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Column: Sick days and daytime television

I was saddened last month when I heard the news of the passing of Bob Barker.

Growing up, he was always a fixture on the television during the summer months when I was home alone and had complete control of the television. This was back in the day when you had to get up and walk to the TV, so you had to make wise decisions for viewing because scrolling through channels wasn’t a thing unless you could convince a sibling to sit right in front of the screen.

A staple in the summer months, “The Price is Right” was also a fixture on sick days. While there were plenty of days I was actually sick; I sometimes feigned an illness just so I could stay home and watch daytime television. There was always some game show or horrific talk show that would pique my interest when I was home alone during the day. I dreamed of being the next contestant on the “Price is Right” and took great pride that I had a knack for getting very close to the correct price in the “Showcase Showdown.” I’m sure that if I ever ended up on the show, I would freeze and never make it to the final round, but from my couch, I was always quite the player.

On the days I actually was sick, I would always start the day on the couch with a blanket and a 7-Up. A few people I know would swear by Ginger Ale, but for me, it was always the “Un-Cola” and a few saltines crackers.

If I didn’t proceed straight to the toilet after the crackers, I would venture into the kitchen and grab a can of Campbell’s Chicken Noodle Soup. There was just something special about that soup when I was sick. To this day, I still will heat up a can when I’m feeling under the weather.

It is by no means gourmet food, but I find it magical the few times a year when I eat. A couple of months ago, I wasn’t feeling so hot and had leftover homemade soup in the freezer, but instead, I pulled out the trusted can.

Once I had my soup, I would generally start to feel better, and within a few hours, I was getting into the pantry for junk food. Hours ago, I was so sick I couldn’t make it to school, and now I was eating my weight in Planters Cheese Balls while I watched some nonsense happening on the Phil Donahue Show. I would have to hide the evidence of destroying the snack foods, but the juice was definitely worth the squeeze.

When I would get to school the next day, kids would always ask what I did. I did the same when someone else missed a day or two. The answers were usually the same. Most of my friends watched daytime television, ate saltines and chicken noodle soup, and had a 7-UP or Ginger Ale.

Things would get tricky the few times my older sister and I were home sick or on a break from school.

I would have zero control of the television, and if there were only one can of chicken noodle -- she would get it.

She would also wholly dominate the television. There might have been a game show or two early on in the day, but by the afternoon, it was all about Soap Operas. I would rather have been at school with a 105-degree fever than watch “Days of Our Lives,” but she controlled the television. She would always make it seem like my standing by the television changing channels was a badge of honor, but I knew what she was up to. But what was I going to do? She is five years older and has the tenacity of a badger.

Our 16-year-old Shayla rarely stays home sick; when she does, there is never any daytime television. It’s all about streaming some show she has already watched 100 times. I try to tell her she’s missing out, but she never listens to me so it would be a moot point.

I work from home most of the time; I should turn on a few game shows. Heck, if my sister comes to visit, I might even watch an episode of “Days of Our Lives.”

But I’m not standing by the darn television most of the day changing the channel.