I wanted to shuffle my way far from the maddening cold.

I’d spent an inordinate amount of time among the sneezing, sniffling, coughing and nose-blowing people of this great land. I feared nothing because I thought it was a festival of some kind.

Then, suddenly, my ambitions were made modest. I was mowing my whiskers when my battery-powered shaver ran out of juice just as I ran out of energy. I feared I was teetering on the edge of flu. Then I remembered that I’d gotten a flu shot. I Googled my symptoms and learned I had a cold. I should have gotten a cold shot instead. I know many giving people. One of them had given me a cold. My cold needs were being readily met.

In the thick brain fog of the malaise, “Jabberwocky” by Lewis Carroll made perfect sense to me. “’Twas brillig and the slithy toves did gyre and gimble in the wabe: All mimsy were the borogoves, and the mome raths outgrabe.”

I consider myself sophisticated as I trim my toenails without using my teeth. Still, I shuffled around the house. I’d been given a pair of slippers for Christmas. I had none before and I’ve found when you have slippers, you shuffle around. And when I shuffled around, I hoped I wouldn’t shuffle off. I got that cold for Christmas too. It didn’t come with a bow on it.

I’d spent time in schools and other crowded places that were Petri dishes of viruses. A single sneeze could loosen a windstorm. I try to be a sponge, not a rock. That’s a good way to go through life except when it comes to infectious diseases. Someone who shuffles around in slippers is the target audience for colds.

My uncommon cold was a ripsnorter. Or maybe it was a humdinger. Or perhaps a doozy. I was phlegmatic. Not the definition of phlegmatic that means showing little emotion. I was phlegmy. Baudelaire wrote, “I have felt the wind on the wing of madness.” I’m no Baudelaire; I felt as if I’d tumbled off the back of a potato truck.

There are three kinds of colds. There is the kind that other people have. These are by far the least serious of the colds and not worthy of much attention. The second kind is one contracted by a loved one and is worthy of sympathetic words. The third and by far the most devastating of colds is the man’s cold. Colds force me to cling to my immaturity. I stay ready by eating off the kid’s menu regularly.

A cold is a malady not totally based on mileage. I found little comfort in that, but I soldiered on. Man pitted against the mysteries of the miseries. I felt as if I were in a sepia tone like an old photograph. I don’t know what that feels like, but that’s how I felt.

I can never recall the old adage. Is it feed a cold and starve a fever or feed a fever and starve a cold? I had no fever. I stayed hydrated, pounding buckets of hot tea, and getting more rest than usual. That’s my typical method of evicting a cold. I should have eaten some chicken noodle soup. I enjoy soup, but chicken noodle isn’t my favorite. I didn’t take vitamin C. I ingested no echinacea or zinc supplements. I put no Vicks VapoRub on the bottoms of my feet nor did I rub any on my throat before wrapping it with a tube sock. I didn’t consume any milk with onions in it or rub goose grease over my body. I did try yodeling. It didn’t help.

I bought facial tissue in the big, round hay-bale size. I avoided everyone as a public service. I told myself everything was going to be all right. I find comfort in lies.

I’ve had a cold before. I should be more skillful at having one. We aren’t too long in the tooth before we realize that the maxim, “Time heals all wounds” isn’t necessarily the way we want to be healed.

I was unaware of where I might have obtained the cold, until a friend told me, “You’ve got what I had.”

A man’s cold is wicked bad. His cold is like the bubonic plague only worse. There is only one way a man can free himself from its clutches. He must whine about it.

My cold has gone to wherever bad colds go leaving behind a tall mountain of facial tissue as a fossil record.

Al Batt is a writer, speaker, storyteller and humorist from rural Hartland, Minnesota. He can be reached at snoeowl@aol.com.

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