Monday, January 12, 2009

Pinocchio and Paid Sick Days

For the past eight months, Pinocchio had worked for a company in Redwood City. Today, he felt horrible. Pinocchio clutched his head in his hands. He had a terrible migraine headache. Pinocchio wanted to go home and rest, but he couldn't. He had a ton of work. Besides if he went home, he wouldn't get paid.

Athena, a co-worker, tapped him on his shoulder. She said, "Pinocchio, you look awful."

"Athena, I'm okay," Pinocchio replied.

He removed his hands from his head and closed his eyes for a few seconds. He then opened his eyes. He touched his nose. To his surprise, his nose had grown an inch.

"No, you're not," Athena countered.

"I'm fine," Pinocchio insisted.

Pinocchio's nose grew another inch.

Every time you pretend that you're well, your nose grows," Athena said.

"I'm not fibbing," Pinocchio argued.

Pinocchio's nose grew two more inches.

"Say you feel 100 percent healthy," Athena said.

"I feel 100 percent healthy," Pinocchio said.

"Oh my gosh, your nose is huge," Athena said, "You need to start telling the truth about your health."

Pinocchio touched his nose. It was long as his face. He was embarrassed.

"Okay, I will," Pinocchio said sheepishly.

"So how are you feeling?" Athena asked.

"Awful, but I can't go home." Pinocchio answered. "If I do, I won't get paid."

"Losing a few hours of pay shouldn't matter," Athena said.

"Yes, it does when you're raising a little brother," Pinocchio replied. "We lost our parents in a wood chopping accident two years ago. We need every penny for food and clothes. So if I take off the rest of the day, we will have to skip a few meals."

Pinocchio then touched his nose. It was now its normal size. "I'll have to pretend that I'm not sick if the boss comes by," Pinocchio added.

"I have a better idea," said Athena.

"What?" Pinocchio asked.

"I'm a goddess," said Athena. "I have special powers."

"Wasn't Athena a goddess in Greek mythology?" Pinocchio asked.

"Yes. The original Athena was my great-great-great grandmother," Athena replied. "I was named after her. She was known for her wisdom."

"So if you're a goddess, why are you working here?" Pinocchio asked.

"Nowadays, we're actively involved in the community. 2009 is the year of the California worker. Our mandate is to help workers obtain paid sick days." Athena answered.

"Wow," Pinocchio said. "So can you get me paid sick days today?"

"Yes, I can," Athena said. "Touch your nose three times and say I want paid sick days."

Pinocchio touched his nose three times and said the chant.

"Now what?" Pinocchio asked.

"I just received a memo from company headquarters that all workers have paid sick days effective today," Athena replied. "So you can go home now and get the rest you need."

"Thank you Athena," Pinocchio said. "How can I repay you?"

"You should sign the petition for paid sick days for California workers," Athena answered.

"I will do that," Pinocchio. "And I'll tell everyone I know about it."

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