Wednesday, January 04, 2012


I've always wondered why people say they're "catching a cold." Why would anyone catch a cold? If I see one coming, I duck. The problem with colds is, in fact, that I seldom see them coming until they sneak up from behind and whop me on the back of the head with a coal shovel.

Most of the time, that's just the way it happens with me: I'm fine one moment and lying face down on the pavement the next (okay, so that's figuratively, but you get my point). Usually, it follows the same course: sniffles and a runny nose are followed by my sinuses slamming shut and my nose becoming Niagara Falls. My energy draining away like water from a bathtub. Intermittent coughing slowly increases in frequency and intensity until I start looking at the Kleenex into which I've just coughed, expecting to see bits of lung tissue. I'm fortunate in that I seldom am actually sick during a cold, but just feel generally "Blah!" (A scientific term on the same level as "Low testosterone, or 'Low T'" and "Atherosclerosis, or 'Athero'") The total duration of any given cold varies, but it sometimes seems as though I get a cold sometime around October 1 and it lasts through the following September. And then it abates a bit and I begin the slow, slow Sisyphean push up the hill to whatever passes for normal for me.

Because we all tend to have rather short term memories when it comes to remembering exactly how it felt to be ill while we're ill, I must admit that, looking back on a cold after it's gone, the mental masochist in me tells me that I rather enjoyed it. A bad cold provides me with the chance to play martyr, which I secretly rather enjoy. And, as my friends will attest, I do it very well. Long-suffering nobility is my forte.

I suppose it all goes back to my dislike of reality. Feeling fine most of the time is reality for most of us; being ill is not. There is an element of drama in uncertainty in each moment as to what might be coming next.

Type-A personalities live for challenge, for adventure, for a cliff to climb or an ocean to sail solo. I'm far too timid and physically uncoordinated/inept to ever attempt anything that might result in physical harm. But my mind is constantly putting me in positions of emotional risk and I really must enjoy it or I wouldn't do it. Dealing with a cold is my equivalent of trekking through a rainforest without a compass. It's about as adventurous as I care to get.

I often think of myself as the snail riding on the top of the turtle's shell, yelling "Wheeeeeeeeee!!"

Dorien's blogs are posted by 10 a.m. Central time every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Please take a moment to check out his website ( and, if you enjoy these blogs, you might want to check out Short Circuits: a Life in Blogs ( )

1 comment:

Kage Alan said...

Ralph and I have our own distinct behaviors when we're sick. He moans and groans constantly while drinking tea and eating toast with peanut butter.

Me? I'm crabby as hell, but it's usually a great time to catch up on really bad movies.