Invalidding for beginners; draft 1

How to be Sick and Make Sure the World Knows It.


This is important. This is not Skiving for Beginners, which is a seperate chapter that will come later on, being far more important and useful to real life; this is Invalliding for Beginners meaning that Having an illness is the very important first stage in the proceedings.

The type of illness is also key to many things, particularly to your health and wellbeing.

– How ill?

You do not want to be too ill, because that hurts.
You want to be just ill enough to justify a duvet on the sofa and a stack of DVDs, to make everyone feel sorry for you, and to earn some time away from whatever you should be doing instead of sitting with a duvet on the sofa next to a stack of DVDs.

Which ill?

– Some kind of sicking ill is alright, as long as it doesnt hang around too long.

– A cold is ideal, as long as it is NOT low-level enough to bother struggling through or being a trooper; these things are almost the exact opposite of our intention. The only trooping we will be doing is to the bathroom and back, and the only struggling will be the struggle to whine loud enough to be heard in the other room.

– Pregnancy is a reasonably good ill, because people let you have your seat, which periods dont get you (periods being similar but shorter, and producing a less cuddly/photogenic run-off)

– The gold prize in the world of invalliding is something extremely infectious, but not painful in the slightest. As long as you have someone completely immune to the infection on hand for kettling, duveduty and on-demand-biscuitage, then it is good.

If you are on your own and very infectious for a long time with no biscuits, then things look bad for you. Very bad indeed, my friend. Very, very bad.

*shakes head, slowly*

Very bad.

When ill?

– The most popular time to be ill is at Christmas, or over Bank Holiday Weekends, on Birthdays or whenever you have booked time off from your workaday pursuit in order to have fun. At that point, no matter how rude it has been previously, your health will spectacularly nosedive into a large pool of phlegm mixed with the fluids that come together to manufacture stomach noises.

– Basically, whatever time you do not want to be ill, that is the time that you will find that the ill wants to be you. It is the law, sorry.


How to ill

The first thing to perfect is your ill noise.
This needs to be a noise loud enough to be heard in the kitchen from the sofa, but not too loud as to drown out the daytime television. Some form of groan-slash-whine-slash-creaking noise is ideal, really, perhaps a NYYYYIIIIIIIIEEAAAEEURGH?.

The upward-inflection at the end indicated by the question mark is, of course, incredibly important.

To merely gurgle NYYYYIIIIIIIIEEAAAEEURGH monotone carries the meaning: My head/throat/stomach: ow, woe be upon us, yea: though it be unfortunate, it seems that death is nigh, goodbye, cruel world, goodbye

While NYYYYIIIIIIIIEEAAAEEURGH? – upspoken – clearly carries the meaning: My head/throat/stomach: ow, woe etc, yea, though it be unfortunate, it seems that death is nigh, goodbye, cruel world, goodbye oh and can I have another jaffa cake please? And a lemsip? And can you change the DVD while youre up?

Once your noise is perfected, you will need to work on your public persona and bearing. Remember, you want to inspire outpourings of love, and pity, but never disgust. So as a simple rule, smiling winsomely with watery eyes and sneezing: GOOD; Smiling winsomely, sneezing in someones cereal: BAD.

Coughing politely (like a nun with TB) then excusing yourself is GOOD, coughing politely (like nun with TB) excusing self and then admitting the cough has caused you to follow through, meanwhile: BAD.

If you are lucky, people will phone and ask how you are. They will not come round, because – to be honest – they dont want to catch something and ill people are boring. But they will phone. Generally when you are just slipping into your most restful nap of the day. However annoying this may seem, this is good, as it allows you to sound at your most meek, sweet, and pathetic.

Especially if it is work phoning to check on your recovery and return. In these circumstances;

You SHOULD say
Oh, I am glad you phoned, I was just thinking about you
You Shouldnt say
Because Im eminating this really funny smell, and I was trying to think what it reminded me of

You should say
yes, Im deperate to come back to work because Im bored
But never
because the idea of infecting you all – and all our bastard customers too – makes me cough with joy. Cough. Cough.

You should say
I must go I need the bathroom
But shouldnt say
I must go, my beers getting warm and I think the pizza delivery guys just arrived. Oh, and the prostitute seems to be getting bored.

And as previously mentioned, these points will be covered more comprehensively, and somewhat condradictorally, in our skiving section.

In general, no matter who is on the phone,

Always mention:
Boredom, lack of entertainment, availablility of medicine, unavailability of doctors appointments, sleep and lack of it, and ALWAYS remember to cough occasionally, so they remember to feel sorry for you.

Never mention:
The colour, texture or odour of any fluid matter being expelled from within you.
No one wants or needs to know that. No, not even your mother.


is a very important part of the illing experience.

Though unwilling to burst your bubble at this point, as one who has illed in the recent past, I feel compelled to inform you that it is nowhere near as good as you remember it to be, even, and this is key, even if you (correctly) remember it as not being that great in the first place. Its worse than that, and theres more of it.

You can now flick through almost endless channel-upon-channel, finding up to three simultaneous episodes of Diagnosis Murder that you cant remember if youve seen yet or not.

Or watch in despair as celebrities the magnitude of which youve never seen before (or, in fact, heard of) try their hand at cooking, watersports, teaching, or dance, all of which will make little difference to you as youd need a the internet or a child to tell you if that wasnt the area they happened to be famous for in the first place.

All this is much of a muchness, of couse, as youll often as not find yourself dozing off during the actual programmes and being woken only by the adverts, which, between the hours of 10am and 6pm are Exclusively for Insurance and Consolidation Loan Companies, and Make NO Mistake About It – Theyre Unreservedly Shouty About The Matter!!!


is something you can hope for all you want, but you will never actually achieve.

You may think Im housebound for a few days, at least I can get some writing/emails/composing/nuclear fission/reading done, but you are neglecting the fact that your brain has turned to kalimari and where usually words, ideas or beautiful things come rushing from your firmly toned frontal lobes, you suddenly realise that the only thing eminating from it now is a low-pitched drone that fills your head, and goes Ummmmmm (or , if you have watched too much Diagnosis Murder or are actually American, where it is a real word, then, Duuuhhhhhh.


may seem to be a natural and bonus side effect of many ills, and in fact, is the main intention and cause of Some Ills, but they are not funny ills, so will not be mentioned here.

You would, of course, think that losing the equivalent weight of a lower leg in poo, snot, or sweat every day would, at the end of a reasonable sized ill (3-6 days) lead to a newer, slimmer you, but you would be wrong. Though you might shed pounds through the actual ill, any benefit is immediately lost the moment you lose your nausea, and suddenly gain the desire to eat something the size of a horse. Including, should anyone be fool enough to wave one around near you, an actual horse.


At some point, invalidding becomes a bore. The heady mix of duvets, sofas and daytime television lose their novelty, and even oozing bodily matter the colours of Spring just isnt as fun as once it was.

At this point, you need to recuperate. Recuperation is easy. You just need to stop illing, and take all the drugs. All The Drugs in this case should include anything the doctor has given you, anything you can find in the medicine cupboard, enough Lemsips to almost reconstruct a real lemon (youll need about 400,000) and all biscuits, Anywhere.

After taking all the drugs, and pulling your socks up, you should almost immediately discover that healthy life is yours once more.

If you notice no difference at this point, you were possibly never sick in the first place. Or its, you know, a bit terminal.


[Please note, this guide is intended for beginners at their attention-seeking/illness game. I will write a separate Advanced version for people with penises. Erstwhile sufferers of man-flu will not find anything here they do not already know]