FROM AN E-MAIL: Calling in sick to work makes me uncomfortable. No matter how legitimate my illness, I always sense my boss thinks I am lying. On one occasion, I had a valid reason, but lied anyway, because the truth was too humiliating. I simply mentioned that I had sustained a head injury, and I hoped I would feel like coming in the next day. By then, I thought, I could think up a doozy to explain the bandage on my crown. The accident occurred mainly because I conceded to my wife's wishes to adopt a cute little kitty. Initially, the new acquisition was no problem, but one morning I was taking my shower after breakfast when I heard my wife, Deb, call out to me from the kitchen. "Ed!! The garbage disposal , is dead. Come and reset it." "You know where the button is," I protested through the shower (pitter-patter). "Reset it yourself!" "I am scared!" she pleaded. "What if it starts going and sucks me in?" (Pause) "C'mon, it'll only take you a second." So out I came, dripping wet, and buck naked, hoping to make a statement about how her cowardly behavior was not without consequence. I crouched down and stuck my head under the sink to find the button. It is the last action I remember performing. It struck without warning, without any respect to my circumstances. Nay, it wasn't a hexed disposal drawing me into its gnashing metal teeth. It was our new kitty, clawing playfully at the dangling objects she spied between my legs. She had been poised around the corner and stalked me as I took the bait under the sink. At precisely the second I was most vulnerable, she leapt at the toys I unwittingly offered and snagged them with her needle-like claws. I lost all rational thought to control orderly bodily movements, while rising upwardly at a violent rate of speed, with the full weight of a kitten hanging from my masculine region. Wild animals are sometimes faced with a "fight or flight" syndrome. Men, in this predicament, choose only the "flight" option. ; Fleeing straight up, the sink and cabinet bluntly impeded my ascent; the impact knocked me out cold. When I awoke, my wife and the paramedics stood over me. Having been fully briefed by my wife, the paramedics snorted as they tried to conduct their work while suppressing hysterical laughter. At the office, my colleagues tried to coax an explanation out of me. I kept silent, claiming it was too painful to talk about. "What's the matter, cat got your tongue?" . . . If they had only known.