Humor by Mark Bazer
I come in praise of the common cold.
I've been fighting one the past week and a half, and, honestly, it's been nothing but a pleasure.
Every symptom has arrived right on schedule, been on top of its game, stayed its allotted time and then respectfully made way for the next stage.
Oh, hey there again, morning sore throat. You're so adorable in your attempt to make me suffer. I trust your little pal runny nose is on its merry way!
What is more comforting in its predictability than the progression of an honest cold -- scratchy throat into sneeze into seemingly unlimited supply of mucous into relentless hacking into phlegm into teaching your son the word phlegm into lingering cough into newspaper column?
In a world in which the super bug from India promises imminent death to all, the common cold is downright retro. They should sell ironic colds at
As soon as I knew my cold was upon me, I took appropriate action and rushed straight to the doctor so he could prescribe me ... a box of tissues.
(The only thing that can ruin the good vibes of a common cold is leaving your nose maintenance in the hands of toilet paper.)
If the common cold has any downside, it's the first day you have it. You have to first confirm you have a cold, then you have to reschedule that week's plans, then you have to cancel all your credit cards. ...
And, at least on the first day, you have to show up at work -- to establish your cold's legitimacy in the eyes of co-workers and bosses and to do your part to maintain the train as an enclosed chamber of germs.
But if you get four or more "You sound awfuls" at the office, you're home that day by 3:45, the latest. Then the fun starts.
And nothing is more fun, at least at age 36 with two kids, than a couple of days spent on the couch alone and being semi-miserable.
The most benign of illnesses, the common cold is, ironically, the most legitimate reason to stay home from work. You can't really prove to your boss you have a migraine or that your sciatica is flaring up, but you wear your common cold all over your face. And nobody in your office wants to be around that face.
Of course, they should want to be around your face. If I ran my office, there'd be a raffle whenever anyone had a cold. The winner would get to nuzzle with the person with the cold in hopes that he or she would catch it. If handled correctly, there would an ongoing, fairly distributed common-cold rotation.
Perhaps my affection for the cold has to do with age.
Wait, this is it? Just the common cold now? Are you sure you're not going to throw a kidney stone or a hernia my way, too? Well, OK, I guess I owe you one.
If I have one regret, it's that I didn't savor the colds of my youth. In between my hacking, I plan on instilling that value in my sons -- and nuzzling with them real tight tonight.
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