Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Do Muppets Ever Get Colds?

Well, maybe they don't, but people do. And I have a doozy of a cold right now. Nose spontaneously and unpredictably turning into a leaky spigot, swallowing gunk provided courtesy of my sinuses, sudden coughing fits at night that keep me and my wife awake, a head that feels like it's twice its usual size and weight, and all the other goodies that come with this kind of infection.

Colds make you miserable, and they're right 'there' in your face—literally!—and by and large you feel like shit, and you want to complain and winge and just lie down and do nothing until it's all gone by.

Right.

But then I walked into my living room yesterday morning, and on some morning show they were talking to a woman who was, for the time being anyway, still surviving a bout with one of the most lethal cancers extant (ovarian cancer), and I got a glimpse of a lady that instantly struck me as an extremely life-affirming person; posture, smile, general demeanor, everything. And it was like 'whoa!'. And as I walked out of the room—didn't have time to watch the interview—I heard the interviewer asking something like "Tell me about how this all started," and she replied something along the lines of "Well, at the time my husband was battling with leukemia...".

Well, what can you say? If this isn't the PTBs yelling at you to get a damn sense of perspective, I don't know what is!

And so, even though I slept like shit last night and the inside of my nose feels like...ahh, never mind. It's all crap. For almost all of the likes of us, a cold is at worst an inconvenience.

I mean, so we feel lousy; so we feel like we just want to crawl under a blanket and pretend the world isn't there and we don't have to work to earn a living and do the housework and everything else that we'd rather not do. So we commiserate with ourselves, because we're sure that nobody really knows just how miserable we feel, because those others don't have colds, and even if they did, they surely wouldn't feel quite as bad as we're feeling now.

Yeah, I know. All true. But so f..ing what?

Big deal!

As long as a cold, with all its attendant but transient misery, is the worst health issue we have to complain about...

A sense of perspective isn't only important. I think it may also serve to heal. Because one of the worst things you can do when you're sick is feel miserable in your mind as well. And perspective alleviates that misery; and by that it serves to heal.

I still feel like shit, but it's a bit like the match-burning scene in Lawrence of Arabia: the thing is not to let it matter—because, let's face it, for the vast majority of cold-misery sufferers it really, honestly doesn't...'matter', that is.

Life is full of colds; real and metaphorical alike. Children should be granted some leeway with their as-yet-missing sense of perspective and their me-me-me-miserable-me focus. But for adults, by and large there's no such excuse. A bit of misery, such as that accompanying your average cold—yeah, I know, your colds as never average; just like most people seem to think that they are above average, which makes no statistical sense!—isn't a big deal. It really isn't. That's because with a bit of misery there's nothing actually at stake. It won't change your life and it'll pass.

And, yes, I was talking about metaphorical 'colds' as well—just in case you missed that one.

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