a heap, wailing like tyke who had just received his first vaccination. I grabbed my foot as some coworkers poked their heads out their windows. A few came running from the building to help me. I offered no explanation, and no one asked me what had happened. But, I’m positive they all knew I had had a bout of Spring Fever. Two guys helped me up and carried me to a nearby bench. Someone volunteered to drive me to the emergency room. I got x-rays and a soft cast on my foot, which had swollen to the size of a loaf of bread.
After getting my prescription filled and in spite of the pain, I left the clinic with a smile on my face. Though I had lost my battle with Spring Fever, I had rightfully earned my medals: three days of bed rest and a week off to recoup. And if this beautiful weather keeps up, I expect a definite relapse.