Saturday, November 24, 2012

Fighting a Cold with Chicken Soup, Humor and Optimism

I have a cold. Optimist or not, having a cold sucks. Actually “blows” (in a bad way) would be a more appropriate description. I generally have a good immune system, but it’s been a little stressful at my house lately. Stress lowers one’s resistance to illness. One of the advantages of being an optimist is the “half-full glass” bunch suffers from fewer colds.

But, alas, optimism can only take you so far. When I wasn’t looking, some cold germs flew up my nose and took up residence there. Since Thanksgiving was coming, the cold germs invited all their friends and family to live in my nasal membranes. Some have migrated to other areas and I’m trying to cough them out of my sore throat. My itchy eyes are trying to drown them in tears. They laugh and multiple in spite of doses of Echinacea, juice and ibprofen.

Through the years I have tried different home remedies to relieve cold symptoms. I think it’s ironic that after all the advances we have made in science, that we can’t find a cure for the common cold. The best we can hope for is relief from cold symptoms.

If my mom or dad were alive I would be slurping chicken soup.

For years scientists and doctors didn’t believe chicken soup had any medicinal components at all.

But, the Jewish mothers of those doctors finally won out and now there is evidence that there is some benefit to the chicken-soup-as-medicine theory. Either that or they realized it was fruitless to argue with your yiddisha mama or Bubbe.

A friend of mine suggested a hot bath with vinegar in the water. I tried this but it made me want to roll in a patch of salad greens and brush my skin with olive oil. Somehow I can see a chicken soup dinner with a salad made with vinegar and oil dressing in my future. Too bad I won’t be able to taste it.

As unfair as it may seem that we are all vulnerable to colds, it is a sad fact of life. No matter how good, kind, careful or honest we may be no one is immune from the four sufferings: birth, sickness, aging and death. By the way, the IRS says taxes are another of the mandatory sufferings too, but Buddhist scripture doesn’t address that topic. I try not to talk about the IRS either. I don’t want to piss them off. I may be an optimist, but I’m not stupid. I tell people if they have a good lawyer they may be able to get away with murder (minus the karmic retribution that is governed by a higher set of laws) but no one gets away with cheating on their taxes. Ask Al Capone.

Some pain is inevitable. However, we can reduce our negativity about the problem and reduce our suffering. That is why my co-author, Jackie, and I wrote this oft quoted phrase from the introduction of our book, Erase Negativity and Embrace the Magic Within.

It is impossible to go through life without encountering difficulties. From a baby’s first cry to the last dying breath, the human experience involves a series of struggles. While encountering challenges is an inherent part of life, it is not so much the problems, but the attitude you take while facing these difficulties that shapes how you view the world.

So yes, I am suffering from a cold. I don’t like it, but I have to move on. I’m resting, drinking more fluids and experimenting with over-the-counter remedies. My friend, Michele, suggested Zicam, so I’ll blog in the future as to how that worked out.

The one bright spot in this saga is I have the opportunity to tell three of my favorite jokes and puns. Here they are:

You think it’s a booger, but it’s snot.

What’s the difference between a booger and a mushroom? A kid won’t eat a mushroom.

Last, but not least.

Knock, knock.
Who’s there?
Ach who?
Bless you.

And bless all of YOU this holiday season. If you do get sick, be sure to rent a few funny movies, tell a few jokes and, of course, buy multiple copies of our book, Erase Negativity and Embrace the Magic Within. It won’t cure your cold, but you can always use it as a large coaster for a bowl of chicken soup.

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