Anatomy of a con

How do you cure children of faking sick? You make them stay in bed, that’s how. Both my husband and I had to get to work this morning and since our seven-year-old son informed us he was “kind of sick,” my husband agreed to stay home for the morning, and I would trade places with him in the afternoon.

But by the time I got to work at 8:30, our budding Ferris Bueller had changed his mind, and was packed off to school after all. He spent all of about 15 minutes in bed. Here’s how the scene went down after I left at 8:15:

Dad (In the bathroom)
Son: (Knock Knock) I think I’m feeling OK now.
Dad: Just a minute…! (comes out)
Son: Actually, I was lying
Dad: When you said you were sick?
Son: No, when I said I was feeling better just now.
Dad: Well you don’t seem sure.
Son: I kind of feel both.
Dad: OK, then put your jammies on and get some rest. You’ll feel better later.
Son: (shuts the door)

Five minutes later

Son: (Finds Dad at his computer) I’m gonna be bored in my room.
Dad: I know, but you need your sleep more than you need TV.
Son: I want to go to school.
Dad: I don’t want you to go if you’re not feeling good.
Son: (Flops around some — hits his chin on a book laying on the bed. Cries)
Dad: (Hugs son)
Son: I want to go to school now.
Dad: OK, well, let’s get our stuff together. (Makes very fast lunches)
Son: (Plays piano, blocks, etc. — quite chipper)

While pulling on his coat and boots

Son: (Whining) I don’t get it why S [12-year-old sister] is allowed to lay on the couch when she’s sick and I have to stay in my room…

Dad: Cause she’s a sneaky con-artist, too, who finds her way to the sofa after everybody’s gone cause she doesn’t really need a babysitter, that’s why. And she’s an excellent teacher! But we’re on to both of you now, you fakers. We’re going to be running a much tighter ship, so you can just forget holding your stomach and scrunching up your face into that pained expression…

(No, he didn’t really say that. But I bet he thought it.)


  • Ian White on February 1, 2011

    That certainly made me chuckle Rhonda.
    When I was at boarding school the house mistress had a very large brown bottle of `medicine`. It seemed that it was the cure-all as it was given immediately there was any murmur of being sick. As you can probably guess it was the most disgusting liquid that has ever passed my lips, but it certainly ensured that faking illness was the last desperate act of trying to get out of school.
    In fact it was so effective that I haven`t been ill for the last 40years!!!!!!

  • Rhonda Herrington Bulmer on February 1, 2011

    What was it? Cod liver oil? Eye of newt? Harry Potter’s tincture of alligator and rat tail?

  • Deborah Carr on April 12, 2011

    Mom used the tincture. Worked every time.

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