Tuesday, January 1, 2008

VICTOR Puts the Common Cold, Cancer & Kvetching in Perspective

Over the past week I had a bad cold. It was a wonderful experience.

No, that's not senility talking.

It was a wonderful experience because for the first time in my life, I could put a minor ailment in perspective.

Having fought cancer this past year (who knows, maybe the fight's not over) it was illuminating to experience a bad cold, and know, through all of the sniffling, coughing, hacking misery, that a mere two weeks would take care of it. Father Time will cure me of this cold. Wow! That's it.

Oh, if my oncologist could have promised the same easy result. But he faced sterner challenges.

Sniffling through this cold, I thought of all of the times when I wallowed in self pity because a virus had shacked up in my lungs for two weeks and produced two sorry offspring: the cold kids named "Whining and Complaining." It could have been triplets but that famous mutant, " I'm A Victim" waited for his next opportunity to grace the world with his odious presence.

In the past, when I had serious colds, I never really understood that each time I got better, each time I shook off a cold, my body was saying "Hello there, I'm still strong. I am still here for you in spite of your penchant for artery-clogging cheese, chocolates, cigars and good wine. I am your body, I care for you. Care for me"

Now I understand. Now I celebrate the end of sniffles.

Some thoughts for your contemplation.

One third of us get a cancer. Those who do and those who don't live on different sides of an invisible line. We don't speak the same language most of the time.

From my side of this invisible line let me try sending a message.

1. Enjoy passing ailments. God is just re-confirming your seat reservations to a great show.

2. Study the definitions of trivia and tragedy. We generally confuse them. Study hard. You'll probably fail. I did.

3. In the shower or at the dinner table, look down, way down, and ask " Is this the best I can do for my body?"

4. The closest living beings to us are intestinal bacteria. (IB) They are closer than any Rhesus monkey unless you have an RM in your butt you haven't told me about.

The IB will survive us. Every day, they do more for us than any ape, ancestor, rich uncle, ex-wife ever did.

Focus on the IB. Understand their rules.

All else is notional.