Maybe one of the reasons the word common gets such a bad rap is rooted in what some of us Americans left behind in England. To me, ‘Common’ denotes Average; Ordinary; or not otherwise worthy of any particular note.
On an unrelated note, I don’t get sick. I just don’t. Till this week.
In reviewing the beautiful bean footage, I now think I’ve been fighting this back for the past two-weeks. Despite knowing that all I get in Denial, is wet, I refused to acknowledge I may be coming down with something.
I don’t get sick.
“Mr. ‘I Don’t Get Sick’, I’d like to introduce you to Mr. Cold. Common Cold.
Cold, this is Dan.”
I’m a big healthy guy and I was being bested by a cold, and a common cold at that. What a blow to my guy-hood! Me! and all it takes to get my attention is a common cold?
Days dragged by before I begrudgingly agreed that something wasn’t right. Within the hour, I was driving to our local Wally World for a ‘buy’. Judging from the looks on the faces of my fellow shoppers, they knew I was a man-on-a-mission.
‘What do you mean you don’t carry Thera-Flu anymore?‘
What do you do? I mean, I was at the store. This was the time. Time.
Time to adapt.
‘What else you got?’
15-minutes later, I was headed back to the car, bag in-hand and loaded for bear. Once home, I climbed into my comfy clothes, headed for the recliner with a glass of water and began commencing with dosing the particular regime I’d laid out for myself.
By the next morning, I scanned my systems as I woke up and was horrified to sense the cold had actually gotten worse. Luckily, I had the day off, but what a murky definition of luck, right?
Even more determined, I stayed on my dosing time-table like a Swiss train schedule. And I was going to pursue my cure plan until I’d really kicked whatever this was…even if I felt better. See it through.
Now I wonder if I wasn’t negotiating with myself…trying to feed it an alternate sound track for suggestive healing. Whatever the case, I began sensing improvement the day after that. And yesterday, I knew I was coming out on the right side of my humbling reminder of being carbon-based. And today?
I feel like a million bucks. Tired, but the week is done and I can write.
I like having an appetite again. I like not being all achy, runny, sore throat and self-conscious of how dry my eyes felt. I like people not flinching when I sneeze.
But here’s what else I like:
Common is not the ‘less than‘ it seems to be on the surface. Common is the shared. Common is sense. Common is courtesy. Common is, “I see you. I’m here.”
My week of coming back from the common cold has been peppered with instances of kindness of others…others who’ve had colds. Soup. Advice. Tea suggestions. Encouraging words. Sympathy…and with some redness in my face, I’ll confess that every once and a great while, it feels good to have someone feel sorry for me. Then, this morning, it hit me like lightning…My cold had minced no words in its effortless demonstration of just how powerful ‘common’ can be.
Everyone has had a cold and everyone could (conceivably) move to Nashville and write songs filled with rain and somebody-gone song back beats.
But that’s it! Don’t you get it? It took me awhile too…and I already knew it.
Common is what makes us ‘we’. And ‘we’ is what brings me to ‘us’.
As a people, we would not be able to be magnificent without the collective offerings of the common.
I was reading an article the other day which got me to thinking about how difficult my typical day would be if I had to go without the common things. Snooze buttons, Coffee makers, Light bulbs and shower heads. And that’s just ‘getting up’! By the time I leave the house, I’m even turning common, ordinary door knobs. Common is everywhere I look. How depressing. Not.
Stop and take a second. Look around you – right now. You’re surrounded by all kinds of common things; a calculator, the mail on the desk and my faithful coffee cup sitting immediately to my left.
But here’s the prize inside:
Take another minute and I’ll bet you suddenly see people around you who mean something, who can do something because of what we have in common. It could be a waitress. It can be someone passing us in the other direction. It could be the guy at the gas station or even the people sitting in front of your TV.
At the depths of my bout with seasonal illness, I distracted myself in cruising the web and went on over to check in on Paralaxvu (http://paralaxvu.wordpress.com/). There, I was greeted by a most unexpected tonic, a YouTube clip of “Bring Me Sunshine” by the Jive Aces. Romping, slick and well produced, its’ stomping was better than Thera-Flu (if you can find it). Inside of 5-minutes of clicking the link, I knew I was going to be fine. I was feeling a little like my old self again. I even did a little slide dance move in the hallway on the bathroom…humming the tag line as I did. ‘Huh, I am feeling better‘.
This week, I’m going to thank my bout with the common cold by looking for chances to be as ordinary as I can be with those who were in common with me this past week. I am going to hold a door. I’ll smile quietly to myself when I get to do a little extra something for someone, simply because they strike me as maybe needing to catch a break. Or even better…I’m going to take an extra two or three seconds to look someone in the eye and see them the next time I talk to them.
How lucky are we to be in common? Knowing that you read this with me is such a rush. Thank you. Because of you, my ‘common’ is anything but ordinary. You did that. Magnificent. Now, go out and do it again.
I’ll race you.
Jive Aces –
The Jive Aces, winners of BBC TV’s Opportunity Knocks, formed in 1989. And Britain’s Got Talent semi finalists in 2012
“Thank you Parallexvu: http://paralaxvu.wordpress.com/f for the joy of me then getting to share it with Ms. Bluebird.
You done good. – Dan
For her part, Courtenay Bluebird can be found @ http://bluebirdblvd.net/2012/10/21/5-minute-dance-party-bring-me-sunshine/
Arlen Specter. (February 12, 1930 – October 14, 2012): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arlen_Specter
George McGovern. (July 19, 1922 –October 21, 2012)
And Dennis, Rick’s older brother. Dennis died yesterday in ICU from complications after apparently suffering multiple strokes several weeks ago. He was 57. Too young…
PHOTO CREDITS and ATTRIBUTIONS: The English Aristocracy by David Crouch: http://www.kobobooks.com/ebook/The-English-Aristocracy-1070-1272/book-o15eOZJguE6gJgTUBcEn4w/page1.html; Thera-Flu: http://www.theraflu.com/index.shtml; An Uncommon History of Common Things by Bethanne Patrick and John Thompson: http://www.popmatters.com/pm/review/122335-an-uncommon-history-of-common-things-by-bethanne-patrick-and-john-th/
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